Want to downsize your four-wheeled vehicle but aren't quite ready to go full motorcycle? Maybe a reverse trike is more your bag. These half-moto/half-car vehicles could be your commute-problem solver, especially in crowded cities, and for good reason. They are electric, easy to park and perfect for short commutes. At the Los Angeles Auto Show the folks at Arcimoto showed off the FUV. Pronounce it anyway you want, but the Fun Utility Vehicle certainly puts a bit of joy in the commute.
The FUV is about the length and height of a Smart car, but is a bit slimmer thanks to tandem-seating. A 12kWh battery comes standard for a range of 70 miles, but you can upgrade to a larger battery for 130 miles of range. It's charged with a standard 110 outlet or a level 2 charger, but don't expect high-speed CHAdeMO capabilities.
Two electric motors power the front two wheels of the FUV, giving it a top speed of 85 miles an hour. I got nowhere near that speed on my quick jaunt around downtown L.A., but the instant electric torque inspired plenty of confidence while I was sharing the road with big construction trucks around the Los Angeles Convention Center. Instead of a steering wheel, the FUV is operated with motorcycle handlebars. A hand-brake offers regenerative power but there is a hydraulic foot brake as well that can keep the little FUV stopped at a light. I don't have much motorcycle riding experience, so using my left thumb for the turn signals was a little weird at first, but it soon became second nature.
Going into turns requires a bit of throttle at the beginning to help kick-start the power steering, but true to its name, it's quite fun, inducing a bit of lean, feeling like a cross between Mario Kart and Moto GP. Visibility is excellent as, well, there were no doors on my tester. Doors are, fortunately, available.
Arcimoto will deliver six of the FUVs by the end of the year, with the rest of the 2,000 first-production run coming in 2018. The cost is $11.900, about half the price of the new Honda Gold Wing. You can grab a reservation for $100 at Arcimoto.com.