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Tycoon Aims to Reshape Carmaking One Microplant at a Time

  • BlackRock, Fidelity among those backing EV startup Arrival
  • Value of founder Denis Sverdlov’s stake surges to $11 billion
Arrival is aiming to sell its electric vans and buses at around the same price as diesel equivalents.
Arrival is aiming to sell its electric vans and buses at around the same price as diesel equivalents.Source: Arrival Ltd.
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Russian-born entrepreneur Denis Sverdlov wants to revolutionize automaking, replacing Henry Ford’s century-old conveyor-belt assembly lines with tiny factories that cost far less.

While most of the industry aims for big sales numbers that will keep huge plants busy, his Arrival Ltd., which will start producing electric buses and vans next year, is betting that doing just the opposite will help reduce production costs. Its microfactories need about $50 million in investment, compared with $1 billion for conventional ones, and 10 of of them could make as many vehicles as a traditional outlet for half the capital expenditures and in a 10th of the space, it says.