Nuro: Manufacturing autonomous e-pods with the help of BYD

Nuro: Manufacturing autonomous e-pods with the help of BYD

U.S. autonomous electric vehicle startup Nuro has announced it will build a production facility in southern Nevada. Nuro cites the capacity of the future plant as "tens of thousands of delivery vehicles." For production, Nuro is enlisting support from BYD North America.

Construction on the manufacturing facility is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2021 and be completed in 2022, after which Nuro plans to begin production of its third-generation autonomous e-vehicle on site. Also in southern Nevada, a test track will also be built to validate the vehicles. Nuro says it is investing $40 million, the equivalent of about €34 million, in both facilities.

Quick review: in February 2020, Nuro unveiled the second generation of its self-driving electric vehicle called the R2. At the time, the company reported receiving permits to begin testing the pod in Houston. At the time, the R2 was an evolution of the R1 unveiled in early 2018, designed for delivery services from restaurants, grocers and other businesses. What's more: in 2019, the investment arm of Japan's SoftBank Group made a nearly $1 billion investment in Nuro.

So now the third generation of the vehicle is set to be commercialized. What the improvements are over the R2 and R1, Nuro doesn't say in its announcement. Co-founder and CEO Jiajun Zhu is only quoted as saying that Nuro is "building on our tremendous momentum - including strategic partnerships with industry leaders like Domino's, Kroger and FedEx, and operations in three states - to now be able to invest in the infrastructure to build tens of thousands of robots."