London-based electric vehicle start-up Arrival has raised $US118 million ($A165 million) from funds managed by global investment giant BlackRock which will be used to support the company’s expansions plans, including the launch of its recently-announced first US micro-factory.
Arrival was backed by a hefty endorsement earlier this year when automotive giants Hyundai and Kia invested €100 million ($A165 million), to further its ambitious goal of “reinventing the automotive industry”, a plan based around its approach to the design and assembly of electric vehicles.
It proposes to use low capital expenditure to build rapidly scalable “micro-factories” which can be located anywhere in the world. Arrival claim that these will be able to produce best-in-class vehicles which are competitively priced against fossil fuel variants, and will avoid costs and emissions of shipping and create strong unit economics.
“We are excited to welcome BlackRock as a strategic financial investor with its excellent track record in ESG,” said Denis Sverdlov, founder and CEO of Arrival. “This additional capital will be invested into Arrival’s growth, as we deepen and expand our presence in the US and other new markets globally.”
Arrival’s new South Carolina Microfactory in York Country was announced earlier this week, a $US46 million investment which the company hopes will create 240 new jobs and will focus first on building electric buses.
“Our new Microfactory in South Carolina is the beginning of a paradigm shift in the EV space,” said Mike Ableson, Arrival CEO of North America.
Arrival hopes that it might have as many as 1,000 Microfactories operating around the world by 2026, able to produce 10,000 vans or 1,000 buses per year.
The company has already made significant strides as it moves into the commercial EV market, receiving a January order for 10,000 Generation 2 electric vans from global delivery giant UPS, with an option for a further order of 10,000. The initial 10,000 electric vans will be rolled out over 2020-2024 in the United Kingdom, Europe, and North America.
“UPS has been a strong strategic partner of Arrival, providing valuable insight to how electric delivery vans are used on the road and how they can be optimised for drivers,” said Arrival’s Sverdlov, speaking in January.
“Together our teams have been creating bespoke electric vehicles, based on our flexible skateboard platforms, that meet the end-to-end needs of UPS from driving, loading/unloading, depot and back office operations. We are pleased that today’s investment and vehicle order creates even closer ties between our two companies.”