We Go to the Opening of the Arcimoto Manufacturing Plant (AMP)
Nov 11, 2017

I think full-sized cars are wasteful for about 95% of their use - commuting, specifically. I would like an option where I could have a much smaller, much cheaper, way to do my day-to-day operations while still being able to have a car for long trips. I first learned of 3-wheeled options with the Elio, and even went to see one when it came near by. Sadly, the Elio has turned out to be a total scam, something to be tossed in the trash along with the Dale and the Aptera.

Now there might be something different - something real - from Arcimoto. Arcimoto's focus on making an electric vehicle is the right direction. I began loosely following them, even interviewed with them in 2015. Man, I hadn't been around so many smart, talented, people since I'd worked at Intel. They didn't hire me - which should testify to their intelligence - and I went back to lurking: waiting, watching, hoping.

I finally gave up on the Elio and anyone ever making a 3-wheeler, so I bought a motorcycle. As much as I love my little Rocinante, I was very happy to hear Arcimoto was moving to the next phase: Opening their manufacturing plant - the AMP. I sent in an RSVP and convinced Keely to come with me - and this is the rest of the story.

Keely likes beading, so we stopped by Mona Beads there in Eugene. This really is an excellent bead shop (that's Mona there, talking to one of the 90+ local artists she showcases.)

When we got to the manufacturing site, we were kinda shocked at how many cars there were. We had to park way down the street.

They had a photo booth as we entered. Of course, we made use of it.

The next thing we saw what their BFL - a big laser they will use to cut parts. They said it will have the capacity to cut the parts for 28,000 Arcimoto vehicles a year. It had just arrived a day or two before.

Nicely sized facility, maybe a quarter or so of the 1/2 million sqft warehouse I work in. There was a good-sized crowd too. As Keely and I talked to people, we came to realize there was a lot of money in that room - a LOT of money.

Arcimoto believes in "iterative design" You start with something, see what works and what doesn't. Their first version of the SRK (Simple, Responsible, Kick-Ass) was a little single seater. Personally, I would have bought one, but for Mark Frohnmayer and his team, it wasn't enough. No enough to revolutionize transportation.

They went through lots of iterations - always trying to make it simpler, more functional, easier to manufacture. For the last version of the SRK (sorry, no pic), they made a major change from a steering wheel to motorcycle-style handlebars. I would have loved to be in on those meetings - yes, it makes the machine lighter and easier to manufacture, but . . . what a shift in customer appeal. Those meetings must have been fun.

Swag table. I successfully resisted.

This was a big event and I think they did it right - they invited 4 or 5 local food trucks and had a bar for local wines and microbrews (prices were very reasonable.) I love this "Sammitch" truck (though it is properly spelled 'sammich.')

I got a couple minutes with Mr. Frohnmayer. I even gave him the t-shirt I got when I registered for an Elio. That T-shirt . . . man, what a cheap piece of garbage. To me, it was a symbol of what people like me have to be wary of when looking at new ideas and technologies. I wanted the Elio to be true so badly I ignored every warning sign and allowed myself to be suckered. Mark Twain had a good saying about at least one of the difficulties Arcimoto faces: “If a cat sits on a hot stove, that cat won't sit on a hot stove again. That cat won't sit on a cold stove either. That cat just don't like stoves.”

They did a nice set of speeches, then unveiled the FUV - Fun Utility Vehicle, what the SRK became when it leveled-up.

Sorry about the photo quality, but this thing is purty! Rear view shows the luggage shelf.

The base model is open-sided, there is a door option.

You can't really see it in this picture, but there is an integrated 110V charging cord - step out, pull out the cord, and plug it in.

That's a nice front view. Notice the windshield wiper to the left of the windshield? That's a really big thing for narrow windshields. And it is something Elio never solved.

There is no fish-eye on this camera. That bulged perspective you are seeing is a design feature. Should the FUV get knocked on it's side, the bowed-out stanchions of the frame will help keep your head from hitting the ground. Also notice the 4-point seatbelts. Safety is a huge consideration for any rational vehicle manufacturer.

This vehicle is the first of 6 to be produced - Arcimoto's "Signature Series" of the FUV. It probably has features not found on base models - like the heated seats. Also notice the electronic parking brake. Nice.

We stopped by the "Inspiration Wall" on the way out. Since my handwriting looks like vomited spaghetti, I wasn't about to write anything. Keely, however, has excellent handwriting.

Somehow, she managed to put her statement next to a quote by Nathan Fillion, one of her favorite actors. Hmmm.

And that's it. I have nothing but high hopes for these guys. We are at an inflection point in history, and Keely and I were there to see the start of it.