Arrival to open a second US microfactory to build electric vans for UPS

Kirsten Korosec
·2-min read

Arrival, the U.K. electric vehicle startup that will soon be a publicly traded company, plans to build a second microfactory in the United States.

The announcement comes several months after Arrival picked Charlotte, North Carolina for its North American headquarters. This new microfactory will be located in West Charlotte near the airport and about 32 miles from its first U.S. factory in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

The newly announced microfactory will be producing two different classes of EV vans for U.S. customers, expanding the zero-emissions options for fleet operators, the company's CEO Mike Ableson said. Production is expected to begin by the third quarter of 2022. Arrival said it is investing about $41.2 million in the production center, which will have the capacity to assemble up to 10,000 electric delivery vans each year.

Many of the vehicles produced at the new Charlotte microfactory are expected to enter UPS's North American fleet, according to the company. UPS committed to buy up to 10,000 vehicles from Arrival in the U.S. and Europe.

The company's other, and first, U.S. microfactory in Rock Hill will be used to assemble electric buses.

Arrival was a secretive electric vehicle startup for nearly five years until January 2020 when it announced a $110 million investment from Hyundai and Kia. Over the past 14 months the company has shared more of its plans and partners, all culminating in its announcement last month to merge with a special purpose acquisition company CIIG Merger Corp., to become a publicly traded company. The SPAC merger is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Arrival's business model centers on its microfactories, which the company argues allows it to produce electric vehicles that are price competitive with fossil fuel-powered commercial vans, buses and other vehicles. The microfactories require a low capital expenditure and have a smaller footprint than conventional factories, Arrival says.