Sep 24, 2021 - Energy & Environment

What we're driving: Arcimoto FUV

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Joann tooling around town in Arcimoto's FUV. Video: Bill Rapai for Axios

I've spent the past week on a joyride, tooling around town in a crazy-fun, three-wheeled mashup between an electric car and a motorcycle — an "autocycle" if you will — called the Arcimoto FUV.

Why it matters: If this is the future of mobility, sign me up!

The big picture: Arcimoto, based in Eugene, Oregon, wants to lead a shift to sustainable transportation — cleaner, smaller vehicles that help reduce congestion and CO2 emissions.

  • The $17,900 FUV ("fun utility vehicle") is part of a family of electric trikes that share the same basic design. There's also the Deliverator, the Rapid Responder, the Flatbed and the Roadster.

Details: Like the Polaris Slingshot or CanAm Spyder, Arcimoto's FUV has two wheels in front and one in back.

  • It's small — about one-third the weight and one-third the size of a typical car — but it has a surprisingly roomy cargo compartment that can hold three bags of groceries.
  • It seats two people — one in front of the other, not side-by-side.
  • There's a see-through roof and a windshield, but the sides are open, with removable half-doors.

How it works: The battery sends power to an electric motor on each of the front wheels, providing the instant torque that makes driving it so much fun.

  • It's highway-legal and goes up to 75 miles per hour, Arcimoto says — but I stuck to local roads and felt like I was flying at 45 mph, to be honest.
  • The driving range is up to 102 miles in stop-and-go city driving, with regenerative braking that puts wasted energy back into the battery. The faster you go, the shorter your range.

My thought bubble: I work from home and don't really need my car as much as I used to. This seems like a hip and handy alternative for errands around town.

What to watch: The company says it has more than 4,000 "pre-orders" and has delivered 230 to date.

  • So far it's available in just four states: Washington, Oregon, California and Florida — with Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona and New York to be added soon.
  • It's also for rent in some tourist destinations like Key West, Florida, San Francisco and San Diego.

What's next: Arcimoto's goal is to scale production within the next couple of years with help from a loan under the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program.

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