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Electric van maker Arrival misses quarterly production goal

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LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) – British electric van and bus maker Arrival said on Friday it had missed its third-quarter target to start van production because of supply chain problems, but was on target to meet its goals for the end of 2022.

“The supply chain is broken and we’re a new company,” chief executive Denis Sverdlov told Reuters. “We are going through our own production hell … but we expect we can go through this much quicker than traditional companies.”Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla (TSLA.O), famously complained of “production hell” as the electric carmaker struggled to scale up the manufacturing of its mass-market Model 3 sedan.

Arrival and other commercial electric vehicle (EV) startups are burning through cash as they race to bring vans or trucks to market before the funds run out or customers choose to buy from legacy automakers instead.

In July, Arrival said it would reorganise its business, possibly resulting in up to a 30% reduction in its workforce. In August, the company said it would delay spending on its bus project as it seeks fresh funds.
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By the end of the third quarter, Arrival said it had managed to build a “production verification vehicle” at its British “microfactory” in Bicester and would still deliver 20 vans to customers by the end of 2022 as previously announced.

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Arrival still does not expect to book any revenue in 2022.

Like many within the auto industry, Arrival said it had experienced supply chain problems, including securing supplies of metal, and parts such as lights and wire harnesses.
Arrival said it still expected to generate revenue in 2023 and would need to raise capital for its second van microfactory in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will focus mostly on fulfilling an order from package delivery company UPS (UPS.N) for up to 10,000 vans.

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Following work to market a carbon-absorbing material, Nick O’Quinn of purpose consultancy Revolt dwells on how to position innovations with dreams of changing the future.

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Following work to market a carbon-absorbing material, Nick O’Quinn of purpose consultancy Revolt dwells on how to position innovations with dreams of changing the future.

“Technology needs more humanity”, wrote the Washington Post recently, questioning why crypto is still a “thing” and despairing at the tech bros who’ve made it so. In a world that constantly craves the ‘new’, innovation lies at the very center of how we see and drive the notion of ‘progress’. It’s a craving that drives us to fixate on the functionality of new tech, and forget what it’s there to serve.

The marketing community has long been guilty of this fixation. From VR experiences to brands scrambling to ‘do something in the metaverse’, it always comes back to a question – what’s the idea? If Vodafone’s new ‘Together’ positioning last year is anything to go by, real progress lies in the connection of technology with humanity; unlocking the emotion from innovation; finding the purpose at the heart of progress. But how can this humanity and sense of purpose be unlocked?

1. From complexity to clarity
New technology is often complex; communicating its potential even more so. It’s often built on clever science, reliant on foundational knowledge of a problem, or saturated with diverse and revelatory benefits. Take Revolt client Partanna, for example, a building material that absorbs carbon.

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It absorbs carbon throughout its lifetime, and it minimizes emissions by utilizing waste materials from other industries in a process that requires no heat. Its one-surface prefabricated manufacturing process lends itself to building efficient, affordable housing, fast. And given the fact it gets stronger with salt water, Partanna presents a powerful solution for building climate-resilient homes in the coastal communities most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

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There’s a lot there. The key to finding human resonance is to be focused: to navigate through complexity, make a choice about your most relevant message, and deliver it with clarity. Apple has been masterful at this – choosing a single product feature to hero and unlocking the human stories that can bring it to life.

Working with Revolt, Partanna focused on the single most revelatory function: its ability to absorb carbon. This single-minded focus laid the foundations for how it could be powerfully brought to life.

2. From function to flair
When innovation has genuinely transformational functionality, it’s tempting to simply say what it is. But the key is to remember to make people feel something. Creativity is our industry’s superpower for elevating a brand message into something memorable.

Oatly’s ‘It’s like milk but made for humans’ is a great example. How to introduce the world to milk made from oats? Not only does it reframe our perceptions of cows’ milk (and in doing so completely reposition an entire category); it finds humor and human resonance in what is ultimately the juice squeezed from a seed.

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Back to the Partanna example, its ability to absorb carbon is compelling, but it doesn’t absorb carbon through magic but through simple chemical exchange. The challenge is to find a human way to explain it. The exciting elevation comes in reframing Partanna from ‘a material that absorbs carbon’ to ‘a material that breathes’. It’s a metaphor for the most human exchange there is: bringing flair to function and making it feel both more relevant and resonant.

