Last summer I had the chance to test out the European designed and manufactured electric scooter Äike T at its world debut launch. As one of the first-ever test riders, I didn’t quite know what to expect. But after checking it out and doing my first few parking lot donuts, I knew this would be something special. Now nearly a year later, the Äike T is finally coming to the US via a new subscription service known as Tempo.
The Äike T is one of the first partners of Tempo, a new electric mobility subscription platform led by the founder of e-scooter pioneer Scoot, Michael Keating.
The subscription service is first launching in San Francisco, but the team behind the 20 mph (32 km/h) Äike T electric scooter expect to expand further around the US in the coming year.
As part of the exclusive partnership with Tempo, Äike customers can subscribe to the company’s award-winning Äike T scooter on a month-to-month or annual basis.
The Äike T is a groundbreaking electric scooter in a number of ways.
First, it is entirely developed and produced in Europe, bucking the industry trend of relying on Chinese off-the-shelf parts and assembly for nearly all other electric scooters.
It was also built by the team behind Comodule, the connectivity platform that powers countless electric mobility products from e-bikes like SUPER73s to high-end CAKE electric motorcycles. That gives the Äike T industry-leading connectivity for features like GPS tracking for anti-theft as well as telemetrics that communicate between riders’ phones and their scooters.
The scooter can be locked remotely by the rider and even disabled remotely, removing any resale value in a stolen scooter (and hopefully eventually making the scooters unattractive to thieves once word gets out that they can’t be used or resold).
Riders can also control features like the regenerative braking intensity, which is used to recharge the battery and add more support to the sealed drum brakes. Unlike disc brakes that fade when wet, the drum brakes could theoretically work just as well even submerged under water. And thanks to the waterproof design of the scooter, wet riding is entirely possible (though still not all that advisable… friction being what it is and all).
The scooter is one of only a handful on the market to include a removable battery, making it possible to swap out batteries to double a rider’s range or simply charge the battery inside while leaving the scooter locked outside or in a garage. The 583 Wh battery is rated for around 25 miles (40 km) per charge.
And speaking of charging, the Äike T is also the only electric vehicle in the world that can charge from a USB-C laptop charger, making it easy to top up the battery on the go even if riders didn’t bring their charger from home. Nearly any USB-C laptop charger will work, though the higher power 100W models will make the charging process quicker.
Äike CEO Kristjan Maruste explained that the US launch will hopefully help push the local e-scooter market forward:
As we kick off our North American launch in San Francisco, we think consumers will be shocked how different, and how fun, the Äike T e-scooter is compared to the mass-produced e-scooters currently flooding the U.S. market. With its sleek award winning design, user-friendly features, removable battery, and high customizability, having the Äike T now available on Tempo is an important stepping stone to converting the U.S. to high-quality electric scooters.
In terms of construction, the Äike T is built like a tank. Don’t let the elegant-looking single side-supported wheels fool you; the Äike T is rated for riders weighing up to 150 kg (330 lb.). I could stack five cases of beer on the spacious deck, sit on those to ride it, and still be under the weight limit.
That would probably work pretty well, too. The deck is designed to be wide enough to accomodate a rider with feet side-by-side, though I’m not sure why anyone would want to ride that way. Perhaps it’s because I’m used to riding electric skateboards, but having a forward and rearward point of contact on a deck just seems more stable to me so I can shift my weight while braking or accelerating. But if you like to ride your scooter like a bathroom scale, you can do it on the Äike T.
The scooter is also designed to handle potholes and rough road conditions that could shake other scooters to bits. The 11-inch wheels with automotive-style tubeless pneumatic tires and rims help to upgrade that durability and longevity. The hub motor is rated at 350W nominal, though puts out 1,000W of peak power. The top speed in the US is limited to 20 mph (32 km/h). While at the launch, I asked Maruste what the true top speed was if the scooter was unlocked. With a sly smile he replied, “Much faster.”
I don’t expect that riders will be given that option to unlock the speed, but it shows that the scooter is built to handle much more than its likely use case, meaning riders won’t have to worry about longevity. But of course that’s one of the advantages to subscription services anyway, that riders don’t have to worry about as many of the hassles of conventional ownership. They also get the chance to use higher-quality machines than they might not otherwise be able to afford to buy outright. Subscription prices for the Äike T start at US $75 per month in the US, compared to the scooter’s purchase price in Europe of between €1,400 to €2,000 (US $1,500 to $2,150), depending on the model.
Keating further expanded on the subscription model:
At Tempo, we believe we can all have freedom of movement while protecting our communities and our planet. By offering electric bikes and scooters on a subscription basis, we are opening up electric mobility to millions of new riders. To show the world how great this can be, we are launching our service with the world’s best performing, best designed, and most technologically advanced scooter: the Äike T.
The Äike T is by far one of the nicest electric scooters I’ve ever tested, and seeing the engineering that went into its design makes it that much more beautiful, inside and out. To see it finally come stateside is an exciting day! They’re also just a really fun company that takes a huge amount of pride in their work. They even put their own employees in the marketing images. That’s the CEO in the old-timey bathing suit at the top of this article, and the head of growth in the next two pictures.
But as nice as the scooter is, the subscription model is a really cool addition to this story since most electric scooter riders aren’t chomping at the bit to lay down nearly two g’s for a scooter.
Other premium electric scooter models like Unagi have found major success with a subscription model, and it certainly makes sense in cities like San Francisco, New York, and other major metropolitan areas where so many trips can easily be completed by a scooter, yet many younger workers are living on tighter budgets stretched even thinner due to high rents and a soaring cost of living.
Here’s to hoping that we’ll see Äike expand even further around the US soon!