Arcimoto Inc., an electric vehicle manufacturer, has big plans for urban driving with the SRK, a fully-electric vehicle. The vehicle is in beta-testing phase, but once it is launched the company plans to offer traditional lease options, more innovative ride share solutions, and is lobbying Congress for the benefit of emissions tax credits.
But first, Auto Finance News took the three-wheeled vehicle on a test drive.
Driving through midtown Manhattan in Arcimoto’s SRK turned a lot of heads and provoked a lot of curiosity. As we weaved through traffic with the company’s business development lead Jesse Fittipaldi directing from the back seat, we heard the quick burst of a police siren.
Just as we thought we were about to get pulled over and ticketed during a test drive, the large NYPD SUV pulled up beside us and the officer yelled over, “What is that thing?” Fittipaldi explained it’s an all electric vehicle that can go from 0-to-60 in 7.5 seconds with a top speed of 80 mph, and a range of 70 miles on one charge. That all sounded good to the officer, but the question loomed — how much does it cost?
“$11,900,” Fittipaldi told the officer, who responded enthusiastically, “Wow! That’s not bad.” The light turned green and we sped off without a ticket.
“Tesla and General Motors are building (electric) cars … they are really good at taking five to seven people hundreds of miles at a time,” Mark Frohnmayer, president of Arcimoto, told AFN. “We’re looking at solving a different problem, which is how do you take one or two people to work, to the grocery store, to the gym, in the most efficient way we can, in the most fun way we can.”
The base model SRK sells at $11,900 before incentives kick in, however, it’s unclear at this time what those incentives will be since emissions tax credits tend to benefit vehicles with a longer range, such as competition from Tesla Motors, Inc.’s Model 3 or General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Bolt — both of which aim for a range of more than 200 miles. Although this is currently one of the only electric vehicles that doesn’t qualify for a federal tax credit, the company just concluded a trip to Washington D.C. to lobby for inclusion in EV incentives.
Once Acrimoto inks deals with outside lenders, consumers could have a vehicle that comfortably gets them around the city for a monthly payment that’s not much more than a cell phone bill, Frohnmayer said.
That future is still a ways down the road. Right now, the company says it’s simply working on finishing the final model that will come off the line and getting it into the hands of early adopters willing to write a check in full for an SRK off the lot. Until that happens, Arcimoto says outside lenders are a little hesitant to ink a deal, largely because it’s still such a new class of vehicle.
Arcimoto says its range of 70 miles is more than double the national average of 33 miles driven per day, which makes the SRK a strong contender for use in both commercial ridesharing services as well as selling directly to consumers.
“The cost drivers for those businesses is how much does it cost to park it? And how much does it cost to refuel it? And in both of those cases we beat out other electric cars by a wide margin,” Frohnmayer says. “So for commercial ride sharing services it makes a lot of sense, but it also makes sense if you and your neighbors want to have a shared vehicle that can be use as part of a collaborative.”
Pre orders are on sale now for a refundable $100 deposit. Early adopters can expect production of the vehicle to begin later this year, but mass production won’t ramp up until early 2017, the company says.
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