Little Two-Seater EV Has 70-130 Mile Range, a Top Speed of 80mph, and Costs $12K

Side view of two-seat open vehicle

Courtesy of Arcimoto

The Arcimoto SRK is small, quick, and affordable, and it could be the perfect getaround car for cities and urban areas.

I'm pretty much sold on electric cars, and honestly can't wait to get one in my driveway, but there are a few big hurdles for electric vehicle companies to cross before it really makes sense for me. One of those issues, probably the biggest one at this point, is the cost, which is expected to drop to at or below the cost of gas-mobiles as early as 2025, but which is currently out of reach for many people.

The other issue, which is one that is being approached from a variety of angles, is that while the 'fuel' and drivetrain and electronics may be different in electric vehicles, they're still really too damn big and heavy to make sense for a single person to operate (which is how so many cars are driven). Why do we need a full-sized vehicle to carry one or two occupants and their stuff? It takes up room, consumes more resources, and generally costs more.

A far better choice, at least when it comes to local driving, would be a lighter, more efficient, and easier-to-park electric vehicle (or even a high mileage gas one), and one that was well within the budget for more people, which seems to be one of the selling points of the forthcoming Arcimoto SRK, which is expected to have a base cost of just less than $12,000 before EV incentives.

A Compact EV Solution

The Arcimoto Generation 8 SRK, which is billed as "the daily electric vehicle for the rest of us," is less like a car and more like a motorcycle/trike hybrid, at least at first glance, but with its fully enclosed frame (and snap-in body parts), seating for two people plus cargo space, and the fact that it weighs in at about a quarter of the weight, and about half the width, of a standard car, it could be an excellent option for a grocery-getter and runabout vehicle.

It's a far cry from the neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs), which usually have a top speed somewhere in the range of 25mph, with the new SRK being rated as having a top speed of 80mph and to go from 0-60 in 7.5 seconds, which takes it clearly out of the realm of glorified golf carts and firmly into the quick and nimble everyday EV category.

Developing the SRK

Arcimoto, a startup out of Eugene, Oregon, began with a prototype in 2007, and has been working steadily toward the current Generation 8 model, which includes the Tesla-esque "Eagle Wing Door" and an expected range of about 70 miles per charge on the 12 kWh battery (or 130 miles with the optional 20 kWh battery). Recharge time on the SRK is said to be "a few hours," so it very well could be useful for a longer commute as well as short town trips, assuming there was an adequate charging space at either end of the journey. The SRK includes a full roll cage and harnesses for both driver and passenger, and according to the company, the vehicle isn't classified as a motorcycle, so no special license or helmet is necessary.

A man driving an open two-seat vehicle with a woman in the back seat

If this little EV doesn't seem like it could be a real contender in the personal electric transport space, consider that perhaps some of the ways in which we think cars are driven aren't really how they are used. Mark Frohnmayer, Founder and President of Arcimoto, says the company is building it to fit "the dominant vehicle usage pattern."

"The development quest has been to tick all the boxes for the type of daily driving stuff we do all the time — going to work, going to the grocery store, going out on a date, some amount of [cargo], one or two people, daily driving distance — and to do that on pure electric for a cost that is affordable for the mass market. We’re building the SRK for drivers, for people who match the dominant vehicle usage pattern in the U.S. today." - Mark Frohnmayer

Another great application for the SRK, other than as a personal vehicle, is to opt for the "Deliverator" version, which replaces the second seat with a fully-enclosed storage kit, making it a potential choice for urban deliveries or service calls, especially in a fleet setting.

The Arcimoto SRK is expected to go into production later this year, and the company is taking reservations with a $100 deposit (said to be fully refundable) from interested drivers. If you're not ready to reserve one just yet, the company will also be bringing the vehicle "on tour" and keeping people abreast of dates and times via an email opt-in form on the website, in case you'd like to check it out in person.