Students from the Oregon Consulting Group (OCG) are helping shape the future of transportation in Lane County (and possibly the world), collaborating with the electric vehicle manufacturer Arcimoto to launch a vehicle rental program based in Eugene. With student input, a city-wide rental program for Arcimoto’s electric vehicles is tentatively set to launch in time for the Oregon ’22 World Athletics Championship to be held at Hayward Field.
Housed in the Lundquist College of Business, the Oregon Consulting Group is primarily comprised of undergraduate students who complete paid consulting engagements with Pacific Northwest organizations to help address wide-ranging business issues and develop new initiatives.
The Arcimoto rental program developed over the course of the past year through a series of projects. Megan Evans, a senior manager with the OCG and a senior in business administration concentrating in finance, worked on the first step of the process.
Evans’ team explored how to best position Arcimoto as a “last-mile transportation” solution. They determined the best path forward was a rental model and explored whether such a program would be best served in partnership with a hotel or, instead, populating city streets with the vehicles—similar to bike-sharing programs that are increasingly popular all-over the world.
In doing so, Evans and her team investigated how Arcimoto vehicles could be integrated into Lane County’s existing transportation network, and they even suggested that Arcimoto consider a possible collaboration with Lane Transit District.
Speaking about her experience, Evans said Arcimoto trusted students “to drive the project,” giving them the creative freedom to get the job done.
“The Arcimoto team is passionate about students and believes in the power of young people,” Evans said.
The next step was a project led by Kali Rennaker, a junior double majoring in economics and business administration with a focus in operations and business analytics. Her team surveyed University of Oregon students and community members about the rental concept. They also pitched the idea of a possible collaboration to the highest levels of Eugene city government and the Lane Transit District.
Students involved in a third project, currently underway, are diving deeper into the financial side of a rental model, analyzing potential revenue streams, as well as associated costs of the program. They are also investigating and modeling expansion beyond Lane County following the track and field championships.
Rennaker, who has worked with Arcimoto on the projects for nearly a year now, she said, “It has completely transformed my view of what transportation is, the purpose it serves, and how to think innovatively about it into the future.”
OCG president Callum Kuo, a senior in biology and business administration, added, “the thing we love the most is when the client takes our recommendation and figures out a way to get them implemented.”
The Arcimoto rental service, he said, could be something that could change our community for years to come.
Echoing Kuo’s forward-thinking perspective, Arcimoto’s chief strategy officer Jesse Fittipaldi hopes Arcimoto collaborating with OCG can be a long-term relationship.
“It’s cool to get to work with smart people that are branching out and solving the real problem that Arcimoto is going after: reimagining transportation,” Fittipaldi said.
—William Kennedy, Lundquist College Communications