Arrival produces its first electric van

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The completed van will become a ‘delta’ test vehicle for verification processes such as range testing.

EV start-up Arrival has made the first van at its plant in the UK, following a troubled gestation period described as “more difficult than we imagined” by CEO Denis Sverdlov.

Van number one was completed using all the factory’s assembly processes but won’t go to a customer. Instead, it will become a ‘delta’ test vehicle to be used for verification processes, including range testing.

Arrival said in August that it would produce only 20 vans at the Bicester factory this year, down from April’s prediction of 400 to 600, after being hit by a cash crunch that forced it to pause the development of its electric bus and ride-hailing car, as well as reduce its headcount by 800.

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The production of the first van is a rare piece of good news for Arrival this year, following two years of fast expansion aided by investment from UPS and Hyundai.

The company saw the value of its stock soar to $13.6 billion (AUD$21.2bn) following its listing on Wall Street in 2020, but shares have fallen by more than 90 per cent in value in 2022 as the investment climate has changed dramatically.

“It has been a fairly remarkable year so far, and it’s definitely affecting start-ups and scale-ups,” said Elvidge. “It’s certainly something that we’re having to adapt to.”

The company also gave itself a tough task in developing the van to production from sketches in just two years, he said.

Arrival has also paused its foreign expansion after pushing back the start date of van production in its factory in Charlotte, Virginia, to 2023, it said in August, without giving a specific quarter.

The US factory was due to start production in the final quarter of this year, Arrival wrote in a filing back in April.

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