Move Over SUV, Arcimoto Prepares to Launch World’s First “Fun Utility Vehicle”
The electric vehicle (EV) evolution is unfolding right before our eyes. Analysts may not be crazy about Tesla coming up short on deliveries in the latest quarter, but the fact that the company sold 90,600 vehicles during the fourth quarter speaks to steadily growing demand. Auto makers worldwide see the writing on the wall; that’s why some have initiatives to phase out gas-powered vehicles in the coming years.
To that end, analysts at ReportLinker see the global EV market climbing at a 11% compound annual growth rate to reach $127.7 billion from 2017 to 2022.
The industry veterans at Arcimoto were way ahead of the movement, with an emphasis on catalyzing the shift to sustainable transportation by building an affordable and fun all-electric vehicle for day trips. The company has spent more than a decade building eight iterations of its design and it now gearing up to initiate production and a launch of its ultra-efficient cars that it has dubbed a FUV® (Fun Utility Vehicle®).
The mission is to replace the bloated gas-guzzling, emissions-belching tons of steel used for short trips with an efficient vehicle with manageable costs after the purchase price, which only rings in around $12,000 to start. The FUV isn’t any slouch compared to peers at much higher prices, with up to 130-mile range, reaching a top speed of 80 miles per hour and going from 0-60 in 7.5 seconds.
Other features of the three-wheel EV include dual-motor front wheel drive, a low center of gravity to hug the road, two battery pack options, tandem seating, modular storage and an option for a clear or solid roof.
Thanks to a recent financing that raised $4.5 million, Arcimoto is positioned to take the next step with the semi-automated production of its first retail vehicles. Demand is building up for Arcimoto, with founder Mark Frohnmayer saying last month that there are 3,250 customer pre-orders on the books.
The company is setting up hubs to showcase and rent its novel vehicles. The first was opened in the historic Whiteaker neighborhood in the company’s hometown of Eugene, Oregon. By letting potential customers rent an FUV, albeit for an hour or a full day, management believes the challenge of introducing next-generation vehicles will be overcome.
A second hub rental location is being opened on Tenth Avenue in San Diego, California. This location will be operated jointly by Arcimoto and its San Diego-based partner, HULA Holdings. The rental model not only provides for brand awareness, but it creates partnering opportunities around the world to drive new sales channels.
According to Arcimoto, the pre-orders for its first FUV represent about $49 million in expected sales. That’s nothing to sneeze at for a company currently with a market capitalization around $46 million.
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