Being eco-friendly is fashionable and is getting more and more common. Global tycoons of the courier industry are preparing to abandon diesel vehicles, which are horrible polluters, in favour of quiet, zero-emission vehicles with electric motors. Sound suspicious? Because it IS suspicious – a global corporation that does something green is as common in the economy as a unicorn in a zoo. However, this time the unicorn is real – it’s name is Arrival. Isn’t that nice?
In 2006, a businessman from St. Petersburg, Denis Sverdlov, together with his Bulgarian partner, Sergey Adonev, founded the Russian company Yota – the first provider of WiMAX, a new data transfer technology. Less than 10 years later, Denis Sverdlov was already in Great Britain, where he founded the startup Arrival. In 2020, Arrival achieved ‘unicorn’ status – it joined the elite group of young and innovative companies with a market value exceeding $1 billion. What does all this have to do with the courier industry? Literally everything.
Unicorns are usually born in January
The value of Sverdlov’s company reached $3 billion in January 2020, after signing a contract with Hyundai Motor Group and Kia Motors. Well-known car companies have invested €100 million in electric vehicle development by Arrival. In the same month, Arrival announced that UPS had invested in the company. The American giant had placed an order for 10,000 Arrival electric vehicles. They will be custom-built for the delivery of courier parcels. Sverdlov has experience in the industry: the first electric vans manufactured by Arrival passed trials conducted by the British Royal Mail in 2018.
DPD is a little bit more modest – the French courier company ordered 300 all-electric e-NV200 vans in 2020. Electric vans are also becoming more and more popular in the United States: Amazon is investing heavily in the development of Rivian’s electric vehicles. The giant ordered – a trifling amount – a 100 thousand electric delivery vans. Rivian also received $500 million in investment from the Ford Motor Company.
It is also worth mentioning that the intensive activities of Koreans in Europe are not limited to the courier industry. Hyundai is also working with the Swiss company H2 Energy to promote hydrogen-powered trucks. By 2025, 1,600 such trucks are expected to appear on European roads. Hyundai and Kia have also invested tens of millions of dollars in the Croatian electric car manufacturer Rimac Automobili to develop electric sports cars. The results are more than promising: the machine with the lovely name “Green Monster” reaches 100 km/h from standstill in 3.3 sec and has a top speed of 280 km/h. South Korean companies are also investing in the IONITY high power charging network for electric vehicles. You don’t have to be an expert to understand that Kia and Hyundai are getting ready for the “second great electrification” in Europe – this time in transport and the entire automotive industry.
How to explain the phenomenon of Arrival electric cars?
In principle, all automotive companies conduct research on electric cars. Why then, is there so much interest in the design that was developed by a startup founded just a few years ago? And in this case, if you don’t know what the deal is, then the deal is money. Founded by Denis Sverdlov, the company developed the concept of a modular car. The car bed, or rather something that is referred to as a skateboard platform and in fact at first glance resembles a skateboard without wheels – enables the creation of vehicles to match customer requirements. Thanks to the skateboard-style bed the vehicle may be equipped in different ways. Do you want off-road wheels? Done. Do you want small wheels for city driving? No problem either. The engine, body, power supply system and many other modules can be replaced in the same way. Thus, comparison with LEGO blocks makes a lot of sense.
According to data published by Arrival, microfactories producing vehicles based on the innovative “skateboard” platform are able to respond literally to individual orders. It takes just 4 hours to assemble one vehicle with the weight, load capacity and shape selected by the customer. And the assembly line is operated by only one man. The innovative production concept enables the completion of orders overnight and at the same time reduces production costs in a quantifiable way. In this system, it takes only 3 months to implement the production of a new vehicle model and the return on investment may be achieved after several thousand cars have been assembled. And that is the secret of Arrival’s spectacular career and the reason why so many invest willingly in this company.
The aforementioned Rivian (in practice Ford) also has its “skateboard” bed, as many others, like for example Volkswagen, Citroën, Mercedes. The idea of an electric modular vehicle is nothing new. However, the phenomenon of Arrival is that it has anticipated the boom for small and medium delivery vans for the courier industry.
Zero emission and calm calculation
Being eco-friendly is being eco-friendly. And business is business – courier companies have not suddenly fallen in love with the idea of sustainable transport. The explosion of interest in electric vehicles is due to the gradual tightening of environmental protection regulations. The European Union has announced the next setting of new emission limits for 2021: the average CO2 emission in new fleet cars should be reduced from 130 to 95 g/km. It is only one step away from an order to use electric cars.
World giants of the courier industry are doing their best not to lose their position in Europe, and in the near future all around the world. Especially in large cities, which are increasingly fighting smog and noise. In order not to be left behind, one must be one step ahead of the upcoming changes. According to the laws of natural selection, those who adapt quickly to changes in environmental conditions will survive.