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We were at Micro Mobility America 2022 and got to interview Kristjan Maruste, CEO of Äike, on their new electric scooter the Äike T. Find out what makes it so special and why we’re excited to see more of them on the road.
The Äike Model T
Krisjian: So, the Äike T is the only scooter built outside of China. We make it in Europe. As you can see, it looks gorgeous, it folds, it’s really built to take you from point A to point B in a very convenient and pleasurable way. The cool thing about it as well, that most electric scooters don’t have, which is unique is that this e-scooter actually has a removable battery, so you can pull the battery out and take it upstairs and charge it conveniently. You can also charge your phone from the USB-C port on the battery, so it kind of works like a power bank. So these are the things that are different, and of course, the scooter itself is chargeable from a USB-C as well.
Paul: That’s amazing; in fact, one of the things about it is that it’s USB-C chargeable, so you can charge it with almost any charger.
Krisjian: yeah with your laptop charger – not with your mobile phone charger because that’s five volts, but with everything that you charge your laptop with which is 18-20 volts, you can charge it. So the goal is to give you this convenience of wherever you are, you can always plug it in.
Paul: So if I’m at work and I need to charge and I discover, oh I forgot to bring my charger, you just plug it in.
Krisjian: Even if you run in trouble you can probably go to a Starbucks and hijack somebody’s charger. We have a funny clip coming out of that.
Italian Designed Electric Scooter
Paul: I love the single-sided wheels.
Krisjian: Yeah, it’s been designed by a guy called Christian Zanzotti. He’s an Italian guy based in Munich, a genius in design in my mind; he has some really cool stuff, so it’s Italian design, you can say.
Paul: It has really unique features – the way this comes up and this space here, is there a locking mechanism here? Or anything that’s functional about that? In that particular spot?
Krisjian: So this is where you actually plug it in for a USB-C, so that’s going to be a hard form for connecting it. Here you actually have a speaker, I think this hasn’t been seen on screen before, so we have a speaker function here as well, you can actually listen to music from your mobile phone if you want, to but it mainly will be just to give you some feedback while you’re riding. And if somebody wants to steal it, we can push an alarm here. And what is unique is that it’s fully IOT connected, so you can lock it and unlock it from your mobile phone, but you always see where it is as well. But most importantly, if somebody nicks it, they can never turn it on, so it has zero after sale value.
Paul: It has a unique display here.
Krisjian: So the idea here is that the bottom one shows you your charge, and then when you’re accelerating or de-accelerating, it’s the same type of gauge that cars have the odometer, it climbs up and down to show your speed. So people asked us for a display, we don’t really think people need to know whether it’s 23 mph or 23 mph, so we made something in between, clean looking but still gives you this understanding of what speed you’re going. And then we have this mobile phone mount here.
Paul: I was going to ask if that was a mount, that’s awesome.
Krisjian: That’s the new USB connect, it’s actually not launched yet, so it’s coming out very, very soon. So you can have it, or you don’t have to have it, so you can remove it as well, and then we’ll just have a logo in the middle, but yeah, you can mount your phone on top of it as well.
Paul: That’s great, I love that you have both in and that’s so clean and out of the way, you don’t have a mount hanging off somewhere.
Krisjian: That was the goal, I mean the downside is that you need a special case for it right, so it’s not something that you’re gonna hold on to, but I think it’s a very neat version of doing it.
Paul: How big are the tires?
Krisjian: 10 inches, or actually 11 inches but they’re pretty wide. They’re pneumatic. So the vehicle doesn’t have suspension per se, but everybody who has ridden it, has asked me, “What have you done with the suspension?” It feels so comfortable! So we really built it to be comfortable to ride, mainly through the tires.
Paul: And one thing we were talking about earlier, one of the things that excites me as somebody who works on scooters a lot, is the idea of a tire that mounts from one side, which means you could potentially change the tires without taking the wheels off the scooter, which has the advantage of: one, you don’t take the wheel off the scooter, you don’t have to worry about damaging the power cable going to the motor or anything, but also the scooter is holding onto the wheel for you while you’re taking the tire off, I’m not promising that you could do that on the ÄikeT, but it sure looks like it would be an easy scooter to change tires on if somebody needed to do that.
Krisjian: That’s actually a great insight, to be honest, we didn’t think about it. So it’s fantastic you bring it out, we’re gonna test it very soon.
Paul: And one view I’d love to get of the scooter, it’s really striking, from on top here looking down at the back. I really didn’t see this in the earlier video, it’s just this gorgeous tail light and then the way the frame comes back to the rear wheel. It just looks like nothing else when you look at it from on top. So, is the Äike T available right now?
The Äike Model T Price and Availability
Krisjian: Yeah, so we’ve been at pre-orders in Europe for a couple of months now, and just actually today we’re launching pre-orders in U.S as well.We’re going to start shipping in Europe at the end of November, so we’re still in schedule, and in U.S hopefully Q1, maybe beginning of Q2, so that’s the goal at the moment.
Paul: Fantastic, so if you’re taking pre-orders it means you have a price too.
Krisjian: So it’s gonna start from $999, and there’s going to be two different models. One is more basic model, and one has all the bells and whistles. All bells and whistles is going to be $1,399.
Paul: How big is the battery on the bigger one?
Krisjian: 675W I think, I might be mistaken with a few watt hours.
Paul: Yeah so that’s in the Ninebot max ballpark.
Krisjian: The goal was to build a vehicle that really takes you from A to B, and if sometimes you need to fold it, you can of course fold it as well, but I wouldn’t call it the last mile vehicle, it’s The Vehicle. So the goal is that it really takes you from home to work, and from work to home, and to the pub, or to your friends, and back home. Or to the skate park, or to the yacht club, it’s so good! We have more coming, we have more coming.
Paul: Awesome, we’ll look forward to it, we love that video.
Krisjian: Thank you so much.
Paul: All right I’m gonna go for a ride now.