What happens when a maker of tiny electric vehicles dips its wheels into the military industrial complex? We’re about to find out.
On Monday, Arcimoto said it is diversifying beyond its usual business via a partnership with Department of Defense contractor Matbock. That’s a first for the EV startup, which is best known for its doorless “fun utility vehicles.”
Arcimoto also makes an “e-trike” and some commercial vehicles, including this impossibly small box truck (in the loosest sense) and an EV for paramedics. In addition to all that, Arcimoto said in a statement that it will sell “electrical systems architecture and energy storage systems” to Matbock, which makes “hybrid-electric tactical vehicles.” Matbock also sells hunting gear, camo travel bags and an apparel line that might appeal to someone like Volodymyr Zelensky.
The deal may seem out of nowhere for Arcimoto, which has focused on things like supplying vehicles for scenic tours, but it’s apparently not much of a departure for the company’s latest CEO, Chris Dawson. The executive told TechCrunch in April that he had previously consulted with the Department of Defense.
According to Dawson, the Matbock deal will ultimately “assist the military’s efforts to improve tactical capabilities and operational efficiencies through the adoption of American-made green energy technology.” The U.S. military is among the planet’s worst climate polluters. Researchers argue that the military must shrink in order to meaningfully decarbonize.
For its part, Arcimoto is searching for ways to keep its doors open. The company kicked off the year with a warning that it had “substantial doubt about [its] ability to continue” operating. Since then, the firm says it’s secured nearly $25 million via three separate fundraises — including a $6.7 million offering earlier this month. Arcimoto is due to share its latest financials with investors on August 24.