UPS Broadens Search for Electric Vans Amid Arrival’s Woes

Production Struggling for Cash-Strapped European EV Maker
UPS van
The silhouette of a driver is seen in a UPS delivery truck at the distribution center in Sacramento, Calif. (Ken James/Bloomberg News)

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UPS Inc.’s push to adopt battery-powered delivery trucks hit a snag due to financial troubles at Arrival SA, a European electric vehicle startup that’s running out of cash.

UPS invested in Arrival in 2020 and ordered as many as 10,000 vans that were designed to the courier’s specifications. Now, UPS is talking with other EV manufacturers while keeping an eye on Arrival’s fate, said Laura Lane, UPS’s chief corporate affairs and sustainability officer.

Arrival is “trying to figure out ways to continue their production,” Lane said during an interview on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco. “If they’re not able to do that, I hope some of the innovative ideas that went into some of the prototypes that we were looking at can be brought to scale by other producers.”

Many EV makers have struggled to meet production goals amid challenges such as parts shortages and scaling the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries. That has UPS looking wherever it can to get its tailor-made green fleet.

“We are working with every producer and saying — here’s the specifications we have to be able to deliver the exceptional service we do in our network,” Lane said. “If you can meet those specs we’re ready to purchase more e-vehicles.”

UPS ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America and No. 2 on the TT50 global freight list.

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