Aug 16, 2023 - Business

EV company Arrival dims presence in Charlotte. What’s going on with the company?

Arrival

Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

Driving in South End, you’ll notice signage for British electric vehicle maker Arrival has been removed from its local headquarters on Tremont Avenue. Go inside, and you’ll see its offices appear empty.

What’s happening: Arrival made a splashy announcement in late 2020 to establish a North American headquarters in South End and open two microfactories locally. Since then, though, Arrival has taken drastic cost-control measures to keep up with economic headwinds. It’s laid off employees, including in Charlotte, and it’s delayed local production.

The company confirmed to Axios Wednesday it ended the lease on two of the three floors of 330 W. Tremont Ave. to cut costs. But it’s been relatively quiet about the status of its existing presence and expansion plans beyond that.

  • Through a spokesperson, Arrival said it “is committed to maintaining our North American headquarters in Charlotte.”
  • It’s unclear how many employees Arrival has in Charlotte. The company declined to comment further.

Yes, but: Multiple emails Axios sent to contacts with the company bounced back this week. The latest phone number listed with the Secretary of State is invalid. JLL, the office’s landlord, said it did not have any information to disclose on Arrival. The company this year also discontinued lobbying efforts in D.C.

  • Arrival fell out of compliance with Nasdaq this year because it did not file its annual report on time.
  • Arrival has burned through cash since going public two years ago. Its share price has also plunged 87% from its opening figure of $22 in March 2021, TechCrunch reported last month.

Why it matters: Arrival’s expansion into the U.S., specifically Charlotte, came amid broad enthusiasm for electric vehicle adoption — both among customers and lenders. The company’s goals aligned with that of local governments like Charlotte to reduce their carbon footprint.

Context: Arrival’s Tremont Avenue corporate offices were supposed to be a part of a local expansion. Its ambitious plans included adding 150 highly skilled positions in areas like engineering and finance.

But about a year ago, Arrival began scaling back.

  • It laid off 35 Charlotte employees as part of a company-wide, cost-saving restructuring, as we previously reported.
  • The cuts continued in January. It reduced its global workforce by 50%, CBJ reported.

Its production plans have shifted as well. Last year, Arrival leaders said the company was delaying the production of electric vans in Charlotte until 2023, a year later than originally planned. The company also said it was indefinitely postponing plans for its electric bus production in Rock Hill.

  • In Rock Hill, Arrival planned to manufacture up to 1,000 electric buses per year. The Charlotte facility would produce 10,000 zero-emission vans per year.

What they’re saying: “Arrival remains committed to our U.S. strategy, and we look forward to starting production at our Charlotte factory location in 2024,” spokesperson Suzanne Merkelson told Axios.

Arrival van
Arrival van. Courtesy of Arrival
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