AYRO, an electric mini-truck maker based in Round Rock, Texas, has just announced the start of production at its local factory. The company’s first vehicle, known as the AYRO Vanish, is an electric utility truck with a modular design intended for a wide range of urban uses.
The company has begun with low-rate initial production (LRIP), which is a limited manufacturing run intended to validate the efficiency of the production processes and systems designed to build the Vanish.
Training, tools, processes, and quality measures are currently being evaluated on the line as AYRO prepares to ramp up to higher production rates.
As the company CEO Tom Wittenschlaeger explained:
“We believe entering LRIP for the Vanish is a major milestone for AYRO. Within a few weeks, we anticipate being able to deliver the first vehicles to our dealers and partners so they can begin showing and selling the Vanish beyond pre-orders.”
Last month, AYRO completed homologation to receive its street-legal status in the US and Canada.
Homologation is the process that new vehicles undergo to test and verify that they meet or exceed vehicle regulations.
In the US, the AYRO Vanish was homologated to LSV (low-speed vehicle) standards set out in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, as mandated by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Canada uses very similar regulations set out in the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
As Wittenschlaeger continued:
“We’ve worked tirelessly to reach this point in our processes. Our partners and dealers are incredibly excited to share the Vanish with their customers. We’re also looking forward to seeing the Vanish in action with customers and fleets as this is just the first vehicle in our planned portfolio.”
While mini-trucks are commonplace in Europe and Asia, we rarely see these useful vehicles in the US or Canada thanks to the prevalence of oversized vehicles. AYRO is hoping to help buck this trend with the Vanish, which is small in size but designed for serious utility.
The Vanish’s versatility is one of its main selling points, with ARYO’s engineers focusing on an adaptable design. The mini-truck’s standard model features a “common core chassis”, essentially a compact flatbed truck. However, multiple configurations are available to tailor it for specific utility purposes.
For example, while the flatbed is ideal for general hauling, especially of large items, buyers have the option to outfit the Vanish with a foldable tailgate and side gates to resemble a pickup truck. There’s also the choice of an enclosed cargo space, transforming it into an electric mini box truck or van.
The lower bed height makes the vehicle ideal for loading and unloading, and the smaller size is more appropriate for crowded urban areas. Use cases like cargo delivery, package couriers and other local utility jobs could likely be better suited with the Vanish than larger vehicles. In fact, a business considering an electric pickup truck might find that the Vanish, which costs half as much, can actually carry larger cargo in back. It doesn’t offer the same highway speeds or long range as larger electric trucks, but neither of those are useful in a city – in fact they are disadvantages in crowded areas.
The AYRO Vanish certainly won’t replace larger pickup trucks and box trucks everywhere, but it marks a much more appropriate choice for densely populated cities where such large vehicles struggle to navigate congested streets.