Arcimoto FUV Production Starts

Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle - FUV
The electric powered Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV) is just starting retail production.

Oregon-based Arcimoto recently started production of their Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV) to meet pre-order demand for 4,100 vehicles. Technically a motorcycle, the FUV is an electric powered three-wheeled vehicle that seats two. Many states have a special classification for three wheeled vehicles and only require a regular driver’s license to operate the vehicle. The current FUV Evergreen edition costs $19,900 but the company hopes in the future that volume production will reduce base model pricing to $12,000 and possibly below $10,000.

Arcimoto FUV Specs

The Arcimoto FUV is essentially a trike with two wheels up front and one in the rear. Each wheel up front has an electric motor. The vehicle has a 19.2 kWh lithium ion battery pack for a range of just over 100 miles and a top speed of 75 mph. The FUV has handlebar steering with a twist throttle and finger activated regenerative braking. Foot operated hydraulic brakes on all three wheels augments the regenerative braking. Other specs include:

  • Removable doors
  • LCD display
  • Heated seats
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Two USB ports
  • Phone cradle
  • Lockable rear storage
  • Criss-cross seatbelts

The company is also developing a one person delivery vehicle and an emergency responder vehicle based on the same platform.

SVR’s Take

The Arcimoto FUV satisfies a need for a small, energy efficient vehicle that can be driven locally. Even though the FUV can operate at highway speeds I believe the sweet spot for the vehicle will be on roads up with speed limits up to 50 mph. Gated communities and vacation destinations that already allow low speed vehicles (LSVs) and golf cars will be a key market.

PTV Market

The problem with this market currently is that LSVs and golf cars can only go 20 to 25 mph and are often restricted to certain public roads based on speed limits and local ordinances. Classified as a motorcycle and with the power to operate at higher speeds, the FUV avoids this issue. This combination greatly increases the functionality of the FUV. The FUV with a speed limited setting can go from golf course to gated community to higher speed public roads. Therefore, the FUV is appropriate for a wider range of activities.

FUV Challenges

I currently see three main challenges that may limit the FUVs appeal. The first is consumer acceptance of driving a three-wheeled vehicle with handlebar steering. This is different than many consumer’s traditional driving experience. The second is price. The company should target the $10,000 to $13,000 price range to be competitive with LSVs, PTVs and golf cars. Although, the increased functionality of the vehicle is a mitigating factor that could allow for a pricing premium. The third is that the vehicle is only two passenger, so it may have limited appeal for families or larger groups.

Competitive Landscape

The FUV is a direct challenge to the LSVs and more importantly the personal transportation vehicles (PTVs) that have become a key growth market for the traditional golf car companies. The decline and stagnation in fleet golf car market has forced these companies to target the utility vehicle and PTV markets for growth. (LSVs have largely been relegated to college and corporate campuses with some personal transportation use.) This could become the classic case of the outsider coming in and disrupting a market.

Where are the golf companies?

There is no reason the golf car companies could not have developed this vehicle first and they certainly have the resources and time to create a vehicle of their own. However, in the past these companies have missed opportunities such as the utility vehicle market for which they were well positioned. In addition, the FUV could serve as an alternative to a second or third automobile for running local errands or short one or two person commuting.

What Does The Future Hold

It will be interesting to see what kind of uptake the consumer version has. Recreational vehicles like the Can-Am Spyder and Polaris Slingshot have not completely taken off and remained niche. However, they are more recreational and less of a practical and green transportation alternative than the FUV. I think the delivery version of the FUV might be the sleeper product. Given concerns about urban congestion, pollution and sustainability, these vehicles could become a popular option for last mile logistics in crowded cities. The urban environment could play to the vehicle’s strengths of smaller size and zero emission powertrain while mitigating weaknesses such as limited top speed and driving range.

Club Car Fuel Leak Recalls

Club Car Recall Summary

Club Car Onward 2 Passenger
One of the models Club Car is recall is the gas powered Onward.

Club Car recently announced a pair of recalls involving potential fuel leaks. The recalls apply to a range of models and includes approximately 12,000 vehicles in the US and Canada. The first recall includes Precedent, Tempo, Onward and Villager gas powered vehicles. Fuel can potentially leak from an improperly routed fuel line. In the second recall, gas powered Carryall 300, Transporter, Villager, Streetrod Lux and Streetrod Vintage vehicles may experience fuel leaks during low speed idling with a full gas tank. In both cases, owners should immediately stop using the vehicles and contact Club Car for a free repair.

The following are recall details from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

First Recall Details

Name of product: Club Car Precedent, Tempo, Onward and Villager model gas golf and transport vehicles

Hazard: Fuel can leak from an improperly-routed fuel line, posing fire and burn hazards.R

Recall date: August 19, 2019

Units: About 9,000 (In addition, about 2,000 were sold in Canada)

Description: This recall involves model year 2019 gas-powered Precedent, Tempo, Onward and Villager golf and transport vehicles, which are used for short-distance transportation. Vehicles with the following model and serial numbers are included in the recall. Serial numbers are located above and to the right of the accelerator pedal. The model number is the first two letters of the serial number.

