Arrivals’s last-mile delivery van was into production in the automaker’s initial software-defined Microfactory. The factory has in-house technologies, composite materials, autonomous mobile robots, and other in-house components. It was a successful rollout in the UK bringing the company one step closer to scaled EV production.
Arrival founder and CEO Denis Sverdlov spoke about the company’s progress so far. “Today is an important day for Arrival. This is the first time a vehicle has ever been built in our Microfactory, using a new method that does not use a traditional assembly line. Although we have not yet achieved serial production, we are focused on making it happen. We will continue to produce vehicles in our Microfactory in order to master at-scale production. It has been more difficult than we had initially imagined, and I thank the team for the immense amount of effort, technology, innovative breakthroughs, and problem-solving.”
While this remains a huge accomplishment for the EV startup, Arrival’s upcoming Van builds will not be reaching customers just yet at least not this year. The company states that all Vans built at the UK Microfactory will be used for continued testing, validation, and quality control.
Urban centric mobility
Although the company currently has headquarters in both London and Charlotte, North Carolina, all of its R&D and design currently takes place in Bicester, where Arrival Van production will also begin.
Rather than pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the construction of mega production facilities, Arrival has taken the opposite approach. In what it calls its “Microfactory,” Arrival takes existing industrial facilities and installs its own assembly cells that can be quickly and efficiently implemented. This strategy removes the need for any special foundations, pits for painting, or other assembly processes. Individual assembly cells are instead, bolted directly into the concrete floor. Each cell includes 3-4 off-the-shelf robots, in addition to all the necessary equipment to guide parts around the facility – like autonomous robots, for instance.
Since going public via the SPAC merger in March of 2021, the startup’s stock has stumbled, leading to an announcement this past July that it would be reorganizing its business to focus on Arrival Van production. As a result, Arrival put a complete halt to Arrival Bus and Car development for the time being. Arrival has completed a huge step in bringing its first commercial EV into production, particularly in the way its flagship Van is being assembled. It could change how large automakers make their vehicles.