I've been a long-time fan of Arcimoto, a company based in Eugene, fifty miles south of Salem, where I live.
Arcimoto makes the FUV (Fun Utility Vehicle), a three-wheeled semi-enclosed electric sort-of-motorcycle. In Oregon you don't have to wear a helmet while driving it, so it's a unique blend of a car and motorcycle.
I've been following the fortunes of Arcimoto for a long time. Heck, this blog even has an "Arcimoto" category with ten posts in it, including this one. As I said in my first post back in July 2018, I've got both Arcimoto anticipation and anxiety:
I must have been among the first to do this, since my reservation number is #129, and I believe they total more than 2,700 now.
Over the years I've come close to ordering a FUV, but I never did. Something always bothered me about Arcimoto.
Lack of usable real-world driving range, since I live six miles from Salem in a rural area with some large hills between me and town, and the FUV range is 102 miles in the city and considerably less in non-city driving. Lack of local servicing. Lack of long-term reviews. Lack of free delivery (last I knew, I'd have to pay $1,000 to get a FUV delivered). And crucially, lack of evidence that Arcimoto was a viable company.
I wanted to see some solid evidence that Arcimoto was going to survive before plunking down around $20,000 for a FUV, a large increase from the $12,000 that the FUV originally was supposed to sell for. I had no interest in being one of the people who bought a FUV just before Arcimoto went out of business.
Which looks like it could happen fairly soon.
On January 17, Arcimoto announced a $12 million public offering at $3 a share. Not surprisingly, since Arcimoto stock was trading around $6 at the time, the price of Arcimoto sank like a stone to well below $3.
Now, maybe the $12 million will buy Arcimoto time to figure out how to make the company survive. But the offering prospectus said that production has halted at the newly constructed Eugene manufacturing facility, and lots of employees have been laid off. An Oregonian story tells the sorry tale.
Shares in electric vehicle manufacturer Arcimoto plunged Wednesday after the company announced it has shut down production at its Eugene factory because it is nearly out of money.
Arcimoto moved to sell $12 million in additional shares at $3 each – less than half of Tuesday’s closing price. The stock plunged nearly 60% in morning trading, to $2.51.
“We have halted our production of vehicles and will require substantial additional funding to resume production,” Arcimoto warned in a regulatory filing accompanying the stock offering. The company warned that financing may not be available on any terms, and if not, “we will be required to cease our operations and/or seek bankruptcy protection.”
Arcimoto makes a three-wheel electric motorcycle it calls the Fun Utility Vehicle, or FUV. It was briefly among Oregon’s most highly publicized young companies, with a market value that peaked above $1 billion in 2021. The company is now worth less than $7 million.
Arcimoto struggled against supply chain issues as its new factory opened last year, and it’s never been clear that its FUVs have mass-market appeal.
Arcimoto laid off 50 and furloughed another 66 employees last fall to cut costs. But that hasn’t been enough. Subsequent financial filings revealed the company’s bank account has frequently been close to empty and it’s had to sell additional shares to stay afloat, diluting existing investors’ stake. Arcimoto had 250 employees at the end of 2021, the last period for which it has reported workforce figures.
Among the tumult, the company abruptly replaced founder and CEO Mark Frohnmayer last year after his arrest for driving one of Arcimoto’s vehicles while intoxicated.
The company produced just 252 over the most recent six months for which Arcimoto reported results and delivered just 115 to customers.
For the third quarter, which ended in September, Arcimoto reported $2 million in revenue. The company lost $17 million during the period.
Arcimoto said in October it was seeking “strategic alternatives,” employing a euphemism companies use when they put their business up for sale. But no buyer has emerged for the rapidly dwindling business.
So $12 million isn't going to last very long when the company has been losing $17 million a quarter. I still like the looks of the FUV. If someone gave me one, I'd happily drive it around. But there's no way I'd buy a FUV when Arcimoto is on such a shaky financial footing.
I'm just glad that I wasn't one of the people who bought Arcimoto stock when the shares were flying high. Now they've come back to earth with a resounding thud. This is the one year price history.