by Anmol AhujaApr 02, 2022
In most metropolitan cities globally, especially in the more than 900 urban centres that Uber has a stronghold in as a rather essential mobility service provider, the ride-hailing mileage constitutes a major factor when considering a reduction in pollution levels, and a possible shift to cleaner means of automobile propulsion. The same may also be said for costs, which seem to have an inverse effect on the ability of our cities to adapt to a fully electric model of urban transport. By extension, apart from private vehicles, the ride-hailing industry represents an opportunity for significant environmental impact, by siphoning a successful shift into electric mobility. The UK-based manufacturer and designer of affordable electric vehicles through local microfactories, Arrival, seeks to manifest that opportunity tangibly with the design of its eponymous electric car. Backed by Uber, an already established giant in the ride-hailing and mobility realm, and coupled with the company’s van, bus, and digital products in the same realm, Arrival looks to revolutionise the sector on a global scale.
The Arrival Car has been designed with care for the end user’s needs and considerations, and in cabs that facet represents dual engagement with the driver and the rider. The vehicle is hailed as having exceptional visibility and comfort, with leg room twice as large as that of an average car of the same length. Several automobile design elements expend considerable thought to driver comfort and safety, along with uptime and cost, turning in 45-50,000 km a year, compared to 12,000 km for a typical vehicle in the same weight/size range. This has been achieved by surveys and consultations with a number of Uber drivers across the UK, which Uber enabled as part of its Clean Air Program launched in London over two years ago.
One of the major ways, structurally, that the Arrival Car achieves optimum space division between the driver and rider compartments, while ensuring ample legroom for both, is by utilising all the additional space availed by the relatively flatter hood of the car. The dashboard and engine compartment in the front are pushed ahead as much as possible, while also ensuring optimal viewing avenues for the driver. Form wise, the body of the car is an optimisation of the one-box arrangement, resembling a cuboid tapered at the front in one smooth swivel.
A significant area of that ‘curve’ is composed entirely of glass, and proves a transparent interface for both the driver and the rider. This is dubbed the ‘Infinity roof”. The boxed form at the rear end of the car grants additional boot space than comparable models, implying somewhat reduced luggage woes by being able to hold two large suitcases and several smaller bags. In accordance with these design measures, the Arrival EV boasts having a footprint as small as the Volkswagen Golf, with legroom comparable with a Rolls Royce, an official release states.
The passengers are promised a premium experience too, with the Arrival Car being laid out minimally, but in robust material. The immense legroom is further expandable by a few inches, made possible by the single passenger seat besides the driver being capable of being fully folded down, and slid underneath the dashboard. The dashboard itself is as stripped back as possible, with all the car’s additional features, including navigation, bluetooth phone connection, temperature and climate control, even the odometer and battery markings, being incorporated into a single touchscreen display, centrally placed along the dashboard, measuring approximately 12 inches along the longer side. Tom Elvidge, executive Vice President of Vehicle Programmes at Arrival, adds a delightful twist to the digital interface by stating that the screen could prove to be a “moment of connection” between the driver and the rider, just as their names and photographs are displayed at the beginning of a ride.
The current prototype, Alpha, will be further refined by eliciting detailed feedback from drivers and passengers alike. “Electrifying ride-hailing will play a crucial role in reducing the emissions of vehicles in cities globally, providing a sustainable, clean multi-modal transportation system for communities. We are keen on supporting drivers with this transition by developing the best possible product for ride hailing that elevates the experience for both them and their passengers, making urban air clean in the process,” states Elvidge on Arrival’s mission statement.