Imagine a ride with the open-air freedom of a motorcycle but the overhead frame of a car. Now put it on three wheels, ride in it silence and plug it in when the day is done.
This is the premise of the Arcimoto FUV, the latest innovation in the burgeoning mobility segment, and a direct competitor to the Polaris Slingshot.
The three-wheeled Arcimoto electric motorcycle seats two, has a 70- or 130-mile range, hits 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and has a top speed of 80 mph. When production ramps up to scale next year, the price will range from just under $12,000 to about $19,500.
"We use a tool meant to carry seven people 300 miles to take one person 3 miles," said Mark Frohnmayer, founder and president of Oregon-based Arcimoto. "Driving is not fun to a vast majority of people commuting. It's a huge hassle to find parking, to navigate the congestion. So Arcimoto is a right-sized solution to the problem of mobility."
A sort-of roll cage extends overhead from the long front windshield to the tail, so the only wind is coming from the side of the FUV, which stands for "fun utility vehicle." There are available hard and soft shells for all-season riding, as well as optional doors. Operationally, it's similar to a motorcycle.
Three-wheel motorcycles are nothing new, but they have been a bright spot of growth in the declining motorcycle segment. Prized for their stability and safety while still providing the open road fun of a motorcycle, the Polaris Slingshot and it competitors by Can-Am, Harley-Davidson and others are not just giving aging riders an alternative, but courting a new generation of buyers who don't want all the trappings of a traditional vehicle.
Arcimoto, Frohnmayer said, is taking that a step further, marketing to young urbanites looking for a simple thrill and the convenience of parking in spots where cars can't fit.
It also could be used as a resort vehicle similar to the golf cart, or for fleet purposes at institutions such as college campuses.
By the end of 2019, Arcimoto plans to be producing 200 FUVs a week out of its Eugene factory. It's legal in all 50 states, and has a standard Level 1 charger and a 220V Level 2 charge capability.