Is it really possible to build a sustainable and environmentally responsible e-scooter? By the looks of it, yes it is. That’s why we met Kaja Aulik from Äike to find out whether their ambition was not yet another greenwashing campaign.
Hello Kaja, can you tell us how you came up with the idea of building a “green” scooter at Äike?
The story of Äike started seven years ago when three engineers who dabbled in student formula car engineering got together. Together they realized that the internal combustion engine would soon no longer be the future of mobility, but that all innovation would have to be electric. After their initial success in creating electric modules and studying the market for light vehicles, they discovered that 100% of electric scooters are made in China and that they only have a life span of a few months. They combined their experience as engineers and electric vehicle software developers to create a mode of transport that valued safety and improved sustainability.
When we look at free-floating companies, they say they are all 100% carbon neutral, but that is impossible… How do you go about producing without polluting?
Äike is manufactured in Estonian factories, powered 100% by renewable energy (wind, solar), and the vast majority of the supply chain (except batteries) comes from Estonia or neighbouring countries. We try to use recycled materials as much as possible. When the scooters reach the end of their life, we also offer to take back the vehicles as we can recycle them up to 92%. *We definitely don’t claim to have cracked the code of being fully sustainable, but we know we are are on the right track.
Does your company really do everything in its power to make Äike as green as possible?
We are honest about what we can do because we want to fight greenwashing. When you look at free-floating companies, they all say they are 100% carbon neutral, but that is impossible. We try to make every decision possible to make our scooter as green as possible, but there are areas for improvement. We try to be very honest with that. However, we can say that Äike is the most “green” machine on the market and we work to make this scooter as recyclable as possible.
Beyond the manufacturing, can Äike be easily repaired?
Äike is a smart scooter. Thanks to a module connected to the vehicle, it is possible to analyse the problem remotely and repair certain problems without having to transport the vehicle. Many faults can be fixed by a simple update.
The scooter is over 1,500 euros… Despite its ecological advantages, aren’t you afraid that consumers will be put off a little?
This scooter can be bought to replace a scooter or another vehicle, but we do admit that there may be a bit of an initial shock when it comes to the price. When our users see the durability of the model, the improved safety, and the extended warranty, they realise that it is worth it and they are convinced. Because Äike is not just an e-scooter, we also provide after-sales service. Our loyal fans see that it’s not just a gadget so the price is very justified.
So what are some more advantages of the Äike over its competitors?
It is much more robust, the design is extremely safe, ergonomic and it can even be driven with one hand. Made for the Estonian climate, it can easily withstand sub-zero temperatures and can be ridden on rain or snow. *This is a true transport vehicle, not just a toy.
Where can you find it?
Mostly on the Internet. Last August, we also opened a showroom in Paris on rue de Rivoli so that future buyers could test the product before buying it.
Check out the original article in French here.