Urban Transport

Arrival previews pandemic-friendly electric city buses of the future

Arrival previews pandemic-frie...
Arrival believes it will provide a smarter, cleaner bus for future public transportation
Arrival believes it will provide a smarter, cleaner bus for future public transportation
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A sleeker, more tech-forward bus design enhances the rider experience
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A sleeker, more tech-forward bus design enhances the rider experience
After focusing on its electric vans in the past, Arrival previews the next step in its ecosystem: the electric bus
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After focusing on its electric vans in the past, Arrival previews the next step in its ecosystem: the electric bus
This Arrival bus configuration uses physical dividers to separate the bus into sections of four vis-a-vis seats
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This Arrival bus configuration uses physical dividers to separate the bus into sections of four vis-a-vis seats
Arrival reimagines bus seating in the age of social distancing
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Arrival reimagines bus seating in the age of social distancing
Traditional four-seat front-facing layout
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Traditional four-seat front-facing layout
Spread out single seating with built-in side tables
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Spread out single seating with built-in side tables
Arrival's design offers enough window space to make a nice tour bus for national parks and scenic drives
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Arrival's design offers enough window space to make a nice tour bus for national parks and scenic drives
Arrival believes it will provide a smarter, cleaner bus for future public transportation
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Arrival believes it will provide a smarter, cleaner bus for future public transportation
View gallery - 8 images

Previously, the electric bus was something of a hero in the making, a more sustainable paradigm for public transit that could help move the densely distributed city masses without a puff of smog-inducing tailpipe emissions. Then, COVID-19 happened, and all forms of mass transit are the enemy. Since London-headquartered startup Arrival is still in the early stages of fleshing out its transportation ecosystem, it's using the pandemic as an opportunity to preview a more flexible breed of electric bus that once again becomes the hero of the day by offering onboard social-distancing possibilities.

Arrival was previously known best for its electric vans, but what it's really building toward is an Integrated Public Transportation Ecosystem that comprises vans, taxis, car-sharing, buses, charging infrastructure and more. Its zero-emissions bus will be the key people-mover of that ecosystem, providing a modern and attractive way of navigating around cities and their greater surrounds.

Arrival previewed its bus on Wednesday, with a focus on how it can be a solution for the "new normal" of public transportation. Eventually we'll all have to get back to work and daily life, and that will mean determining the safest and most practical ways of navigating to and from. So right about now, the idea of a bus based specifically around "space, cleanliness and well-being in a world with a heightened awareness of hygiene and personal space" sounds pretty good.

Arrival reimagines bus seating in the age of social distancing
Arrival reimagines bus seating in the age of social distancing

Arrival's announcement was heavy on buzzwords and light on details, but its renderings show a modular interior that can be configured in various ways, from passenger-maximizing rows of seating to more spaced-out options with physical barriers and one seat per row or area. Presumably it'd be fairly easy to switch between configurations in reaction to the the changing public health climate.

Beyond the idea of lessening the degree of "public" in public transportation, Arrival also shows a sleeker, more digitized look for its bus, with bright, easy-read interior and exterior displays keeping passengers informed about the route and upcoming stops.

A sleeker, more tech-forward bus design enhances the rider experience
A sleeker, more tech-forward bus design enhances the rider experience

Like other vehicles in the Arrival family, the buses are intended to be built at micro-factories local to where they will be deployed. Arrival plans to build 1,000 of these micro-factories around the world by 2026 and says it has developed a unique manufacturing technology to support them. The factories would inject jobs, supply chains and tax revenues into the local economies, rather than merely bringing in vehicles built elsewhere. Arrival says the bus will cost the same to the customer as a fossil-fuel equivalent, saving money in the long run based on lowered operating costs.

All that might sound a little pie in the sky for now, but Arrival has been working with some very notable companies. In January, it received a €100-million investment from Hyundai and Kia while also signing a deal to deliver 10,000 electric vans to UPS.

Source: Arrival

View gallery - 8 images
4 comments
Wolf0579
Nice pictures, but if Covid19 mutates like it's sister virus, the common cold, it will be around forever, and we will be looking at yearly vaccinations much like we now do with influenza, IF a vaccination is possible and effective.

The seats in this rendering are far too close. I envision a standing only bus with handholds every six feet and reserved areas for wheelchair users. When a bus reaches capacity, it will no longer stop for additional passengers. There will be a need for many more buses to handle normal workday traffic volumes.
paul314
How about a bus with rapid filtered airflow? Get the air moving fast enough that it's not universally shared among passengers.
ljaques
40 foot long bus, seats six. Cities will scoop them up like hotcakes. Or NOT. We need herd immunity NOW.
paul314
@ljaques All we need for herd immunity is another 30-200 million extra dead worldwide, unless someone deploys a vaccine. (That's assuming a spread rate of roughly 2, in contrast to the 5-50 rate seen at some events with lots of people in enclosed spaces, and a roughly 0.8-5% mortality rate. And lasting immunity even for asymptomatic cases.)