Yet another electric truck player: UPS buying 10,000 Arrival trucks
There’s yet another player in the electric-truck market: Arrival, a British company which landed a 10,000-truck order from UPS ($440 million). The deal also comes with UPS buying a portion of Arrival, making it a partly-American-owned company; but Hyundai-Kia has also bought in, to the tune of $110 million, and will sell some Arrivals as their own. (It’s possible the upcoming Ford F-150 will be a Rivian.)
It makes sense: the last regularly produced electric trucks were used by the English for delivering goods from railheads to main streets, back in the 1970s. The trucks have a regular charging point, only run during business hours, and have centralized repair depots. Without having to load them up with luxury gear, sophisticated suspensions, and clever shapes, Arrival can price their trucks at roughly the same rate as UPS diesels—or so they believe.
At the moment, UPS has around 10,000 alternative-fuel vehicles, so this would double that number, assuming UPS doesn’t buy from, say, Rivian as well. Their fleet is roughly 100,000 trucks, too, so this doesn’t replace all the current brown vans. The range is claimed to be “up to 300 miles,” which seems unlikely to be true for all of the UPS trucks given the price — even given lightweight materials for the truck, they will be run loaded with packages.
Like Rivian, Arrival is using a body-on-frame/powertrain (“skateboard”) approach so the vans can be accompanied, if desired, by pickups, professional work vans, and such. The bottom of the truck includes the batteries, motor, and such. One thing that makes Arrival somewhat unique is not having a huge factory, instead using “low capital, low footprint microfactories” which “serve local communities and are profitable from thousands of units.”
UPS is also experimenting with hybrid, natural gas, ethanol, and propane trucks. If the new Arrivals work out, UPS has optioned another 10,000 vans. The deal was first set up in 2016.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, and lives in Farmingdale, New York.