Electric van start-up Arrival bursts into life with order for 20,000 vehicles

A British electric van start-up has taken its first big order, for 20,000 zero-emission light commercial vehicles worth €800 million, from the delivery company UPS.

The order was hailed by Arrival, a business set up by a Russian billionaire and based in west London and Banbury, as a big boost for a company that has not yet built its factory.

Arrival was set up by Denis Sverdlov, 41, a Russian former government minister. A fortnight ago it announced that the South Korean carmakers Kia and Hyundai had taken a €100 million 3 per cent stake in the company, valuing it at €3.3 billion, and making it Britain’s first automotive “unicorn” — an American term for privately owned start-ups valued at more than $1 billion.

UPS has made a firm order for 10,000 of the €40,000 electric vans. It played a role in helping Arrival design the vans at its London studios and they will be built at a microfactory in the Oxfordshire town of Banbury.

The American delivery company, which has $70 billion of annual revenues and employs 480,000 people around the world, has also taken an option for a further 10,000 vans.

“These vehicles will be among the world’s most advanced package delivery vehicles,” Carlton Rose, head of fleet engineering and maintenance at UPS, said. He added that they will help the company transition to a zero-emission fleet as cities demand cleaner vehicles.

The deal with Kia and Hyundai involves Arrival building vans for them under their own badges.

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