My Arcimoto pre-order number of #129 shows that I've been following the ups and downs of the company for many years.
Recently Arcimoto sent me an email with an enticing image of the Evergreen Edition FUV (Fun Utility Vehicle) that's being offered for sale to 100 people with low numbers on the pre-order list who live in Oregon, Washington, and California. (I live in Salem, Oregon.)
But I've decided to pass on plunking down a $5,000 deposit on the $19,900 Evergreen Edition, with delivery promised by June 2019. Here's my reasons, roughly ranging from most important to least important.
(1) My wife hates the idea of me buying one. This isn't an absolute deal-killer, since my wife also heartily disliked me buying a Suzuki Burgman 650 maxi-scooter, which I happily rode for three years.
However, she correctly considers that an Arcimoto FUV is considerably more dangerous than driving a car -- though certainly less dangerous than riding a two-wheeled motorcycle. (The FUV is classed as a three-wheeled motorcycle, albeit one with seat belts and some other car'ish amenities.)
(2) No compelling reason to buy a FUV. I'm always looking for more fun. Though I haven't driven a FUV yet, I'm sure it's fun to zip around in. However, so is my VW GTI. And it is much more practical than a FUV.
I can go grocery shopping in the GTI and lock my car when I go from store to store. I can take our dog along. If it rains, I don't get wet. If it snows, I don't get cold. The FUV lacks the fun-factor of a motorcycle, while also lacking the features that make my GTI both considerably safer and more useable, given my daily transportation needs.
(3) I can buy a FUV later. I appreciate Arcimoto allowing early pre-order customers like me to pass on the Evergreen Edition while keeping their place in line for an opportunity to purchase a subsequent model. So there isn't a reason to jump at this buying opportunity, since I can always purchase a FUV later.
(4) The maximum range has dropped. We live in rural south Salem, about seven miles from the city limits, with hills in-between us and town. I was interested in getting the extended range FUV model when Arcimoto said it would have a 130 mile range. But now the reported maximum range is 100 miles.
My wife and I have owned a Nissan Leaf and have leased three Chevy Volts. So I'm familiar with how the range of electric vehicles drops in cold weather and going up hills. A 100 mile range might be enough, but I'd much prefer a FUV with a longer range -- which could be available one day.
(5) Lack of long-term reviews. Over the years I've engaged in some email exchanges with Arcimoto staff where I express my questions and concerns, and they reply to me. Here's a verbatim exchange I had in August 2018 where I quoted from a blog post I'd written, "Arcimoto should get some long-term reviews before retail sales begin."
I said: Hey, it never hurts to ask. What I'm asking for in this blog post is for Arcimoto to arrange for an independent long-term review of their vehicle -- "long-term" being at least a few weeks, and ideally a few months.
Nothing like this exists at the moment. I've watched lots of videos of people taking a quick test drive. However, I'd like to know what it's like to drive an Arcimoto in the cold and wet, and at nighttime on a dark hilly twisty road (I live in the rural south Salem hills), plus in a variety of other conditions.
Maybe this won't be possible by the time retail sales begin around the end of 2018. I just would find it really helpful if Arcimoto loaned a beta vehicle to a Eugene journalist for a lengthy "get to know you" period, during which the journalist would blog about their experiences, summing it all up in an online report.
A staff person replied: Great suggestions, so thanks for taking the time to do that. We agree, we want to get long-term reviews on the docket, and it's in the plan once we have more vehicles available.
Well, I'm not aware of any long-term reviews. Yes, a few people have reported on their purchase of earlier FUV models, but these descriptions are hard to find.
Arcimoto gives lots of short test drives, as noted in my blog post. What I'm looking for, though, is what magazines like Car & Driver do: use a new vehicle for several days or longer, then tell readers its pluses and minuses.
Since Arcimoto has chosen not to have any long-term reviews available before asking prospective buyers to fork out $5,000 for a deposit on the Evergreen Edition, this is another reason why I'm not going to buy one.
(6) Questions remain unanswered. In a November 2018 blog post I discussed several questions that I wanted answers to before I'd feel comfortable buying a FUV. To my knowledge, most remain to be answered.
I'm fine taking a leap into the unknown in some instances, but not when a product costs $19,900.
For instance, I'm still not aware of how Arcimoto plans to handle servicing, repair, and warranty issues. Who, specifically, is going to take care of FUVs bought by people here in Salem, Oregon? Arcimoto continues to say they are working on a servicing network. That isn't good enough for me.
I'll end by saying that I'm still a believer in Arcimoto and the FUV. Someday I hope to own one. There's a lot to like about the FUV. Our Chevy Volt sucks up the electricity in our Level 2 charging unit, so it'd be nice for me to have a small electric vehicle that could be charged on 110V.
I'd just like more range, and more information -- as noted above. I'm rooting for Arcimoto to succeed, and will be paying close attention to how buyers of the Evergreen Edition enjoy their purchase.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention another reason. There's something strange about Arcimoto spending from now until June to build only 100 Evergreen Edition FUVs. This strikes me as being close to another "beta" test vehicle, though I could be wrong about this.
But if this is the final FUV design, why are so few vehicles being made over the next four months? The low number of FUVs to be built caused me to worry that if I bought this model, a new and improved model would come out soon, and I'd be stuck with the Evergreen Edition.