5 minutes with James Broomer, Head of Product – Van, at Arrival

09 December 2021 #Uncategorised

Tell us about the Arrival van?
We’re really thrilled with how the fully-electric Arrival Van has come together. It will be competitive across pricing, excel in payload and cargo volumes – ranging from 10.5 – 18m3 depending on the model height and length – and will have an expected lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). In addition, Arrival vehicles are designed to maximise the safety and well-being of drivers and the public on our roads and streets using advanced technologies.  These advanced features include ADAS, such as Advanced Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Keep Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control. Other technologies to help the driver include digital e-mirrors, a 360-degree surround view, Traffic Sign Recognition, and many more.

Are road trials taking place?
We’ve been operating an extremely thorough programme of private road testing with key customers, but the Arrival Van will soon be seen on public roads for trials in early 2022, which is something we’re very excited about. UPS is one of our key partners, having committed to purchase 10,000 vehicles from Arrival initially and holding the option to purchase 10,000 more thereafter.

When will Arrival vans be ready to purchase?
Our first Microfactories will start production next year, with Bicester beginning to roll out vans in Q3 2022. The good news is that we’ve only seen the demand for electric vehicles grow, as more and more fleet operators are looking to decarbonise their operations, in line with public policy. Pre-orders for the Van specifically will begin next year, so coupled with the fact that our start of production is getting ever closer it’s a huge milestone in our journey after six years of development, and a very exciting time for Arrival indeed.

Is it UK designed and built?
We’ve worked with operators and drivers both in the UK and internationally to design and produce the Arrival Van to be a truly sustainable solution. The UK has of course been a pivotal base for the design and prototype build process, with our London HQ and our R&D Facility in Banbury providing crucial, operational and engineering support while our first UK Microfactory in Bicester continues to undergo fit out.

The UK has an incredibly strong talent pool in tech, automotive, software, hardware, and many other disciplines, but in addition we have also been able to attract excellent global talent to the business through the visas available to us. It will be an extremely proud moment for us all when the first Arrival Van rolls out of the Bicester Microfactory later in 2022.

Will there be a dealer network?
There are no plans currently for a dealer network. Arrival Vans will be sold directly by the company; we also announced earlier this year that LeasePlan will be the preferred operational leasing partner for the Van, based on an initial order of 3,000 vehicles.

In terms of fleet servicing and maintenance, we also recently unveiled a global Service Network Program that will use the company’s digital Service Platform to train and certify any technician to service an Arrival vehicle. The Service Platform uses the data from our vehicles and proprietary algorithms to enable existing service providers to repair and maintain our electric Vans and Buses. This will utilise existing networks of technicians and workshops, ensuring scalable coverage while helping maintenance and repair companies transition to electric vehicles.

Tell us more about Robopilot?
Through our Robopilot project – an ongoing drive to improve the market knowledge, functionality, and public perception of autonomous driving systems – we see depot autonomy as the most useful and immediate use case for our commercial vehicle customers. Arrival’s Automated Driving System (ADS), is being built to provide supplementary technologies that will help drivers in many ways, but with depot manoeuvres being responsible for the most accident-prone parts of a worker’s shift, we believe focussing on this area can help to introduce greater safety by removing human driving errors which might occur in confined environments.

We have successfully completed a live demonstration at a fully functioning parcel depot where the vehicle manoeuvred around the facility without a human driver inside the vehicle. There is naturally great interest in the idea of a driverless future, but we still feel that the human element will remain an integral part of the commercial vehicle segment for some time yet. There are several reasons to have a driver in the vehicle, for safety, security, and the physical delivery of goods and packages. However, that’s not to say autonomous technology won’t be a part of the landscape in the coming years.

Will Arrival buses be available in the UK?
The Arrival Bus will appear on public roads here in the UK as part of trials with First Bus, during the spring of 2022, before it too enters its start of production phase.

James Broomer, Head of Product – Van, at Arrival

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