SAN FRANCISCO (CIRCA) - What is a car to you? Is it a luxury ride around town? Is it something to haul all your stuff? Or is it simply a way to get from point A to point B?
Depending on your answer, the new, all-electric three-wheeler from Arcimoto, called the "FUV," or "Fun Utility Vehicle," could make sense as your next car:
Sure, with handlebars instead of a steering wheel, roll bars instead of doors and three fewer seats, Arcimoto’s new ride isn’t a "car" in the traditional sense. But, starting at just $11,900, it's a fraction of the size, weight, energy consumption and price of most new sedans you’ll find on roads today, which also makes it a super-efficient alternative.
"About 76 percent of Americans commute alone, another 10 percent with another person," said Arcimoto founder and president Mark Frohnmayer. "[The FUV] is designed to match the typical vehicle usage pattern of the vast majority of drivers."
"We’re shooting to be about double the efficiency of a typical electric car, let alone about 10 times as efficient as the average gas-powered vehicle."
Falling into that application are an 80-mph top speed and a battery range of 70 miles per charge, specs that are both lower than those of your typical electric car, again for the sake of efficiency.
"We’re shooting to be about double the efficiency of a typical electric car, let alone about 10 times as efficient as the average gas-powered vehicle," explained Frohnmayer.
"Compare $4 a gallon at whatever MPG your car gets to 1 to 2 cents a gallon to charge this up."
The FUV will have some optional upgrades that make it feel a bit more like a car -- doors and air conditioning, for example -- but those will cost extra.
But of course, the job of Arcimoto's new vehicle is less about mimicking a car and more about serving as a smaller-footprinted, cheaper and fun (as the FUV name would suggest) alternative to getting around. In our test drive, that felt accurate.
Arcimoto’s FUV has been 11 years in the making, but the company is finally preparing a full retail launch in the final quarter of 2018, making good on the goal that Frohnmayer made after Arcimoto went public last year to become only the second NASDAQ-traded, all-electric vehicle company in the country.
"I very much see Tesla and Arcimoto as complimentary in the marketplace."
The first: Tesla, which Frohnmayer is quick to point out is not a rival.
"I very much see Tesla and Arcimoto as complimentary in the marketplace," he said. "They make fantastic cars, some of the best cars in the world, the safest, the longest-range electric cars. We’re trying to solve for the other 80 percent of vehicle trips."