The electric bus, made by British-based manufacturer Arrival, will be tested for the first time on British roads later this year in a trial with the transport company First Group.
Testing begins this fall with the first four production vehicles produced at the arrival research and development facility in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Further examinations are being discussed with other companies.
The test is the latest step in Arrival’s rapid expansion, which has attracted hundreds of millions of pounds of investment to create battery-powered vans and buses with zero emissions. The company, which has not yet started full-fledged production, expects to generate approximately $3.1 billion (2.2 billion) in revenue from bus sales by 2024 and about $10.9 billion in revenue from vans.
Arrival is also reviewing an undisclosed number of new sites for factories in the UK, a sign of its intention to increase production as it prepares for a reverse listing on New York’s Nasdaq Stock Exchange, worth $5.4 billion (3.9 billion). . The company’s main business remains in the UK.
Bus companies are rushing to reduce their carbon footprint to meet the city’s clean air regulations. First Group plans to reduce emissions by 2035 without purchasing diesel buses after 2022.
The First Group is running separate tests of electric buses made by rival manufacturers BYD ADL, Optare, Yutong, and tests of hydrogen fuel cell buses in their hometown of Aberdeen.
Arrival bus. Photo: Arrival
Arrival hopes to quickly start producing buses for large cities around the world. It aims to produce 1,000 buses by 2022 and 11,000 buses by 2024. Arrival also started work at a facility in Bicester in Oxfordshire, as well as a plant in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Now employing more than 1,400 people, Arrival was secretly founded in 2014 by Russian telecommunications entrepreneur Denis Sverdlov. Instead of using micro-factory facilities that break the traditional logic of making cars on large production lines, the company uses robots to assemble cars into cells.
The first public product of arrival, the electric van for last mile delivery in the city, will begin testing with US courier United Parcel Service in late February. UPS ordered 10,000 vans worth 400m (350m) last year.
Arrivals president Avinash Rugoobur said the built-in tracking, info screens and internet connection allow the bus to connect better with other means of transport and provide a better user experience. The flat floor also makes accessibility easier.
Rugoobur really started what is possible within the bus platform. The buses used today certainly do that, but similar to the van market, we were talking about technology that has not moved to the world today.
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Electric buses are priced very similar to diesel buses, but Arrival estimates that the total cost of ownership will be much lower due to the lower fuel and maintenance costs. Bus range was not disclosed, but Rugoobur said it should be able to handle most city routes.
Arrival buys the battery from LG Chem in South Korea, but Rugoobur said it would be happy to procure the battery from its UK-based factory in the future if it could be launched successfully.
Rugoobur warned that driverless buses on the road are off to some extent, but the company is working on unmanned driving for controlled situations, such as inside a company warehouse.
For driverless buses to become reality, he said, true fault-tolerant road driving autonomy is required. I wasn’t there.
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