Arcimoto ordered to pay Wilsonville manufacturer $1M

Jason E. Kaplan
An Arcimoto vehicle in 2018.

The judgment is the latest setback for struggling Eugene EV firm.

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Eugene-based green automaker Arcimoto was dealt another blow last week as it was ordered to pay a former business partner $1 million, the Portland Business Journal reported Monday. 

It’s the latest in a string of setbacks for the former EV darling once valued at a billion dollars. 

In November, DWFritz Automation, of Wilsonville, sued Arcimoto for breach of contract in Lane County Circuit Court. The judge’s ruling, awarding DWFritz all it asked for, was issued Thursday. 

A second vendor, Michigan-based Roush Industries, sued in December for around a half-million dollars. Arcimoto has yet to answer that complaint, according to the Business Journal. 

Founded in 2007, Arcimoto enjoyed a fast rise replete with glossy magazine profiles and celebrity endorsements. The company’s flagship product, the FUV, or Fun Utility Vehicle, a three-wheeled electric motorcycle, was pitched as an entry level EV attainable for the non-wealthy. The buzz led to an IPO in 2017 and soon, a valuation of more than a billion dollars. 

But Arcimoto has struggled mightily to scale to profitability. 

After going public, the company missed several production targets before rolling out an FUV with a sticker price of nearly $20,000 — far higher than the $12,000 originally envisioned.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a suspension of production amid supply chain disruptions, though the company was able to raise more than $50 million through stock offerings.

That funding enabled the company to purchase a second production facility in Eugene with a goal of producing 50,000 vehicles in two years.

But in 2022, Arcimoto reported $2 million in revenue against $17 million in losses. The company laid off or furloughed around 100 workers. That year, the company sold just 228 vehicles.

In February 2023, Arcimoto announced it was halting production at its Eugene factory and would file for bankruptcy if it couldn’t find funding to continue, The Oregonian reported. The announcement led to another plunge in stock prices and days later, Arcimoto’s board of directors unveiled a new executive team.

In August that year, CEO Chris Dawson told Oregon Business potential paths forward included leasing out production facility space and partnering with a government defense contractor.

Arcimoto’s brain trust has pointed to supply chain challenges and unfavorable laws in other states. Market watchers have said the FUV market never materialized.

Last month, a local news station reported that power had been cut to the firm’s Eugene factory, which once employed more than 300 people.

On Wednesday, the company’s website and public phone line were inactive. 

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