In late August, California announced that it will end the sale of gasoline-only cars by 2035. There’s no question that as a country, we’re moving in the direction of electric vehicles. For more than a decade, Tesla has proven that electric vehicles can be not only better for the environment, but also exciting to drive, well-designed and enjoyable. But most electric vehicles are also unaffordable for the average consumer.
Mark Frohnmayer believes he has found a solution. He’s spent the last 15 years building Arcimoto, a FUV, or “fun electric vehicle,” company from the ground up — starting with a napkin sketch. His aim has been to create an environmentally conscious, ultra-efficient and affordable daily driver that remains a joy to drive. Based in Eugene, Oregon, Arcimoto is dedicated to creating world-class electric vehicles that make the world a better place.
Arcimoto FUVs are small, with seating for just two, and three-wheelers that look like a hybrid between an EV and an electric bicycle or motorcycle. Critically, they come with a starting price of $17,900. According to Kelly’s Blue Book, electric vehicles have an average price of $67,000 in 2022. FUVs are purpose-built for daily driving, local delivery and emergency response, with greatly reduced environmental impact compared to traditional gas-powered vehicles. .
“In 2007, I went looking for something that didn’t exist,” says Frohnmayer. “I wanted a lightweight electric vehicle that was fun and suitable for the daily commute; a greener, right-sized option that can easily be accommodated in a home or business. Both then and now, many people drive their large, emission-intensive vehicles for simple daily chores, which contributes to big city congestion, pollution and general waste of resources. I believe that the largest automotive markets will and should be fully electric – offering a glimpse of a green future and significant economic opportunities.”
Frohnmayer has discovered over the past 15 years that building an automotive company is a tremendous challenge. Arcimoto went through eight generations of prototypes before landing on their current FUV platform. Next, they had to hire a large team, build a factory, establish a supply chain with partners spread across the globe, and ramp up production.
As they faced those challenges, new ones emerged. The FUV is a new type of vehicle that in many states is considered a motorcycle, requiring a motorcycle license for drivers to operate it. Arcimoto had to undertake significant lobbying efforts to modernize this legacy legislation. “Thankfully, we have been able to reclassify Arcimoto vehicles in a number of states as motorcycles, including Hawai’i, so that everyday drivers can access the FUV with a standard driver’s license,” explains Frohnmayer.
Additionally, a challenge for Arcimoto is that the company is selling a new type of vehicle that the world has never seen before. Customers are more inclined to buy a FUV after a test drive. During the Covid-19 pandemic, such joy rides were halted, which resulted in an added burden on the company. Thankfully this summer, Arcimoto was able to host a record number of demo drives at events across the country.
Despite the obstacles, Frohnmayer remains committed to Arcimoto because his work has immense value and meaning. “Solving climate change is one of the greatest challenges in human history,” he says. “Here at Arcimoto, we get to go to work every day knowing we’re doing our part. This is truly the struggle of our time.”
For other people looking to harness their life purpose at work, Frohnmayer says, “Think about what you love to do and what problem in the world you want to solve. Then find like-minded talented people and act.”