Model NameModel# Serial Number
Tempo GasBXBX1905-944274 to BX2003-039920
Tempo Gas 2 + 2BYBY1910-953754 to BY2002-039481
Onward 2 Pass Non-Lifted GasBQBQ1924-981193 to BQ2003-041072
Onward 4 Pass Non-LiftedBSBS1910-953760 to BS2003-041012
Onward 4 Pass Lifted GasBWBW1910-953767 to BW2003-041068
Precedent Villager 2 GasBJBJ1910-953915 to BJ2002-039525
Precedent Gas EFI 2PDFDF1929-987941 to DF2002-039479
Precedent Villager 4 GasDJDJ1929-987934 to DJ1950-034968
Onward 6 Pass Non-Lifted GasAYAY1945-024474 to AY1949-033252
Onward 6 Pass Lifted GasAWAW1945-024474 to AW2003-041004

 Remedy:  Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact Club Car to schedule a free repair. Club Car is contacting owners directly.

Incidents/Injuries: Club Car has received three reports of fuel leaks. No fires or injuries have been reported.

Sold At: Authorized Club Car dealers nationwide from August 2018 through July 2019 for between $7,000 and $11,000.

Manufacturer(s): Club Car, of Augusta, Georgia

Manufactured In: United States

Recall number: 19-770

Second Recall Details

Club Car Gas Carryall 300 utility vehicle
The Club Car Carryall 300 gas powered utility vehicle is part of the second recall.

Name of product: Club Car Gas Carryall 300, Transporter, Villager Vehicles, Streetrod Lux and Streetrod Vintage Vehicles

Hazard: Under continuous operations with low speed idling periods and a full gas tank, the fuel vent can allow fuel to leak, posing a fire hazard.

Recall date: August 19, 2019

Units: About 1,300 (In addition, about 13 were sold in Canada)

Description: This recall involves 2019 utility and transport vehicles, which vary in size, models and colors and are used for short-distance transportation. The recalled vehicles can be identified by the model and serial numbers. Serial numbers are above and to the right of the accelerator pedal. The model number is the first two letters of the serial number. Recalled models and serial numbers include:

Model NameSerial Number Range
CA300, GasMC1902- 939803 – MC1936-003158
Transporter, GasMK1901-938752 – MK1936-001620
Villager 6 GasSE1903-941645 – SE1936-003004
Villager 8 GasSF1902-941407 – SF1936-003040
Transporter XL GasSK1907-948159 – SK1932-994341
Transporter XLC GasZV1908-949040 – ZV1928987110
Streetrod LuxSO1908-948943 – SO1908-948929
Streetrod VintageSO1902-939821 – SO1937-004374

 Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the vehicles and contact Club Car to schedule a free repair. Club Car is contacting owners of the recalled gas utility and transport vehicles directly.

Incidents/Injuries: Club Car has received two reports of fuel leaks. No injuries have been reported.

Sold At: Authorized Club Car dealers and Streetrod nationwide from July 2018 through March 2019 for between $8,000 and $16,000. Streetrod branded vehicles were sold by Streetrod dealers from July 2018 through March 2019 for between $18,000 and $20,000.

Manufacturer(s):  Club Car, of Augusta, Ga.Manufactured In:U.S.

Recall number: 19-769

SVR’s Take

This is a large recall for Club Car and represents a significant percentage of their unit sales. Not too surprisingly for the STOV market, the recall involves some variation of a fuel leak hazard. Smallvehicleresource.com maintains a list of small, task-oriented vehicle recalls. Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

PTVs at the 2019 PGA Show

StarEV Sirius 2 PTV personal mobility
The Sirius 2 from Star Electric Vehicles is one of a number of PTV offerings at the 2019 PGA Show.

My colleague Steve Metzger recently attended the 2019 PGA Show. He reports on the trends in personal mobility vehicles from established and new players. In addition, he discusses the mainstreaming of lithium batteries and related implications. The following is a summary of key insights from the article.

  • The personal mobility market in the form of personal transportation vehicles (PTVs) is attracting an increased level of product development.
  • The major fleet golf car manufacturers, Club Car, E-Z-GO and Yamaha are turning their attention to PTVs and other non-golf markets.
  • New models incorporate a greater variety of features and more automotive style features
  • The Sirius PTV from Star Electric Vehicles is the most likely candidate to seriously challenge offerings from Club Car, E-Z-GO and Yamaha.
  • Club Car introduced lithium battery powered models and other manufacturers are considering the technology as well
  • Both Trojan Battery and ReLion Battery presented lithium batteries targeting the aftermarket for PTVs, golf cars and light-duty utility vehicles
  • Lithium battery market penetration has implications for the recycling of fleet golf cars, used PTVs and future demand for public road access for PTVs
  • EFI engine technology continues to advance in the face of improving battery technology as market choice will likely increase before a winner shakes out
  • Potential California LSV legislation could become a model for other states and a market driver
  • Product engineers may drive the market in the next 3 to 5 years

Learn more: Smallvehicleresource.com (Full article)

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com