After riding the scooter, meeting the team that designed it, and touring the facility that built it, I can tell you that this is one of the best designed electric scooters I’ve ever laid eyes on, and here’s why.
The story of Äike
To understand the Äike T scooter, you first need to understand the origin story – I’ll try to be brief.
In 2014, a group of Estonian engineering students pursued and finally succeeded in designing and building electric race cars in international competitions. As fun as that was, they knew they wouldn’t really achieve much by driving fast cars in circles. The key to turning their electric vehicle development know-how into something that could benefit real people was a focus on smaller, lighter and more accessible vehicles, which led from high-speed electric race cars to utilitarian scooters that move people around cities.
He soon founded Comodule as an Internet of Things (IoT) company, now a leading provider of connectivity services for light electric vehicles. Many of the shared electric scooters on your street corner are likely to use Commodule’s technology for their connectivity and applications.
The team certainly hasn’t forgotten their racing heritage roots
After the founders started working with scooter sharing companies, they realised how short-lived most shared electric scooters were. To put it bluntly, the major scooter sharing companies use cheap, poorly made hardware and unsustainable manufacturing methods. Scooters regularly break down and are not easily repaired, so they are simply scrapped.
Kristjan Maruste, CEO of Comodule, decided to found Äike to build great scooters, do it in a sustainable way and use local European production that mostly relies on local materials.
They have already started using Commodule’s own in-house designed and built electric scooters from several sharing companies – about 3,500 of them are currently in use. They were so well built that within two years, only seven scooters had to be written off as they could not continue in service. Many other scooter companies write many units in a typical day, let alone several years.
While the team originally focused on shared scooters, Äike launched its first consumer scooter model last year. That scooter comes with a 10-year frame warranty and some of the best connectivity in the industry, developed during Commodule’s own long history of in-house software and hardware development.
The Äike T electric scooter, unveiled this morning, has taken all that experience and further refined the product with in-depth customer interviews and product design workshops that they believe is the world’s best electric scooter. After getting a sneak peak at the scooter to test it before the launch, I can see why the Äike team is proud. This is a really kickass scooter.
Check out the team’s hilarious launch video to see the highlights of the scooter. Stick around to the end of the video (it’s less than two minutes long) to see Kristjan put the Äike T’s water resistance to the serious test.
Äike T is built to last
Where can I start? The thing is built like a tank and almost all of its parts are made in Europe. Despite the elegant-searching single side-supported wheels, the Äike T is rated for riders weighing as much as a hundred and fifty kg (330 lb). I can stack five beer cases on the wide deck to ride it and still be within the weight limit.
That would probably work well. The deck is designed wide enough to accommodate a rider with feet side by side, though I’m not sure anyone would want to ride that way. Maybe it’s because I’m used to riding electric skateboards, but having a front and rear connection on the deck seems more stable to me so I can shift my weight when braking or accelerating. But if you want to ride your scooter like a bathroom scale, you can do it on the Äike T.
The scooter is designed to handle pot holes and rough road conditions that shake other scooters to bits. 11-inch wheels with automotive-style tubeless pneumatic tires and rims help renew that durability and longevity. The hub motor is rated at 350W nominal, although higher peak power figures can be put out.
Äike prides itself on its local production as the company explains:
Äike’s high-quality EU-based manufacturing and interchangeable parts make everything super sturdy to begin with, but also effortless to repair. As all our production is based in Europe, we are not as affected by global supply chain shortages and work diligently to extend vehicle life cycles as much as possible. At the heart of durability is our pride and joy – our sturdy aluminium and steel frame.
When I visited the factory the company was still awaiting the results of a waterproof certification lab on their initial scooters, but they are expecting to receive an IPX5 rating – meaning they can be ridden in rain or a stream (though you should always use caution when riding in wet conditions). Äike is tested to withstand operating in temperatures ranging from -17 to 35 ºC (1 to 95 ºF).
Locked inside the deck is a removable battery that has a capacity of 583 Wh and is rated for a range of 40 km (25 miles). There’s also a second, smaller built-in battery to run on-board devices like GPS theft tracking (more on that in a moment) when the battery is removed for charging.
And speaking of charging, there’s a USB-C port to charge the battery! This is a big deal and I have begged manufacturers to incorporate it into e-bikes and e-scooters.
A second charging port for a high-power accessory charger offers about four hours of fast charging time, while anyone with a USB-C laptop charger up to 100W should be able to store e-power into their Äike battery in 6-8 hours. No other proprietary chargers or connectors are required. For overnight fares or during the day at work, it’s fast enough.
Äike t electric scooter
To protect the scooter from sticky fingers, the scooter has IoT-enabled GPS anti-theft protection that starts locking the scooter and sounds a “loud and proud” alarm if the scooter is moved after parking.
The owner will be notified on his phone that the scooter has been tampered with. If it is still stolen by thieves, GPS can be used to recover the scooter.
Kristjan defined to me that the crew has “over 100% recuperation rate” on stolen cars so far.
Not only do they recover all of their stolen vehicles, but when they lead the police to the thief’s location, more stolen electric vehicles from other brands are often found on site and recovered.
The same app that offers GPS tracking has several user-customizable features. Speed can be controlled by the user (but is usually limited to a maximum of 25 km/h in the EU).
Kristjan says that the scooter actually has a higher speed based on its hardware, and I imagine if they enter the US market, they will offer a higher speed setting.
Riders can also control features like regenerative braking intensity, which is used to recharge the battery and add more support to the sealed drum brakes. Unlike disc brakes, which fade when wet, drum brakes theoretically work just as well when submerged under water.
Äike claims the Äike T has the shortest braking distance on the market. Other app features include connecting directly with customer support and accessing over-the-air (OTA) updates for the scooter and app.
For display, the scooter comes with a minimal colour-based display that gives a quick glance to gather information like speed and battery charge.
Riders who prefer more detailed information can use the app-based display to provide a full range of ride data and statistics. The user’s phone can be used with a quick disconnect device, which is attached to the top of the handlebar stem.
The scooter weighs a hefty 19 kg (41.8 lb), which folds up easily to toss in a car trunk or slide under a desk at work. The scooter is a bit heavy, but it has a low weight and thus felt very light during my test ride.
Picking it up reveals sheer weight, though this isn’t a scooter you’ll want to lug around all day. But then again, who carries a scooter that far? As long as you are relatively fit you can take a flight of stairs or two.
Starting today, the Äike T might be to be had for pre-order with a €sixty nine deposit. Final prices start at €999 (about US $1,025).
After spending a day checking out Scooter and Äike T facilities as well as talking with the team, it’s clear how proud everyone is of the company and the products they’ve built.
Äike is a real passion project of mine as I feel we are filling a huge gap in the micro mobility market. After 7 years in the industry, it’s crazy to me how the e-bike boom in Europe has brought about 5 million e-bikes a year with over 50% sold in Europe, but over a million e-scooters. are bought annually, in fact no one makes them in Europe. This has left e-scooters in the background as most of them are not sustainable, comfortable or safe.
Äike is here to change that. There is certainly a demand, and we are here to fulfil what they are looking for with a sustainable, durable, inclusive, IoT-connected, secure and truly outstanding version. We are currently in our launch phase, but since we control the entire process in-house, from design to manufacturing to delivery, we are well positioned to grow rapidly. Most of our supply chain comes within 2 hours of our factory. We manufacture our own electronics and assemble our own batteries.