Creator of the world’s first Fun Utility Vehicle, Arcimoto has released its 2018 Q2 update video and it starts off with a bit of fun about the brand and how it plans to leverage its vehicles to change the world.
Much like Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, Arcimoto CEO Mark Frohnmayer made a nice chunk of change working in tech. Unlike Elon, Mark made his cash building a successful video game company before pulling out a parachute for his golden exit. Like many before him, it was then that Mark came face to face with the eternal question: What now?
That question led Mark to take on automakers head on with his 3-wheeled “fun utility vehicle” (FUV) under the banner of his company Arcimoto. It went public about a year ago under the symbol FUV as a sign of not only how much fun its vehicle is, but as a statement to the world that its vehicles represent a new way to think about transportation. They are electric, they are efficient, they are affordable, and they are also just a ton of fun to ride around in. I experienced this first-hand when they brought an early build out to Venice Beach and let me take a spin around town in it.
A Reason For Existing
Arcimoto exists to “help catalyze the shift to a sustainable transportation system,” and Mark shared in the quarterly update that he believes it is on track to do this. The Arcimoto FUV is an extremely practical vehicle that, by design, reduces the amount of energy required to haul people and gear around town — or even farther, if needed.
Its smaller footprint and two-passenger design makes it the ideal efficient commuter and makes it affordable for the masses – another key driver for mass adoption identified by the Arcimoto team. Having a vehicle that ticks all of the boxes to succeed with the masses is only the first step in the journey, and it is what they have spent most of their time to date working on.
In the last few months, Mark and his team at Arcimoto have been tooling up their factory in the Pacific Northwest in Eugene, Oregon, to allow them to ramp up production beyond just building a handful of prototypes, release candidates, and beta vehicles. Mark shared that the company is on track to have all of the equipment it needs to piece together the manufacturing “puzzle” that’s required to build Arcimoto’s FUV at production volumes.
The work on the factory supports one of the company’s two primary goals for 2018 — to achieve retail series production. That means no more testing, refining, and tweaking of the design or the manufacturing process and that the vehicle will be more or less etched in stone. Having said that, as a guy with a software background, expect Mark to continue pushing for a higher quality, more functional, lower cost, easier to build FUV ad finitum. From his own mouth, Mark shared that he is looking forward to Arcimoto continuing to deliver “successively more refined FUVs” in the coming months.
Arcimoto has, in its history, produced a handful of its vehicles for several discrete customer groups. The early adopters led the charge and Arcimoto built its Signature vehicles for its longtime supporters. These were the people who had faith when there was only a vision, only the early conceptions of what the Arcimoto vehicle could be. Signature vehicles represent the majority of what Arcimoto has shipped to customers to date.
Next, Arcimoto has its beta vehicles. These vehicles took the learnings from Arcimoto’s early vehicles and the manufacturing processes. This included some moves to streamline and scale manufacturing as well as making improvements with the actual functionality of the vehicle. Arcimoto started cranking out Betas at the beginning of August.
Looking down the line at Production vehicles, Arcimoto is laser focused on putting all the pieces of the manufacturing puzzle together that will enable it to scale up vehicle production. Scale is key to driving the cost down; and to achieve scale, new manufacturing equipment is necessary. These pieces are all being ordered and stitched together with existing processes and equipment into a seamless factory operation.
It already has all essential fabrication hardware and tooling and can go from raw material to part cutting, forming welding, and final machining all in-house. It will be investing the next few months in getting its machine centerlines and operational work processes dialed in as it continues to scale up. As it stands today, it has the first pilot chassis built and on the floor at the factory as the next milestone in its production journey.
Connecting With Customers
In support of high volumes of production vehicles, Arcimoto is also working to put the finishing touches on its end-to-end customer experience. This will be underpinned by Arcimoto’s new Rental Experience Centers that will serve as the gateways for customer to get their hands on an Arcimoto vehicle, and as the name implies, rent one to head out on the town.
Lowering the bar to entry into its vehicles will make it easier for people to spend some time in an Arcimoto and see if the vehicle could be a good fit for them while at the same time bringing in some revenue for Arcimoto. More than cash, Arcimoto sees the rental experience centers as a “capital efficient means of creating advocates” for its vehicles.
Arcimoto hopes to have two rental locations open in the next couple of months: one near its factory in Eugene, Oregon, and a second in Southern California.
What’s Coming Up?
Looking to the future, Arcimoto plans to continue to scale up its operations in support of growing demand from the public. It has seen an increase in reservations with almost zero effort to market its products to customers. On the financial side of things, it is pursuing a $100 million grant that would enable a much more rapid ramp up of its operations.
Either way, as it establishes a firm manufacturing footprint in Eugene with its new production line, it also has its sights set on an East Coast factory that will lower the cost of operations as it looks to tap into the dense customer base along the eastern seaboard.
Take a look at the update video below for the full update from Arcimoto’s CEO Mark Frohnmayer in his engaging second quarter earnings update.