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Arcimoto Pulse electric 3-wheeler

The Arcimoto Pulse car is similar to several designs that have been put forward, including the ZAP Alias and the Aptera, but unlike those it has so far stayed on schedule for its intended limited production this fall.

Photos courtesy of Arcimoto

by Aaron Turpen

Specs:

  • Type: 3-wheeled 2-Passenger
  • Class: Enclosed Motorcycle/Car
  • Manufacturer: Acrimoto
  • Propulsion system: Electric
  • Top Speed: 65mph+
  • Vehicle range: 40-160*
  • Fuel(s): Electricity
  • Battery system: Lead Acid / Li-ion*
  • Time to full battery recharge: 4-7 hours*
  • Price: $17,500 (base)
  • Availability: Fall of 2010
  • * depending on options

The manufacturer says

Combustion engines will soon become a technology of the past. Electric drive is transportation refined, entailing fewer parts and as little as half the maintenance costs. No more oil changes. No more fuel filters. Why use more if you don't have to? You'll save money on fuel. You'll save money on maintenance. Oh, and saving the planet comes standard.

Overview

The Arcimoto Pulse is a 3-wheeled (2 front, one rear) vehicle which technically classifies as a motorcycle in most jurisdictions. It seats two and is all-electric. It comes with most of the features you'd expect from a well-equipped small car including easy cargo access via a third door (hatchback). Many of the materials that go into the manufacture of the Pulse are recycled/reclaimed.

The car is built to be fully highway safety compliant with a roll cage, crumple zones, safety belts, etc. Lighting is all LED to facilitate lower power usage and several options are also available including a security system, upgraded stereo, GPS, and more.

The Pulse is powered by an advanced DC motor (85ft-lb, 65hp) and comes standard with 12V lead-acid batteries which can be upgraded to lithium-ion. Top speed for the car is 65mph or better thanks to an independent 7.5:1 transmission (fixed). Charging time is 4-7 hours depending on battery option, at 110V. Its range is 40-50 miles (lead-acid) or up to 80 or 160 miles (li-ion, depending on size of pack).

The Pulse is one of several 3-wheeled designs right now, most of which are not yet available for general sale. Arcimoto is taking pre-orders ($500 deposit) right now with expected production beginning later this year. The $17,500 price tag is before any federal or state incentives and is for the base model.

Currently, the Arcimoto is gearing up for a "Test Drive Tour" throughout California and the West Coast through Oregon and Washington.

What we like

The 3-wheeled design has a lot going for it in many respects. Modern technology has taken care of the "wobble" problem that was a concern in older designs of this type and 3 wheels are more efficient than four.

The company's energy has been strong in the past with a lot of public interaction and attendance at events to show the vehicle and concept.

What we don't

Suddenly gone incognito with announcements for plans for a 2010 test drive tour given last December, little has been heard from this company since. We are told that they are still doing the tour, but are concentrating on getting into production rather than marketing and press at this time.

Seats 2 which might be enough for some, but most people are going to expect 4-5 at minimum in a vehicle for the common market. Of course, this is Arcimoto's first vehicle, which could expand into more models over time. The company would not comment on this, however.

Conclusions

Arcimoto is a nice little company in Oregon with a great vehicle design, a strong following on Facebook and Twitter, and several pre-orders to fill their 2010 production. If they do finally get to production (rumor says they don't have the capital, but the company would not confirm or deny this), the car will definitely have a strong core following.

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