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3. From innovation to inspiration
With innovation, it’s tempting to only focus on the ‘what’. Not least because its raison d’être is that it brings a brand new ‘what’ into the world. But the bigger potential lies in the inspirational ‘why’ that can guide not only what you do now, but where you’re heading too. Tesla doesn’t make electric cars; it exists to ‘accelerate the advent of sustainable transport’. It’s the radical (albeit, at times, dangerously delusional) ambition of Musk’s vision that elevated Tesla into a pioneer that defined an entire category.

For Partanna, their narrative could have stopped at the articulation of what it is, but the real excitement lies in pushing further. Because Partanna isn’t just creating a material that breathes; it is ‘Building a World That Breathes’. This vision talks about the idea of a new world as much as it talks about the material with which we can build it, ushering in a new urban era against the backdrop of a suffocating planet. It’s a dream of a world where there is greater harmony between our built environments and our natural ones. Where both people and the planet are able to thrive.

Any new technology can feel shiny and exciting, especially for the people who created it. When that innovation has the potential to fundamentally change the world for the better, you could be forgiven for thinking it sells itself. But the usual rules of marketing still apply. Innovation is nothing without the powerfully human storytelling that can bring it to life. Technology is nothing without humanity. Progress is nothing without purpose.

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Netherlands moves to restrict some exports

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The Dutch government says before the summer it will put restrictions on the country’s “most advanced” chip exports to protect its national security, following a similar move by the US.

It will include technology produced by computer chip equipment maker ASML. ASML is one of the most important firms in the global microchip supply chain.

Semiconductors, which power everything from mobile phones to military hardware, are at the centre of a bitter dispute between the US and China.

“This is a real step forward, a real victory for the US and also very bad news for China. US-China relations are already in a pretty bad place. This clearly will make things even worse,” Dexter Roberts, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Atlantic Council think tank, told the BBC.

The measures will affect “very specific technologies in the semiconductor production cycle,” the country’s trade minister Liesje Schreinemacher said.

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“The Netherlands considers it necessary on national and international security grounds that this technology is brought under control as soon as possible,” she said in a letter to lawmakers on Wednesday.

Ms Schreinemacher added that the Dutch government had considered “the technological developments and geopolitical context,” without naming China or ASML.

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Telcos hamonise shortcodes for credit recharge, others

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Nigeria is moving towards harmonising all shortcodes to a uniform number across all telecommunications operators from May 17.

Through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in the next two months, telcos like MTN, Airtel, 9mobile, and Globacom, among others, may begin to use one singular code for specific transactions.

ALTON Chairman and Head of Operations, Gbenga Adebayo and Gbolahan Awonuga respectively, in a statement, said the harmonisation of shortcodes is aimed at implementing a streamlined process for common shortcodes across the industry, by making life easier for Nigerians through the memorisation of single codes, for various services across all networks, as well as providing a cohesive regulatory framework that is consistent with global best practices.

“The harmonisation of shortcodes is aimed at implementing a streamlined process for common short codes across the industry by making life easier for Nigerians through the memorisation of single codes for various services across all networks as well as providing a cohesive regulatory framework that is consistent with global best practices.

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“Following the directive from NCC, the Association hereby informs the general public that during migration, which is to be concluded by May 17, 2023, old and new common codes, will run concurrently, after which the old codes will cease to operate”.

The body listed the proposed harmonised shortcodes to include: Call Center/Help Desk – 300; Voice Mail Deposit – 301; Voice Mail Retrieval -302; Borrow Services – 303; STOP Services – 304; Check Balance – 310; Credit Recharge – 311; Data Plan – 312; Share Services – 321; Data Plan Balance – 323; Verification of SIM Registration/ NIN – SIM Linkage – 996 and Porting Services (MNP) – 2442.

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Explaining further, ALTON said the harmonisation of shortcodes entails making the common shortcodes utilised by customers to be uniform across all networks. For instance, the code for recharging a line can be used across all mobile networks for the same function. The body said there is no need for a special code to activate the shortcodes.

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