The Arcimoto Paradox


For years, I’ve been following the progress of a company out of Eugene, Oregon that has been developing innovative, affordable, all-electric transportation. That company, Arcimoto, is now taking reservations on their generation 8 SRK vehicle, with an initial price of $11,900. For $100, you can reserve your very own 3-wheeled all-electric vehicle with an open frame and tandem seating.

Or, you can buy a used Nissan Leaf for about the same price.


Depreciation that disrupts competition.

In Portland, Oregon, you can purchase a lease-return Nissan Leaf with anywhere from 8-20k miles on it, possibly with a remaining manufacturer’s warranty. The Leaf’s catastrophic depreciation puts the price of a 2-3 year old full-fledged, four-wheel automobile on par with the brilliant little SRK.

Yes, this is unfair. The folks at Arcimoto are pioneering a radical, thoughtful approach to affordable EV transportation. Selling a brand-new vehicle with a base price of $12,900 deserves kudos. But when consumers are faced with the economic realities of year-round driving, the competitive pricing of a used Leaf and other vehicles (a 2014 Smart Passion with 341 miles can be found on Craigslist for $11,950) puts the SRK at a disadvantage. And while the current supply of lease-return Leafs will eventually dry up, a new batch of 2013-2014’s will enter the market at some point. Adding to the problem is the fact that the SRK is classified as an electric motorcycle, and Federal tax incentives for that class of vehicle expired on December 31, 2013.

Driving an SRK looks fun. And it certainly looks innovative. But does it look comfortable on a soggy, dreary winter’s day or under scorching summer sun?

Here’s a thought.


There’s another 3-wheeled vehicle (albiet NOT electric) on the road right now that has gained popularity due to its dramatic design and inherent stability: the Can-Am Spyder. Perhaps it’s a stretch. But what if the SRK finds its appeal among people who want an open-air experience (some people LOVE to ride motorcycles – this writer included). A Spyder starts at $19,649. An SRK – $12,900. No, they are not the same. Fossil-fueled riding enthusiasts who want 3-wheel stability will probably stick with their Rotax-powered Spyder.

However, those progressive souls who want to ride the Road Electric with a feeling of freedom may have found an alternative to the conventional EV – one that puts some fun back into driving.

And that might not be paradoxical at all.

Read more about the Arcimoto SRK in this Wired Magazine article.

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One thought on “The Arcimoto Paradox

  1. The only thing that comes into mind mind about the Arcimoto is “I want one!” Amazing technology and dynamics. The range is perfect for small towns or a commute with the extended range option. I am redirecting my focus from getting another hybrid or an electric to this. Great Article!

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