The future of a range of commercial electric van startups lies in the hands of a small group of large companies looking for unsettled IPOs of investor capital, mainly UPS, FedEx, DHL and Amazon.
With each carrier having tens of thousands of vehicles in its global fleet, a package delivery order could launch Giant on the path to manufacturing scale and profitability, and serve as a marketing tool to win the demands of other large customers.
“Everyone is looking for their gold card,” said Steven Merkt, president of transportation solutions for sensors, connectors and electronic components at TE Connectivity Ltd, which works with all startups and provides technical feedback on designs. “If you don’t scale, you’ll get out pretty quickly.”
Next Tesla Inc. eager to find out, investors have thrown billions of dollars into electric vehicle startups, achieving mixed results.
But unlike Tesla, which has been with traditional carmakers for many years, the beginnings of commercial electric vehicles are running against the clock, with major manufacturers like Ford Motor Co launching their products or others like Volkswagen AG to improve their electric offering.
Some startups already have a gold card. The destination, through a merger with Purpose Purchasing Company (SPAC), has a demand for up to 10,000 UPS vans. Chanje has an order for 1,000 vans from the FedEx company in California, while Rivian has an order to build 100,000 vans for Amazon.
Others, like Xos, are close by. Jos, who is making a public appearance by merging with the pure company NextGen Acquisition Corp., is testing electric distribution trucks with UPS and Amazon.
Some, like Canoo Inc., have experienced confusion when it comes to establishing strategies.
Thore Meurer, CEO of the Fleet at Deutsche Post AG DHL Express, said: “The window of opportunity is closing.”
He said DHL has been talking to Arrival in the UK for years and will test some of its test models. In the U.S. market, DHL has announced that it will purchase 89 electric vans from Lighting eMotors, which was made public through a SPAC merger.
Meurer says DHL Express is talking to two European vans in Asia about European electric vans. But the company wants 14,000 electric vans in the European fleet by 2030 and is eager to move forward. In April, DHL ordered 100 E-Ducato electric vans from Stellantis, a long-established manufacturer, to deliver packages to Europe.
“If another startup comes to market with a van two years from now, they won’t be left with a choice,” Meurer said. “By then, all the big players will have an electric van on the market.”
The lack of confidence
The electric arrival test is known for UPS’s distinctive brown liver among drivers at a huge package delivery facility in the Kentish Town district of London. Luke Wake, vice president of UPS maintenance and engineering at the van show, asked several drivers, “When can we drive one?”
The arrival is the end of many years of work by UPS to incorporate electric vehicles into its fleet. There are still some old diesel trucks in the Kentish Town depot that UPS converted into electric vehicles.
“We’ve turned hundreds of existing electric vehicles into electric ones to see how they fit,” says Wake, “and to revitalize a market that didn’t yet exist.”
Working with a startup like Arrival has opened up a wealth of opportunities for UPSs, including self-driving functions in vans that can reduce costly accidents in warehouses, Wake said.
The battery pack of the van will allow drivers to add automatic doors and LED lights to the rear to help drivers find packages faster. These features can save every second per delivery. This adds to the fact that UPS distributes 2 billion packages annually.
The UPS application put Arrival on the map and the startup underscores that relationship by announcing last month that it would develop an electric car for Uber.
“You always have a confidence gap in the bridge,” said Carl-Magnus Norden, founder of Stockholm’s Volta Trucks, which is developing an electric truck for intra-city commerce and can order 1,000 trucks from French truck refrigerators. Petit Forestier company. “So someone like Petit Forestier is important to us.”
Now, while startups are demanding this gold card, Electric Last Mile Inc (ELMS), which will be released through a merger with Forum Merger III Corp (SPAC), is using U.S. retailers as a way to build scale and has pre-orders to place this year. 45,000 small electric vans.
CEO James Taylor said speed is key, as giants like Ford rely on electric commercial vehicles. Ford sells the most commercial vehicles in the U.S. and European markets and in 2023 will market the Transit electric van.
This is a bet that ELMS can make, as so far no one else has intended to produce a small van in the United States.
“We have at least a short track where we don’t compete,” Taylor said.
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