In Detail: More on EV Startup Arcimoto

As unique and cool as the Arcimoto SRK looks, the vehicle's real contribution may be harder to see. On the surface, the SRK is yet another electric powered personal vehicle, not unlike the Tango EV featured in TRANSLOGIC 48 or similar cars from TH!NK or Zap. However, there are a few little things about the Arcimoto SRK that may end up making a very big impact. Something that's easy to overlook, but is actually quite revolutionary, is Arcimoto's position on battery technology. Major car manufacturers often invest heavily in a single battery technology to power their hybrid or EV offerings. Whichever battery meets the broadest consumer requirements of range, charge time, and weight/cost ratio wins the day; namely, Li-ion.

But, what if your driving habits exist outside the averages? Arcimoto lets buyers pick how much they want to spend based on how much range they need. Low-tech, low-budget lead acid batteries offer 40 miles of range, whereas Lithium Iron Phosphate (LIFePO4) batteries offer double the range at a greater cost. Beyond offering more options at the time of purchase, another advantage of the SRK's battery agnostic platform is that you can always upgrade to a newer or better battery technology as your needs or budget change.

Beyond cost and capacity, an often ignored consideration of battery technology is environmental impact. Hybrid or EV drivers may assume they've checked the eco-friendly box by buying a low-emmisions vehicle; however, the refinement, manufacturing and disposal of chemical compounds used in batteries can still carry significant environmental consequences. Although not as common as other battery configurations, Arcimoto's LIFePO4 technology uses a specific chemistry that contains no heavy metals. This provides consumers with a more environmentally-friendly choice, and one that conforms to high European standards for the handling of hazardous materials.

Another unique characteristic of Arcimoto vehicles has to do with the various body configurations. The base SRK we drove in TRANSLOGIC 61 comes standard with open sides, but is available with soft canvas or hard shell body panels. An open-air electric vehicle would probably be perfect in San Diego, but maybe not so good in Seattle. Another configurations replaces the rear seat with a larger cargo area. Imagine a Chevy Volt that could be ordered as a convertible or a two-seat pickup. To a lesser degree, this is what Arcimoto is proposing.

Just like we saw with Local Motors, small auto manufacturing startups like Arcimoto can offer consumers a level of customization unrivaled by large automakers.

Click the image below to watch TRANSLOGIC 61: Arcimoto SRK:

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