Arrival Introduces Electric Bus That's Social Distancing Friendly

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【Summary】The future of public transportation is set to change and Arrival’s latest vision takes a one-size-fits-all approach.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jul 28, 2020 6:00 AM PT
Arrival Introduces Electric Bus That's Social Distancing Friendly

Arrival has been surrounded by a lot of buzz recently because of its all-electric delivery vans. The U.K startup doesn't have any actual smart electric vehicles on the road, but that hasn't stopped it from introducing another project it's been working on. Just like with its all-electric delivery vans, Arrival's latest machine is electric, no surprises there. But it's an electric bus for public transportation that can be configured in a way that maintains social distancing guidelines for passengers.

Tech Forward Transportation

From the outside, Arrivial's electric bus doesn't look all that different from ones currently circulating on city roads, except for the blacked out look. Look at it a little closer, and you might notice the exterior displays that create a ring on the outside. The displays could be used to tell riders stepping up to the van which side to board on. Screens are also included on the inside that offer passengers with information on the trip, like upcoming stops.

While the technology in Arrival's bus is nifty, the form of transportation also has flexible seating options. Max passenger capacity is rated at 125 people, though things can be configured to ensure social distancing practices are adhered to. Furthermore, plexiglass screens separate riders and passengers use no-touch bells, or their smartphone, to request a stop, so they won't have to get their hands dirty. Arrival also claims that its seamless construction for the bus makes it easy to disinfect, something we're sure will happen more often because of the coronavirus.

Arrival isn't saying a lot about the bus' specifications, but the transport vehicle will use a skateboard platform from the company. While the platform is modular and can be used on different vehicles, the design allows Arrival to place crucial components low in the body, opening up more space for passengers and other items, like high-tech screens.

Electric Bus Segment Is Growing

Electric buses aren't a new concept and Arrival isn't the only company looking to introduce an electric option for cities to use. Chinese manufacturer BYD already has an electric bus that's used in China. Called the BYD K9, the bus has been in production since 2010 and has a range of 155 miles on a single charge. BYD also won a contract to supply the state of Georgia with electric buses.

More recently, BYD came out with the K12A, which is the world's longest electric bus. It can seat up to 250 people, travel at speeds of up to 43 mph, and is also the first electric bus to have a distributed four-wheel-drive system. It's nowhere near as high-tech as Arrival's vision, but this is real and from a company that knows how to build it. So, we'd say that BYD is in a better position.

Just like Arrival's other electric vehicles, the bus will be built at local micro-factories. Instead of large plants and intricate supply chains, Arrival wants to build its vehicles at small, local areas and deploying them in the same areas. The company believes it will have 1,000 micro-factories around the world by 2026 and while that sounds hopeful, the company claims it has developed its own unique manufacturing technology to meet its goal. Pricing is a mystery, though Arrival claims the electric bus will cost the same as ones that are powered by fossil fuels.

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