The EV Report recently enjoyed connecting with Chris Dawson, CEO of Arcimoto. With experience spanning the EV segment, including a significant tenure at Tesla, Dawson took the helm at Arcimoto in April. Since then, he has been trailblazing a path toward a greener, more sustainable mobility future with diverse, innovative, and eco-friendly solutions.
Arcimoto is making waves in the industry by redefining the ‘right-sized’ transportation concept, delivering efficient and effective mobility solutions that challenge conventional norms while embracing sustainability. Their comprehensive vehicle portfolio includes vehicles designed for everyday use, solutions for last-mile delivery, and vehicles tailored for emergency response; all developed on their flexible and robust Flagship Utility Vehicle (FUV) platform.
In this comprehensive Q&A, Dawson opens up about Arcimoto’s unique vision, the evolution of its diverse product offerings, his approach as the new CEO, and the strategic focus amidst the dynamic landscape of the electric vehicle and micromobility sector. He provides a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of Arcimoto, including the recent launch of the Modular Utility Vehicle (MUV) aimed at professional and commercial sectors.
Dawson firmly believes the key to a sustainable future is accessible and right-sized mobility solutions. With this mantra, Arcimoto is forging ahead, solidifying its role as a leader in the EV space and bringing about meaningful improvements in how we move people and goods. Join us as we uncover the story of Arcimoto’s journey, its transformative role in the commercial EV arena, and the exciting prospects.
Who is Arcimoto, and what do you do?
At our core, Arcimoto is a pioneer in the micromobility space, focused on rightsizing electric mobility solutions. We develop and manufacture electric three-wheeled vehicles on our revolutionary platform. Our vehicles are purpose-built for daily driving and a variety of other applications, all at a fraction of the cost and environmental impact of traditional gas-powered vehicles.
It is abundantly clear that our society and transportation system doesn’t foster sustainable communities and eco-friendly spaces. The future demands right-sized and affordable mobility and Arcimoto is positioned as a leader in the space to provide such solutions.
You joined Arcimoto as CEO in April of this year. What sparked your interest in leading the company, and can you tell us about your new approach?
I first started my career in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear chemist working aboard submarines, which most people don’t realize is a 3 way hybrid vehicle, nuclear, diesel and battery. After the Navy I became a CnC engineer, which led to exposure with automotive applications such as at Tesla where I spent 5 years working in the battery factory, Model S/X line and then Model 3. I then spent time in another EV start up as well as hydrogen and sustainable plastics. During this I spun up an engineering firm to develop these technologies in the military space. Through these experiences, I really wrestled with the idea of how we can drive efficiency through electrification in the mobility space, which ultimately prompted me to join Arcimoto’s board of directors last year.
When I joined the board, it was important for me to bring forth the insights and knowledge I have in EV development , robotics, manufacturing and battery tech, to add value to Arcimoto and aid in its success. As I share the same mission and goals, it was clear to me I was truly invested in Arcimoto. When I was offered the opportunity to step up as CEO, the decision was easy. I was ready to roll up my sleeves and get a good look at the nuts and bolts of the company. The framework of our vehicles is really impressive and allows us to build products to fill the gaps in the market.
As CEO, my immediate focus is on accelerating strategic partnerships, capital formation for scale and the continued refinement and growth of our sales efforts. My time on the board has allowed me to hit the ground running and lead Arcimoto into its next phase of growth.
Can you tell me about your vehicle lineup and the different use cases for Arcimoto?
Every Arcimoto vehicle is all-electric, built on the FUV platform and is designed to be the right tool for the job, right sized and ultra-efficient. Arcimoto’s line-up of vehicles is comprised of products for a wide range of applications including the FUV, a consumer-focused vehicle for everyday driving, the Deliverator for last-mile delivery, the Rapid Responder for emergency services and security and our latest product offering the MUV (Modular Utility Vehicle) dedicated for professional and commercial use. In addition to our core vehicle line up, we also partner with Faction and have implemented autonomous technology into our vehicles for commercial, municipal and tourism applications.
You recently announced the MUV, why is this vehicle an important addition to Arcimoto’s offerings?
The MUV was a natural step for us in building out our vehicle line-up. The MUV marks the first on-road modular utility vehicle in our lineup of small-footprint electric vehicles dedicated to the professional and commercial industries. Built on our flagship FUV platform, the MUV is a workhorse for daily indoor and outdoor use for customers who need to move goods, materials, supplies and equipment. We identified a need for a day-to-day versatile vehicle that incorporates increased functionality to support various industries, and that’s exactly what we have with the MUV.
What role does Arcimoto play in the EV market today?
Arcimoto is rightsizing transportation by bridging the gap between 2 and 4 wheeled vehicles. The majority of our roads are filled with gas-guzzling, inefficient SUVs and EVs that don’t fit the pattern of everyday driving. 90% of drivers today are either one or two people driving a relatively short distance (Americans on average drive about 30 miles per day) with limited cargo. This leads to road congestion, massive parking lots and excessive pavement. Our goal is to optimize vehicles to reclaim our space, clean our air and make our cities much more livable for everyone.
Our scalable platform enhances transportation through a variety of uses: daily driving, destination rentals and tours, last-mile delivery, emergency response and commercial utility fleets.
It is crucial to us that our vehicles aren’t just fun, but affordable and accessible as well. We are solidifying our role in the EV market by offering immediate solutions to improve the way we move people and things.
How is Arcimoto looking to change the commercial EV space?
In May, we unveiled the Modular Utility Vehicle (MUV), a new category of EVs from Arcimoto built on our flagship FUV platform. It was important to us to offer a vehicle that can be tailored for a variety of uses and to a market that represents tremendous opportunity. We thought if we can right-size personal transportation, we can enhance the commercial and industrial industries as well with the right tool for the job.
Our customers are seeking highly versatile vehicles that are packed with performance and utility, so by building the MUV on our flagship platform, it allows us to offer customizable bed configurations, including a flat bed and cargo box, to support medium to light-duty load capacities.
With the nimble and adaptable MUV, we hope to reshape commercialized vehicle uses by offering an affordable, efficient and sustainable option, to improve workflow and build a better tomorrow.
What has been the biggest challenge in the micromobility space?
Over the past few years, we have seen micromobility start-ups come and go. It’s not just the micromobility space either, the whole market has proven to be difficult to predict and maneuver.
At Arcimoto, when we began to see a rise in demand for our vehicles, we had to make careful considerations when planning our next steps as a company. In February of 2022, we opened our new production facility and began working on new projects. A year later, we were compelled to reassess our offerings and restructure our business to stabilize our company and secure our future.
Adaptability has been our biggest key for success, not just in relation to our versatile vehicle platform, but our business strategy as well. We have revamped our approach in relation to production and product offerings to align with consumer and market demand and we’re excited to continue to drive innovation in the micromobility space.
What’s next for Arcimoto?
Right now, we are being intentional with our focus. Our main focus being on our core vehicle offerings and ramping up production to hit our numbers.
Arcimoto is naturally built for expansion with our multifaceted platform. This year you can expect entrances into new industries, states, and new commercial customers.
Click HERE to learn more about Arcimoto.