Electric vehicle startup Arcimoto has a pretty ambitious plan that involves selling the public on a three-wheeled, semi-enclosed contraption that nets 80 miles on a single charge, and starts at just $12,000. The startup’s founder, Mark Frohnmayer, dropped by our office recently to show off his creation—dubbed the Fun Utility Vehicle—and explain why he thinks there’s a suitable market for it.
In a world chockfull of overly-ambitious startups, Frohnmayer seemed even-keeled, fully-aware that it’s a gargantuan task to build a car company from the ground up. But while it requires drivers making some sacrifices—namely, adjusting to such a barebones vehicle—Oregon-based Arcimoto is trying to accomplish what others in the industry have yet to do: Sell a super-affordable all-electric vehicle.
That’s what Tesla, General Motors, Nissan, and more, have all tried to do. Sure, the $20,000-$30,000 price-point, with a $7,500 tax rebate to boot (in some cases), makes the Model 3 or the Bolt EV affordable, but not at the price of Arcimoto’s F.U.V.
Frohnmayer’s realistic about the market for the F.U.V. Is it a likely contender to be the only car in a household that has just one vehicle for everyone? Probably not. But for a two-vehicle household, it starts to make sense: You have something for long-distance jaunts, and then there’s the F.U.V., which can handle an 80 mph max speed for some highway work, while being more than capable of handling small daily commutes. (Most people on average drive 30-40 miles per day as it is.)
While the business case for such a quirky vehicle may seem fuzzy now, we did have some fun cruising around Manhattan in it. So at least the name makes sense.