Eugene’s electric vehicle company Arcimoto released its first Rapid Responder vehicle today. The Eugene-Springfield Fire Department will use it as part of a pilot program, which is the live testing phase of the vehicle.
The function of the Rapid Responder is to assist with faster emergency response. First responders can get to an emergency scene quicker in one of these vehicles while emitting fewer carbon emissions than a fire truck or ambulance, Arcimoto’s founder and president Mark Frohnmayer says.
Using the same manufacturing line and parts as Arcimoto’s personal vehicle, the Evergreen FUV, the Rapid Responder can hit 75 mph and has a 100-mile range. It fits two people and has storage space. The exclusive specs of the Rapid Responder will be announced later this year.
Alongside the Evergreen FUV, which was released last year, the Rapid Responder is one of Arcimoto’s three models. Although the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department is using the Rapid Responder, it is not currently for sale — unlike the Evergreen FUV. The company is still to release the Deliverator, whose function is last-mile deliveries.
Eugene-Springfield Fire Department Deputy Chief of Strategic Services Markus Lay says the Rapid Responder won’t replace an ambulance or fire truck, but it will serve alongside other gas-powered vehicles.
Lay also says the Rapid Responder can access different places that ambulances and fire trucks can’t, such as bike paths and water trails. The fire department plans to use the Rapid Responder on pre-planned events like the Eugene Marathon and the Olympic Trials in June, according to Lay.
With the vehicle serving as a pilot, Frohnmayer says the goal is to get feedback from the local first responders, improve the Rapid Responder and sell fleets to fire departments across the country.
“There are 41,000 fire stations in the United States and then you have police, corporate campus, you definitely see the potential across the country for the Rapid Responder,” Frohnmayer says.
For now, however, Lay says the fire department is moving cautiously with the Rapid Responder. He says they have no plans of replacing any current resources with the Rapid Responder when responding to emergencies, and they are cautious in what type of emergencies first responders will use the Rapid Responder in.
Still, the opportunities for Arcimoto to grow with Rapid Responder are considerable, according to Frohnmayer. He says the Rapid Responder’s gross profit margins might become larger than Arcimoto‘s Evergreen FUV. It will also be priced at a higher range than the Evergreen FUV.
As Rapid Responder makes its debut in Lane County today, Frohnmayer says he hopes first responders will use it to get to emergency scenes quicker and save lives.
“When an emergency is called, multiple vehicles respond,” he says. “The idea with the Rapid Responder is that we think it will be first on scene. In a true life-threatening scenario, response time can mean the difference between life or death. A minute is a huge amount of time in terms of actually saving someone’s life.”