UPS has completed an undisclosed minority investment in commercial EV start-up Arrival, and announced an order of 10,000 purpose-built electric delivery vehicles from the UK company.
The initial purchase of 10,000 vehicles will be rolled out over 2020-2024 with the option for a further order of 10,000.
Arrival will build the Generation 2 vehicles in low capital, low footprint micro-factories, using lightweight, durable materials the company designs and creates in-house.
As an investor, UPS has the option to fast-track orders as necessary. UPS expects to deploy the EVs in Europe and North America.
UPS will also collaborate with Arrival to develop a wide range of EVs with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
The technology is designed to increase safety and operating efficiencies, including the potential for automated movements in UPS depots.
UPS will initiate testing ADAS features later in 2020. Future vehicle purchases are contingent on successful tests of initial vehicles.
Juan Perez, UPS chief information and engineering officer, said: “As mega-trends like population growth, urban migration, and e-commerce continue to accelerate, we recognise the need to work with partners around the world to solve both road congestion and pollution challenges for our customers and the communities we serve.
“Electric vehicles form a cornerstone to our sustainable urban delivery strategies. Taking an active investment role in Arrival enables UPS to collaborate on the design and production of the world’s most advanced electric delivery vehicles.”
Arrival produces its own major core vehicle components – chassis, powertrain, body and electronic controls – and its vehicles also use a modular design with standardised parts to reduce maintenance and other costs of ownership.
Denis Sverdlov, Arrival chief executive, said: “UPS has been a strong strategic partner of Arrival’s, providing valuable insight into how electric delivery vans are used on the road and, importantly, how they can be completely optimised for drivers.
“Together, our teams have been working hard to create bespoke electric vehicles, based on our flexible skateboard platforms that meet the end-to-end needs of UPS from driving, loading/unloading and back-office operations.
“We are pleased that today’s investment and vehicle order creates even closer ties between our two companies.”
Since 2016, UPS and Arrival have collaborated to develop concepts of different vehicles sizes. The companies previously announced they would develop a state-of-the-art pilot fleet of 35 electric delivery vehicles to be trialed in London and Paris.
Additionally, UPS announced a new approach to electric charging and storage that has now been deployed in UPS’s central London facility.