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S.C. electric vehicle manufacturer invests in battery plant

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Arrival manufacturers electric vans and buses for fleet use. (Photo/Provided)U.K.-based electric van manufacturer Arrival Automotive is building a battery module assembly plant to serve its Charlotte and Rock Hill microfactories with an approximate $11.5 million investment.

The plant, located on Charlotte’s west side, is expected to hire 150 employees and will enable the company to replace one high-voltage battery module at a time instead of a whole battery.

“By bringing the assembly of our proprietary High-Voltage Battery Modules in-house, we’re striving to be as vertically integrated as possible,” Mike Ableson, CEO of Arrival Automotive, said in a news release. “This will enable us to have even greater control over the functionality and cost of our products and pass those cost savings on to the customer, while also working toward our goal of zero-waste production.”

The company’s North American headquarters is located in Charlotte, along with a new $41.2 microfactory announced earlier this year. Last year, the company began scaling up for production at its microfactory in Rock Hill with a $49 million investment.

“We’re excited to add another facility in Charlotte as we prepare to open our new North American headquarters building just down the road and continue to work in tandem with the city to develop solutions for their electrification and sustainability goals,” Ableson said in the release. “This is a big milestone for Arrival as we ramp up operations in the region in advance of production starting in Rock Hill in Q2 next year.”

The module’s in-house design fits within Arrival’s plug-and-play hardware and software architecture allowing for scalability, upgradability and ease of repairs and maintenance, according to a news release. Arrival’s proprietary software runs across all of its in-house components, diagnoses potential issues and improves the total cost of operations.

Earlier this week, Arrival also announced plans to collaborate with Li-Cycle, a lithium-ion battery recycler in North America, to create closed-loop EV battery supply chain in the U.S. and Europe.

The manufacturer’s wider strategy also includes a zero-waste production goal and the use of recyclable composite materials for the vehicle body that are more durable than steel and don’t require painting.

“We are thrilled to witness a UK-based company locate their U.S. HQ in this region and continue their growth in Charlotte,” Honorary British Consul Michael Teden for the state of North Carolina, said in a news release. “Arrival Automotive is truly revolutionary and seeks to transform the electric vehicle manufacturing processes through their cutting edge innovation coupled with their all-important vision of sustainable transportation.”

Arrival will work with the city of Charlotte on achieving goals set out in its Strategic Energy Action Plan outlining strategies for clean energy focused on transportation, buildings, energy generation and equitable workforce development.

In June 2018, the city passed the Sustainable and Resilient Charlotte by 2050 Resolution, which set a community-wide greenhouse gas emission goal of making city fleets and facilities fueled 100% by zero-carbon sources by 2030.

“We are thrilled that Arrival is bringing more jobs and investment to Charlotte’s west side,” Mayor Vi Lyles said in the release. “This announcement further builds on our working partnership, and I look forward to achieving lasting results in our shared goal to create a greener city.”

The project was a collaborative effort between the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance and the city of Charlotte with support from the North Carolina Governor’s Office and North Carolina Department of Commerce.

“As a county, we have worked to build and grow a thriving manufacturing sector to help bridge the economic mobility gaps in our community,” George Dunlap, chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, said in the release. “Arrival’s forward-thinking leadership and innovation in the electric vehicle sector positions them for long-term growth and the ability to offer great entry-level jobs with growth potential for our residents. The batteries created in their new facility will power their vehicles and empower our workforce of tomorrow.”

Reach Molly Hulsey at 864-720-1223.

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