Electric vehicle maker Arcimoto is entering the commercial vehicle market with its first electric, on-road Modular Utility Vehicle.
Arcimoto’s Modular Utility Vehicle (MUV) is the company’s first commercial utility vehicle, following its predecessor the Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV), designed for the powersports industry and light-duty deliveries. The MUV is designed for last-mile delivery and short trips, Acrimoto Chief Executive Chris Dawson told Equipment Finance News.
Arcimoto offers fleet purchases and financing for the MUV, Dawson said, but declined to name lenders, noting the company is looking to expand its fleet financing options.
“Arcimoto is designing this right-sized, efficient vehicle and really trying to look at solving 90% of drives right now,” Dawson said. He said 90% of trips “are one or two people, limited cargo, average trip is about 3 miles, and average total distance for the day is 35 miles.”
The MUV is a departure from the company’s powersports roots, Dawson said.
“We’ve always looked at this from a utility perspective, and not quite from a powersports perspective, though that’s where we’ve made the most headway,” he said. “You’ve got to meet the customers where they’re at, so a lot of our initial purchases, which we have 600-plus happy customers currently nationwide, they’ve driven over a million miles cumulatively.”
Arcimoto’s Deliverator and FUV models are seeing applications in the last-mile delivery and courier spaces in New York City through the company’s partnership with delivery platform JOCO, Dawson said.
While older models provide more light-duty delivery, the modular design of the MUV allows for more customization, which results in applications for a variety of industries, including delivery, transportation and construction.
“The utility has been there, but we took some feedback from customers … solved their actual problems, and that’s why we rolled forward with the flatbed,” Dawson said.
“We built that flatbed into a modular design to also accept that modular, squared, off-load space and we have more implements coming that will interface with that,” Dawson said. “We want to be able to provide one piece of capital equipment that within 10 minutes can swap in a flatbed functionality, modulate load space functionality.
Electrification’s modular future
Arcimoto views the MUV and other modular utility vehicles as the future of electric vehicles in the commercial vehicle space.
“This modular nature of electrification is the future,” Dawson said. “We’re going to see it in commercial [vehicles], we’re going to see it on these smaller hubs and spoke, retail powersports type applications as well.”
The modular emphasis will lead to more adoption of electric vehicles, with increased functionality making the vehicles a tool that more industries can utilize, Dawson said.
“We haven’t had the ability to be truly modular until the proliferation of electrification, and so as soon as we figure it out … that’s how we’ll drive a full level of adoption,” he said. “The modern vehicle right now is a Swiss army knife, which means it does a lot of things and doesn’t do any of them particularly well.”
Modular utility vehicles can utilize attachments and implements, similar to other vehicles in the commercial space, Dawson said.
“Utility vehicles [with] modularity … do exactly what you need them to,” he said. “When you want to add functionality, you’re not buying [another] vehicle, you’ll simply either design and build your own implement, or source through upfitters that will start to develop different pieces that will integrate with [the vehicle], much like a tractor out on the farm.”