I’ve had a love affair with Arcimoto for the past 6 years, but don’t tell my wife. It’s true, I knew Arcimoto was the right company when I first saw it at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2013. I became convinced when I visited the company’s headquarters.
Arcimoto Is Not Only Fun, It’s Also Way Cool
It’s easy to get lost in hyperboles, but I can’t find enough to explain how great this company is. And no, I’m not paid by Arcimoto to say this. We’re all independents here.
When I first saw the company, it had the same three-wheel idea it has today but it sported a steering wheel. The steering wheel is gone today and replaced by a handlebar. What I couldn’t understand is why Arcimoto is in Eugene, Oregon. It became apparent when I went to visit. It’s the right place to imagine, develop, and bring to fruition such a unique mode of electric transportation.
Arcimoto went through 12 years of development to bring us the FUV we have today. What is an FUV? It’s a “Fun Utility Vehicle,” and the word fits the vehicle to perfection. It’s also their NASADQ ticker symbol.
When Arcimoto said it would be in my neck of the woods with the final production vehicle, I couldn’t wait to jump back in it again. It didn’t disappoint. It’s fun. I’m not sure I mentioned that enough yet. It’s very much fun to drive.
You know a company does it well when you see how efficient its enterprise is. The 38,000 sq foot manufacturing facility is also the headquarters. Metal strips go in a highly automated string of machines and spit out the FUV. Okay, so it’s a little more complicated than that, but you get the gist. Arcimoto not only managed to make a very efficient EV, it also created a highly efficient way of manufacturing it.
On our test drive, we blasted through Long Beach traffic, where I took it up the Signal Hill steep hill. I’m guestimating it is a 10% slope. It’s a cool hill street where drag racers challenged each other decades ago. I started bringing electric vehicles (EV) there 15 years ago to show once and for all they can go up a hill. Naysayers used to say they didn’t. Bringing the Arcimoto FUV to the hill proved yet again that an efficient EV makes it even more fun going up the hill. And it’s even cooler to drive down and recharge that taxed battery pack. Try relating this to a typical gasoline car driver.
Handling city traffic is where the Arcmoto FUV stands out. Long Beach is a fun place, but the roads are severely abused from a never-ending flow of heavier vehicles over the decades. Bumps and humps are part of the package living here.
We stopped along the way in various places to gauge the public’s reception. And that reception was great. We heard things like: “What is it?” and “I want one.” We even had cars stop us on the other side of the road to find out what it was and where to buy it.
I took a devilish joy overtaking our CNG street-cleaning machine followed by highly ineffective SUV city vehicles giving out tickets to parked cars. Long Beach used to have a fleet of Toyota Priuses — that’s Prii, but no one remembers — some of which were converted to plug-in hybrids (PHEV). That was over a decade ago. Today, the city uses SUVs for stop-and-go ticket dispensing. How about buying a fleet of Arcimoto’s efficient FUVs for Long Beach instead?
Yes, the FUV is finally out and it costs $19,900. Mark Fronhmeyer tells me the price can only drop as demand picks up, which I’m sure it will.
I’m not the only one who fell in love with Arcimoto. Nathan Fillion, who flawlessly led the Serenity band of mismatch mercenaries through another galaxy, also fell in love with it. That must mean I have good taste. Let me believe this. I’m also honored to see my grimaces and wild enthusiasm made Mark laugh enough to include them in their official video. And if I can add at this little level more excitement to an otherwise really exciting EV, then so be it.
The Arcimoto FUV is a perfect good-old American entrepreneurship story. They didn’t wait for speak-faster-than-act public figures. They just did it. It took a decade and I imagine it was worth every investor’s dime. The result is simply fun.