Arrival gears up for first deliveries of e-LCVs
With less than six months before electric vehicle manufacturer Arrival delivers its first light commercial vehicles to fleet customers, the company displayed a beta version of its zero emission delivery vehicle, in LeasePlan livery, at the Commercial Vehicle Show.
LeasePlan is Arrival’s preferred leasing company, and has committed to buy 3,000 of the zero emission vehicles. Arrival’s 143,000-strong order bank includes an initial order for 10,000 vehicles from logistics giant UPS, with the vehicles to be rolled out in Europe and North America by 2024. UPS also has the option to order a further 10,000 vehicles.
Carlton Rose, President of UPS Global Fleet Maintenance & Engineering, said: “These vehicles will be among the world’s most advanced package delivery vehicles, redefining industry standards for electric, connected and intelligent vehicle solutions.”
Production of the vehicles starts in the third quarter of this year, with deliveries of right-hand drive versions planned for Q4. The first left hand drive models destined for continental Europe will roll off the UK production line in the first quarter of 2023.
Models and range
The vehicle will initially be available as a delivery van, with a sliding passenger door to allow safe, easy access to the pavement, and a rear roller shutter for access to the cargo area. A more traditional cargo van with a sliding side door and rear twin doors will follow. The vehicles have not yet undergone official WLTP tests, but the 67kW, 89kW and 111kW battery packs are expected to achieve ranges of 180km (112 miles), 240km (150 miles) and 288km (180 miles) respectively.
David Watts, commercial manager (UK & Ireland) Arrival, said: “We held a series of European roadshows, some in partnership with LeasePlan, and had huge amounts of interest in Germany, France, Spain and elsewhere.”
Arrival will not have a traditional franchised dealer network to sell its vehicles, and is appointing third parties to provide aftersales service and maintenance. In Europe, its four initial partners are Kwik Fit, Rivus Fleet Solutions and ZF, plus ARC Europe Group for breakdowns. In the United States, Arrival has selected Amerit Fleet Solutions, Bridgestone, NAPA AUTO PARTS, and Valvoline.
As a connected electric vehicle, the company will be able to conduct remote diagnostics and expects to be able to fix most faults over the air, while the modular ‘plug and play’ design of the vehicles means components can be replaced very quickly, said Watts.
He added that on-board sensors will monitor components, allowing Arrival to provide predictive, pre-emptive maintenance to maximise vehicle uptime.
The robust longevity of electric powertrains, compared to their diesel equivalents, also presents new opportunities for fleets to keep vehicles for significantly longer, and for leasing companies to offer second and potentially third life leases, said Watts.
‘We could do targeted upgrades of certain parts at the point when a fleet would normally consider getting rid of a vehicle, and it would have a practically new vehicle for a fraction of the cost. A holding period of nine or 10 years transforms the TCO,” he said.
“Alternatively, from a leasing company perspective, it could lease a vehicle to a fleet customer for four or five years, take it back and carry out a targeted refurbishment, and then offer a second-life lease to a sector of the market that has traditionally purchased four- or five-year old vehicles.”
Matt Dillon, Head of Commercial Vehicles at LeasePlan UK, said leasing was the ideal solution for fleets to overcome the higher initial capital outlay of electric LCVs and mitigate some of the risks associated with a fledgling technology.
LeasePlan has committed to achieve net zero emissions from its total fleet by 2030, and is the preferred leasing company for Arrival as well as EV manufacturers Nio and VinFast. One in four of the international leasing giant’s new vehicle deliveries is now electric, although cars far outstrip vans in the transition to battery power.
“We are in the acceleration phase now with e-LCVs,” said Dillon. “The first question from fleet managers is ‘Can I make the TCO stack up?’ to convince multiple internal stakeholders to support the switch to EVs, and we are at the tipping point where TCO models are matching, or even cheaper, than diesel vehicles.”
Even in the large, 3.5-tonne sector where TCO parity has been hardest to achieve, the arrival of Ford’s e-Transit (pictured below at the Commercial Vehicle Show) promises to change the landscape in favour of electric power.
“Plus, from a business perspective, an increasing number of both public and private sector contracts are now specifying zero emissions from suppliers,” said Dillon.