Uber & Arrival Partner To Build Electric Car For Ride-Hailing In UK
Arrival is a UK-based electric vehicle startup founded by Russian billionaire Denis Sverdlov. Unlike other EV companies that invest hundreds of millions of dollars to build new factories, Arrival plans to use lots of local factories situated in existing warehouses and other commercial spaces. The money it saves by not building factories will allow it to offer its products at lower prices than the competition. That’s the plan, anyway. Arrival has three factories under development — one in the UK and two in the US.
According to Reuters, Arrival will partner with Uber in the UK to develop and manufacture a low cost electric car designed specifically as a ride-hailing vehicle. Presumably that means big doors, plenty of headroom and cargo space, a range of around 250 miles, and few frills. Arrival and Uber said in a joint statement this week the Arrival Car will be an “affordable, purpose-built electric vehicle for ride-hailing,” and will go into production in the fourth quarter of 2023. The strategic relationship between the two companies will include the European Union but not North America, at least for the time being.
Uber plans to be a fully electric mobility platform in London by 2025 and has raised more than $188 million to help its drivers in London upgrade to an electric vehicle. “Our focus is now on encouraging drivers to use this money to help them upgrade to an electric vehicle, and our partnership with Arrival will help us achieve this goal,” Jamie Heywood, Uber regional manager for northern and eastern Europe, said in a statement. Uber plans to sign up 20,000 more drivers in Britain as the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions boosts demand. Notice that nowhere does Uber make any reference to autonomous robotaxis, a market niche it once considered essential to its future business model.
Ride-hailing cars in the UK average more than 31,000 miles of driving each year. The companies said the Arrival Car will prioritize “driver comfort, safety and convenience, while ensuring the passengers enjoy a premium experience.” Arrival said the cars would be “affordable” without giving any further pricing details.
Arrival says the design of the ride-hailing cars will take into account feedback provided by Uber drivers, but the arrangement with Uber is not exclusive, meaning Arrival could offer to sell the cars to other ride-hailing services, according to Forbes. On the other hand, Uber is also free to seek electric cars from other manufacturers. As we reported recently, it will use EVs from Hyundai in some European markets shortly.
The Arrival Car could be direct competition for the TX4, the purpose built electric taxicab built by Geely’s London Taxi Cab Company. It could also be adaptable to other world markets, helping drive the EV revolution forward in cities everywhere.