I've got an early pre-order number, #129, for the Arcimoto FUV (Fun Utility Vehicle), a three-wheeled electric vehicle that's classified as a motorcycle, yet has some desirable car-like features: seat belts, rollover protection, crumple zones, a roof.
The title of my previous post from early July, "I've got both Arcimoto anticipation and anxiety," reflected my generally positive attitude toward this unique vehicle, and also some concerns.
Since, I've given more thought to the pros and cons of becoming an Arcimoto owner. I still haven't driven one, but I've come up with three good reasons why buying an Arcimoto makes sense for me -- and also for other people.
As a preface to those reasons, if the Arcimoto was a Hollywood movie "pitch," it would go something like this:
The Arcimoto is the love child of a three-way coupling between a motorcycle, an electric vehicle, and a sporty car.
Now, as noted in my previous post, I'm familiar with all of those Arcimoto parents.
I've owned both a motorcycle and, more recently, a Suzuki Burgman 650 maxi-scooter. For about a year my wife and I owned an all-electric Nissan Leaf, and we currently have a semi-electric Chevy Volt. I've owned a BMW 325 ix, a Mini Cooper S, and, currently, a VW GTI -- all super-fun cars to drive.
So even though I haven't had a test drive in an Arcimoto yet, I believe I have a pretty good idea of what it will feel like, given my experience with electric cars, two-wheeled motorcycles/scooters, and good handling cars.
This leads me to the three good reasons an Arcimoto likely will find its way into our carport in rural south Salem, Oregon, before too long. (We live about an hour north of Eugene, which is Arcimoto world headquarters.)
(1) It is considerably safer than a motorcycle. There's nothing more fun to drive than a motorcycle or scooter. Also, nothing more dangerous. A three-wheeled motorcycle like the Arcimoto trades some fun for some safety. As noted above, motorcycles don't have seat belts, rollover protection, crumple zones, or a roof.
A main reason why I sold my Burgman 650 scooter was that I didn't like wearing protective clothing, boots, and a helmet whenever I got on it. Yes, you see motorcycle riders in shorts and a t-shirt, but that isn't smart. Not at any age, and particularly at my age (69).
Like a motorcycle, the Arcimoto offers an open-air feel, plus it has a full windshield and transparent roof. I've experienced riding a motorcycle and scooter, so I know the drawbacks of them. The Arcimoto has key motorcycle plus'es, without the minus'es.
(2) It is more fun than a car. I say this with confidence, because I've watched lots of videos of people test-driving an Arcimoto. Also, I have one of the most fun cars to drive, a VW GTI. I can't say anything bad about the GTI fun-wise, aside from this inescapable fact:
It's a car. Motorcycle riders call cars "cages" because that's what they are, even a convertible to a large extent. You simply don't have the open-air experience with a car that you'd have with an Arcimoto.
I'm speaking of an Arcimoto without doors, or with quarter panel doors. A fully enclosed Arcimoto will be offered, but that doesn't appeal much to me, even though I live in often cold, rainy Oregon. I want the feeling of being in the elements. If it's cold, I'd wear a jacket; hot, I'd wear shorts.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about my scooter was how the world was right there.
Even pulling up behind a diesel bus was pleasurable, because the experience was real. Ditto with coming to a stop at an intersection and seeing cyclists, pedestrians, whoever and whatever. All that was right there. I look forward to recapturing that feeling with an Arcimoto.
(3) It's as green as any other electric vehicle. I'm a firm believer in human-caused global warming. I know that we have to reduce carbon emissions. Driving an electric vehicle appeals to me, even though the Nissan Leaf didn't meet our needs, for reasons I described here.
I don't think the Arcimoto makes sense as someone's only means of transportation.
At least, it doesn't make sense for me. We have a dog. I do our weekly family grocery shopping and need a lockable, fully enclosed vehicle for that. But well over half of my trips into town (we live about six miles from the Salem city limits) involve just me driving the VW GTI by myself, with minimal storage needs.
For those trips, an Arcimoto would suit me fine.
And with the larger battery, I'd have up to 130 miles of range. Our experience with the Nissan Leaf, which had a comparable range, was that cold weather driving reduced the range considerably. But even so, most of my trips into town and back are under 30 miles, so that leaves a lot of leeway.
So I look forward to Arcimoto getting into full production. They still are in "beta" mode, so I'm hoping that the final production vehicle will be even better than the current version -- which already is pretty darn good.