Sunday, November 15, 2015


The Generation 8 SRK, unveiled by Arcimoto at the Broadway Commerce Center in downtown Eugene, November 14, 2015 (my photo)
I simply had to attend the Arcimoto Generation 8 Launch Party at the Broadway Commerce Center in Eugene this past Saturday evening and I’m glad I did, even though it started during the middle of the Oregon/Stanford football game (another “can’t miss” event on my calendar!). I wanted to be there for Arcimoto’s public unveiling of the first market-ready iteration of the SRK, its everyday electric vehicle for the masses. I was hopeful the launch party would be the start of something big for the home-grown company, the latest step toward a paradigm-shifting future for personal urban transportation. Arcimoto hopes to begin pilot production of the SRK by the end of 2016. 
Mark Frohnmayer founded Arcimoto in 2007 with the goal of catalyzing a revolution in sustainable transportation. His objective was to build an electric transport radically different from conventional automobiles, one with a smaller footprint, is emissions-free, safe, and fun to drive. With the Generation 8 SRK, he and Arcimoto have come tantalizingly close to achieving that goal. The three-wheeled, tandem-seat SRK can serve the daily transportation needs people mostly have—driving to and from work, shopping at the grocery store, or running other routine errands—because the majority of those trips are short, and often only involve the driver and perhaps a single passenger. 
The SRK’s side panel options can be easily removed for nice weather days. When the rain comes, it takes just a few minutes to reattach the cover and the one-of-a-kind Eagle Wing Door (photo from Arcimoto's website).

With a top speed of 85 mph, acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, and a range of 70 miles with the standard 12kWh battery (or 130 miles with the optional 20kWh battery), the SRK promises to be no slouch when it comes to performance. Arcimoto also says the SRK will achieve 230 MPGe, meaning the vehicle would literally pay for itself in fuel-savings after a few years (compared to the cost of operating a conventional automobile). The base model will retail for $11,900 so it definitely will favor the affordable end of the automotive pricing spectrum. 
The SRK is just short enough that it can park nose-in to the curb, meaning that you can park three of them in a normal parallel parking space.
Seeing the SRK in person and understanding what it is capable of raises the obvious question. How does the SRK not make sense? The all-too-common instance of a lone driver slogging about on short hops in a massive, gas-guzzling, 7-passenger SUV appears immorally absurd by comparison. 
I wrote a blog post back in 2010 in which I reviewed The End of the Road, a book authored by Joseph McKinney and Amy Isler Gibson. In it, the two presented a series of key concepts associated with their vision for a healthier automotive future:

  • Reassessing what it is we truly need to get from Point A to Point B
  • Differentiating and distinguishing between appropriate transportation options
  • Developing “village vehicles:” small, lightweight, zero-emission cars as an interim step toward a car-free future
  • Transitioning to a transportation infrastructure that makes village vehicles safe to operate (including decommissioning of urban roads to become “greenways” limited to use by pedestrians, cyclists, and village vehicles)
In that 2010 post, I recognized Arcimoto was on track to develop exactly what Joseph and Amy were envisioning. Five years later, they seem more prescient than ever as Arcimoto approaches production of the SRK. 

The SRK’s ride and maneuverability are augmented with a full roll cage, 3 + 2 harnesses for both riders and impact crumple zones in front and rear for additional protection (my photo).

The proliferation of village vehicles like the SRK may profoundly reshape our built environment. They require far less parking space, meaning less precious land would be conceded to surface parking lots or structures. Being electric, these vehicles would reduce pollution, resulting in improved air quality. Fewer filling stations would be required so the land the stations might have occupied would be available for higher and better uses. Ultimately, our streets would be cleaner, quieter, and probably safer as oversized, over-powered, and polluting cars declined in number. 

I have high hopes for Arcimoto and the SRK. The potential market worldwide for an everyday, inexpensive, high-performing, emissions-free vehicle is immense. If the company is successful, that achievement would bode very well for Eugene, as Arcimoto would undoubtedly choose to primarily manufacture the SRK and its successors here. My prediction? SRK’s buzzing around Eugene and other cities will soon become a common sight. If so, good for Arcimoto, good for Eugene, and good for the world.     

1 comment:

Eric Hall said...

I too was struck by the possibility. My commute is longer meaning higher speeds, less graceful commuting conditions, and more reliance on non essential services during the commute like heat, a/c, etc. Still, I will be checking their products out and am very pleased to see transportation trends being driven by West coast technologies and manufacturers, and not Detroit steel. Excited to see what Apple might think we all need as well. Nice article.