With the support of UPS, a small electric car company wants to replace assembly lines used by automakers for more than a century, which is radically different from small factories with several hundred employees.
Ri Aman is creating highly automated “microfaneries” where its delivery vans and buses will be assembled by multi-tasking robots, departing from the approach used by Henry Ford, the approach used by most of the world’s automakers. The factories would supply tens of thousands of vehicles a year. This is much less than traditional car parks, which require 2,000 2000 more employees, և usually producing hundreds of thousands of cars a year.
The advantage, according to The Bowl, is that its microfinance will cost about $ 50 million more than the $ 1 billion or more needed to build a traditional plant. The London-based company, which has factories in the United Kingdom and the United States, says the method should provide vans that cost much less than other electric models, even today’s standard diesel cars.
“The assembly line approach is very capital, you have to reach a very high level of production to create any margin,” said Avinash Ruguobur, chairman of Ri Aman and former CEO of General General Motors. “The microfactory allows us to build profitable vehicles of any size.”
The company hopes its electric vehicles will disrupt the usually sleepy delivery van market. Such vehicles are well suited for electrification, as they travel a certain number of miles a day and can be charged overnight. The company has already won over UPS, which owns about 4% of the company, and plans to buy 10,000 to 10,000 vans in the next few years.
At the Armani plant, the motorized rifle platform will move unfinished vehicles into clusters of six different robots, with different components added at each stop. The company also replaces most steel vehicles with advanced composites replaced with polypropylene alloys, polymers used to make plastics, and fiberglass. These parts should be held together with structural adhesives instead of metal welds.
The use of composites, which can be produced in any color, will eliminate the three most expensive parts of the car factory: the paint shop, the giant printing presses that cut the points, the other parts, the robots, which weld the metal parts to the larger components at the bottom. Each is usually worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The company, which went on sale on the Nasdaq in March, hopes to start producing buses by the end of this year, but its ideas remain proven. Car automation is infamously complicated. Tesla has blamed the robots for the restless launch of its Model 3 product line in 2018.
Manufacturing robots are usually programmed to perform one or two tasks. Ar Aman relies on its robots to do various jobs.
“It doesn’t seem to work for large applications,” said Christine Dziczek, senior vice president of research at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Automation is great for repetitive, accurate items. But if they are talking about a very low volume, it can be viable. “
UPS has been working with ri rivals since its inception, said Luke Wake, vice president of service and engineering at UPS Corporate Automotive Group.
The freight giant has helped design a delivery van that gives drivers more visibility than a traditional truck that is easy to load and unload. Wake said he closely monitored the progress of the ri, visiting the company two or three times a month on average.
Although he acknowledged that the unprofessional approach to truck manufacturing was “dangerous”, he said it could speed up the use of electric vehicles in package delivery.
“Everything can change quickly when all the grounds are in place,” he said. “We have invested in the field, we have worked hand in hand to develop the car.”
At the same time, UPS is hedging its bets. It also plans to purchase vehicles from other power generators, including Workhorse Group, a small Ohio manufacturer.
“This is about getting the best, optimal delivery vehicle for us,” Wake said.
Globally, UPS operates about 120,000 vehicles, of which about 13,000 use alternatives to diesel engines, such as batteries.
In addition to UPS, BlackRock և South Korean carmaker Hyundai և Kia has invested in Ar.
Electric vehicle companies have sparked interest from investors hoping to find the next Tesla, valued at more than $ 650 billion, more than GM, Ford Motor, Toyota Motor and Volkswagen. taken together. Wall Street’s interest has been fueled by a parade of start-ups, some of which, including Ar Aman, who are not yet selling vehicles, especially to make a profit by listing their shares on the stock exchange.
Some have already disappointed investors. Nikolai, who is trying to develop heavy-duty trucks powered by batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, fell after a small investment firm, Hindenburg Research, said the company had exceeded its technological capabilities. Nikola denied the wrongdoing, but confirmed during a security filing in February that some of what he had said before about the technology of his vehicles was incorrect.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Nikolai և another company, Lordstown Motors, which aims to make electric pickups. Hindenburg also published a report on Lordstown, accusing him of exaggerating interest in the production capacity of his trucks. Lordstone denies Hindenburg’s allegations.
EV startups have acquired stock lists by merging with special purpose acquisition companies or SPACs to form a business, which can be a cash և stock list. Such mergers allow start-ups to enter the stock market without first reviewing the initial public offering of shares.
Ri Aman ended its merger with SPAC in March. But it is still far from turning its vision into a viable business. It has assembled several prototype vans but has not yet begun testing them on public roads. The company went on sale on March 25 for $ 22.40, but has since fallen about $ 14.
Ri Aman was founded in 2015 by Delis Sverdlov, a Russian telecommunications tycoon who briefly served as Russia’s Deputy Minister of Media and had little experience in the automotive industry. Sverdlov is listed as the CEO of the company, he controls 76% of the shares of the company through an investment fund located in Luxembourg.
The company’s success depends heavily on the viability of its microfinance facilities in Rock Hill, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Բ In Bister, England.
Late this afternoon, Mike Abelson, CEO of the ri’s automobile business in North America, և another former GM CEO, demonstrated prototype robots at the ri ամ van factory in England.
During the video conference, the robot, working like a giant, took part of the radiation, which provides power to the car. Then another robot leaned on to glue the part. No one was actually used in the demonstration, although Abelson said it was done in other trials.
Abelson showed a wheel platform that supposedly transports a vehicle from one cluster of robots to another. Better tasks, such as the installation of internal parts, will be performed by human workers.
The company has to refine all this software և machines to work accurately so that several thousand parts become a van.
“We are very pleased to receive equipment that works in our simulations,” Abelson said. “Now it is the process of putting it into operation. It puts the equipment in place and delivers it properly. ”