Uber is working with the UK-based EV startup Arrival to develop an electric car exclusively for ride-hailing companies. Arrival’s vehicles will not be exclusive to Uber, but Uber has been involved in the development and design.
Currently, Arrival plans to start producing the new electric vehicles in 2023. The overall goal is to create an affordable vehicle that will appeal to millions of rideshare drivers around the world. Uber and Arrival recently released a handful of renderings of the new car’s interior. A final design is on track to be released at the end of 2021. Before then, the companies plan to involve some rideshare drivers in the design process.
Current renderings are similar to other concept cars displayed at auto shows around the work, with a large horizontal screen mounted to the dashboard and a steering wheel with two scroll wheels and no driver display. There are, however, differences that Arrival says could enhance the rideshare experience for both the drivers and passengers. Those features include:
- An ergonomically designed driver’s seat to reduce the physical strain of sitting in a car for long hours,
- A front passenger seat that folds up to create more legroom,
- A bench-style seat in the back to make it easier to get in and out of the vehicle,
- And small, lighted cubbies and handrails on the inside of each door.
According to Tom Elvidge, Arrival’s senior vice president of mobility, the goal is to make “hundreds of small improvements, changes, and tweaks to the design that perhaps haven’t been applied before.” Elvidge believes Arrival can broadly reduce the cost of manufacturing electric vehicles by using “micro-factories” or highly automated, small-footprint facilities to build the vehicles.
However, it has yet to be seen how Arrival’s strategy will work, as the strategy is still in the developmental phase and has yet to sell any production vehicles. While Uber has spoken with numerous electric vehicle startups over the years, this is the first time a deal has been made. This partnership could put Uber on track to execute its promise to make 100 percent of its rides happen in electric vehicles by 2030.
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