One of the big appeals of Arcimoto is rightsizing. Rightsizing means optimizing transportation resources, such as vehicles and infrastructure, to match the actual needs of the people and goods that need to be moved. For example, an e-bike or electric motorcycle can move a commuter using far less energy and space than a pickup truck. This means not only lower environmental impact, but less energy use that leaves renewable energy available for other things. It also means saving money, and who doesn’t want to save money?
Most conversations about transportation rightsizing center around the needs of cities and the people who live in them, but the benefits are just as real in any transportation situation. Given that most people live in cities these days, the urbanism angle will always be important, but we need to be sure to look elsewhere and find ways to benefit from the concept, too.
So, when I came across a recent press release from Arcimoto about serving the needs of the military, it piqued my interest. Recently, the company partnered with MATBOCK, a veteran-owned business specializing in hybrid-electric tactical vehicles and innovative tactical gear. According to the press release, MATBOCK is a prominent leader in the military and law enforcement industry for over a decade. With a track record of introducing over 300 innovative products, they have proven their commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions.
This collaboration focuses on supplying electrical systems architecture and energy storage systems for the development of hybrid-electric tactical vehicles.
Tactical vehicles sounds like something far from Aricomoto’s normal business model, but as I already explained, the benefits of rightsizing can apply almost anywhere. Government entities might look like they’re bad at spending money (perhaps because they’re stashing away some of it for black programs), but they have to always be looking for ways to be more efficient and deliver more with what they have. If they don’t do that, other militaries might outperform them.
The partnership enables MATBOCK to prioritize paradigm-shifting technology by supplying American-made technologies for specific U.S. Department of Defense operations. In 2022, MATBOCK introduced its tactical electric vehicle program, incorporating cutting-edge battery, propulsion, and exportable power solutions.
“The shift to electric vehicles is underway, not just in the consumer industry, but also in the military sector,” said Chris Dawson, Chief Executive Officer, Arcimoto. “This partnership builds upon the adoption of electric vehicle technology on the battlefield. We’re looking forward to working with MATBOCK to assist the military’s efforts to improve tactical capabilities and operational efficiencies through the adoption of American-made green energy technology.”
MATBOCK has improved the performance and operational range of its products by incorporating Arcimoto’s electric systems architecture and energy storage systems. This integration also enhances on-board and off-platform power availability while improving overall efficiency. Additionally, MATBOCK will utilize Arcimoto’s supply chain, reducing the need for global material sourcing.
“I am thrilled to announce our partnership with Arcimoto, a visionary company that shares our commitment to innovation, sustainability, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible,” said MATBOCK President Zach Steinbock. “Together, we are poised to reshape industries and redefine possibilities, merging our expertise in cutting-edge technology and design. This collaboration marks a new chapter in both our journeys, and we’re excited to accelerate progress towards a more efficient and exciting future.”
How This Helps Arcimoto
One thing the press release won’t tell you is that Arcimoto is struggling. Despite the industry boom in the electric vehicle market, Arcimoto has found it challenging to stay afloat and maintain financial stability.
A fellow writer here (and I use the word “fellow” very loosely) described the situation, and the situation of other three-wheeled vehicles, as “sliding into the abyss” in January, and basically said that anyone writing favorably about them must be getting paid to do so (for the record, I have never received anything but some 3D-printed toy cars from any of these companies and only write about them because I think they’re neat). He was right that they were struggling financially to sell something that historically has not sold well, though.
But, just the next month, some of the companies managed to grab a root that was hanging on the edge of said abyss, and climb back out. I’m no financial writer, and you should never come to me for financial advice, but it seems most of them are still alive and kicking in some form now 6 months later, but that doesn’t mean they’re anything close to a guaranteed future success story.
The good news for Arcimoto here is that this deal (of undisclosed amounts and timeframes) moves it at least a step away from the abyss, which means its peacetime efforts to sell fun three-wheeled rightsized vehicles for urban and suburban drivers is just a little closer to long-term survival.
We all hate war, but if selling parts for warfighting vehicles is what keeps Arcimoto’s urbanist mission afloat, it’s hard to complain. At least the wasteful nature of military and government spending is sending some of the waste heat to power something good.
That Sounds Very Vague. What Exactly Are They Building?
Arcimoto and MATBOCK aren’t going to tell us what they’re building, but I can make a semi-educated guess here. It’s probably going to be small logistical vehicles and go-kart-like fighting vehicles.
While today’s military vehicles and military-esque SUVs on the streets are getting bigger and bigger, don’t forget how small the old GP (pronounced “Jeep”) from World War II was.
Really, the little 15-horsepower Jeep wasn’t much different from something Arcimoto would build today. But, a little electric vehicle has the added benefit of not needing hundreds or thousands of miles of vulnerable supply line behind it to keep it fueled up and running. Instead, militaries could lay out a few solar panels at a camp or temporary base and charge the thing up using the sun, and then use that solar power to move beans, bullets, and band-aids around.
Even today, e-bikes in Ukraine are proving that independently-powered small vehicles can have a very stealthy and mobile impact on warfare, including shoot-and-scoot operations involving rifles and anti-tank missiles.
So, there’s a lot of opportunity for a company like MATBOCK to use Arcimoto’s parts and technology for militaries.
Featured image: Arcimoto’s vehicles. Image provided by Arcimoto.
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