South Korea’s Hyundai Group is backing a UK electric vehicle startup that plans to start selling battery-powered delivery vans in 2021, the companies stated last week.
Hyundai Motor and sister firm Kia Motors are making an investment of 100 million euros ($110 million) in Arrival Ltd.
Founded in 2015 and based in London, Arrival has created a boxy, futuristic-looking shuttle bus intended at the commercial delivery market. The company stated its van will have a range between charges of 300 miles.
Arrival stated it will collaborate with Hyundai and Kia to develop a range of electric vehicles, firstly for the commercial market. Those vehicles will be constructed on Arrival’s modular vehicle platform or “skateboard” that bundles motor, batteries and chassis components, same as the skateboard developed by U.S. startup Rivian.
Rivian is backed by Ford Motor and Amazon.com, and has a contract to create 100,000 electric delivery vans for the e-commerce giant, beginning in 2021.
Hyundai and Kia in 2019 invested $89 million in Rimac Automobili, a nine-year-old Croatian company aspiring to create electric supercars that is also backed by Porsche.
Arrival stated its vehicles will be geared up with advanced driver-assist features and can be upgraded with self-driving systems.
The vehicles are designed to sell for the same cost as similar models functioned by internal combustion engines and to be constructed in small “microfactories.” That strategy is the opposite of U.S. electric vehicle competitor Tesla which uses massive “gigafactories”.
Last fall, Arrival, which until now has operated mainly in stealth mode, hired General Motors veteran Michael Ableson to head its new North American operations.
With a small factory located in Banbury, England, Arrival stated it now has 800 workers in five countries, including Germany, Russia, and Israel.
Arrival earlier stated it would use BlackBerry’s QNX operating system to connect safety functions in its electric vehicles.
Arrival stated its prototype delivery vans are currently being tested by the Royal Mail, DHL, and UPS.