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Kia & Hyundai invest in electric-van Start Up, Arrival

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As the autonomous vehicles landscape is rapidly evolving on a daily basis worldwide, it is evident that more and more major Automotive giants are entering the market. The transport revolution has not left these major players “unmoved” investing significantly into new technologies; collaborating with government and policy makers; and with brands working closer together than ever before across different sectors.

With this in mind, it was interesting to see that the automotive market the past 2 weeks has been focused on a major investment by one of the industry’s biggest players. KIA and Hyundai announced on the 16th of January that they will be investing 100 million euros in Arrival.

The big investment signals the beginning of a strategic partnership between the 2 automotive makers and the start-up with a common goal to jointly accelerate the adoption of commercial electric vehicles globally. Hyundai and Kia recently announced their goal to develop mobility services and electrify their vehicle fleets and the technology for Generation 2 vehicles created by Arrival will be of great use to that goal. In addition, Arrival already have a “foot” in the market when it comes to deploying their vehicles to the streets. Following on from the Kia/Hyundai announcement, UPS has also announced that they will invest in electric and driverless trucks from Arrival, ordering 10.000 electric vehicles. Additionally, Arrival are apparently still in ongoing discussions with DHL and the Royal Mail regarding trials of their prototype vans with an aim to deploying a larger fleet for deliveries in the not so distant future.

Through this new agreement, the Korean car manufacturers are hoping this new agreement allows them to introduce a more competitive price for their small and medium-sized electric vans for logistics, and on-demand ride-hailing (Uber) and shuttle service companies to operate them. By using Arrival’s skateboard style EV platform, Hyundai and Kia in return are hoping their EV range of vehicles (like the Kona or the e-Niro) can greatly benefit whilst also reducing their CO2 footprint.

It is also interesting to note here that the 2 motor giants also invested $89million dollars in Rimac Automobili, a longstanding Croatian company aspiring to build electric supercars, who also happen to have financial backing by Porsche AG. As announced by the Arrival CEO, Denis Sverlov, “Arrival has created a game changing product category – Generation 2 Electric Vehicles. Hyundai and KIA make world-class vehicles with uncompromising quality. This strategic partnership will empower our companies to scale Generation 2 Electric Vehicles globally” whilst Albert Biermann, President and Head of Research and Development Division at Hyundai Motor Group, added “The eco-friendly vehicle market in Europe is expected to grow rapidly due to reinforcement of environmental regulations. Through the joint development of commercial electric vehicles with Arrival, we will be able to gain a competitive advantage and progressively establish our leadership in the global eco-friendly vehicle market.”

Arrival is a technology company, that creates Generation 2 Electric Vehicles. “Devices on wheels” as they like to call them that outperform legacy technology to deliver an experience like never before but are priced the same as fossil fuel equivalents. Founded in London in 2015, the innovative start-up firm is aiming to introduce its battery powered vans to the market by 2021 making the multi-million investment from Hyundai and Kia all the more significant providing them with financial security and the ability to draw on their new partners pools of resources to expand and grow. The company currently has a small manufacturing facility in Banbury UK and no more than 1000 employees in 5 countries where it has a presence.

Conclusively, the UK has historically always been a key player in automotive and is in a unique position to become a leader in the industry. The upcoming (and finally agreed Brexit in the next couple of days) has undoubtedly rejuvenated the market and UK start-ups are able to continue their innovative work in the field. The above announcement, is clearly another positive step for the United Kingdom, demonstrating we are active players in the industry with innovative start-ups and technologies “favourable” to foreign investors.  Nonetheless, in order for the UK to capitalise on these new technologies, innovation in Britain must continue. The three main pillars for a smooth transition to CAV (connected and Autonomous Vehicles) should always be the adoption or implementation of favourable regulations, structured investment into infrastructure and ensuring public acceptance of new technologies. The investment from powerhouses in the automotive industry such as Kia and Hyundai are most definitely a sign that the UK and its many Start-ups are heading the right way.

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