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.
When I first covered the scooter, I called it one of the best designed options on the market. And nearly a year later I still stand by that description. 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 is one of the only electric scooters in the world designed and built in-house, and it shows.
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. While that range isn’t groundbreaking by itself, the removable battery is still a rarity in this industry.
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!
The world’s energy system is ‘no longer fit for purpose,’ says energy council chief
Wind power generation and shoal aquaculture are seen at a demonstration base of coastal shoal industry in Yancheng City, East China’s Jiangsu province, May 16, 2023. (Photo credit should read Lu Hongjie / CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Lu Hongjie | Future Publishing | Getty Images
The world’s energy system is no longer “fit for purpose,” according to World Energy Council CEO Angela Wilkinson, who alluded to lackluster momentum toward a planned green energy transition.
“The most recent pulse from April shows that the world energy system is no longer fit for purpose,” Wilkinson told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” Wednesday, in reference to the findings from her organization’s Energy Pulse reports which offer snapshots of trends across the energy ecosystem.
The council’s most recent report forecasts that around half of the global energy system will still not be electrified by 2050, which would mark a blow to many governments’ net-zero pledges.
“The concern from most energy leaders is [that] the pace of change is too slow to keep us on track for the Paris Agreement,” she continued. The report cited 64% of global energy leaders sharing their concerns.
The world’s governments agreed in the 2015 Paris climate accord to limit global heating to well below 2 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The slow pace of the planned energy transition could be attributed to stresses on energy capacities and security even before the coronavirus pandemic, Wilkinson said.
Following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, global energy markets have also been impacted by a series of setbacks: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe’s decision to decouple from Russian hydrocarbons and a looming global recession. Which has caused energy markets, and the global system, to tread a fine balance.
“We are trying to grow [and] build a double size energy system to meet demand, [and] at the same time, decarbonize the energy system faster than ever before,” Wilkinson told CNBC.
Taxes an impossible feat?
The planned journey to net zero has been underpinned by a variety of toolkits aimed at shifting energy mixes away from fossil fuels toward zero or low-emissions energy sources. One approach is the adoption of carbon taxes, which is a fee levied on greenhouse gas emitters for each ton of carbon they emit.
Forty-six countries are pricing emissions by means of carbon taxes or other emissions trading programs, according to data last year from the International Monetary Fund.
“A global carbon tax would just be impossible to administer,” Wilkinson said. “There’s no such thing as a true market price of energy, or a true market price of carbon, because you’ve got subsidies, you’ve got regulations, you’ve got very uneven economies and playing fields.”
The importance of the tax lies in its price signaling mechanism for both investors and consumers, she added. “There is a cost of carbon that needs to be borne by societies … so the signal’s important.”
NIO sets YTD order intake record after new ES6 launch in May
NIO’s new ES6 already looks to be a key factor as the EV maker looks to expand its brand and compete in the booming Chinese electric vehicle market. According to Morgan Stanley, NIO hit a new year-to-date order intake record aided by the launch of the second-generation ES6.
After launching what many consider its most important model to date two weeks ago with its second-gen ES6 electric SUV, NIO has seen increased interest in the brand.
Although NIO was the only major EV maker in China to see a monthly sales decline in May, delivering 6,155 models (down 8% from April), the company has a plan to turn things around… and it already looks to be paying off.
Although the ES6 has been the company’s top seller since launching in 2018 as a more affordable option to the ES8, NIO knew it was time for an upgrade.
The EV maker is focusing on its NT 2.0 EV platform vehicles, including the recently launched EC7, second-generation ES8, ET5, and ES7 models. All NT 2.0 models are built on the NIO Adam supercomputer using four Nvidia DRIVE Orin system-on-chips (SoCs).
New ES6 boosts NIO’s order intake to record YTD high
A research report released last week from the Chinese consumer behavior research agency CarFans highlighted consumer behavior in NIO stores within the first 72 hours of launching (May 24 to May 27) the new ES6.
The report found each NIO store received 90 pre-orders on average, with around 20 confirmations that included a down payment.
With roughly 330 stores, that’s around 29,700 pre-orders or 6,600 confirmations. For just three days, that’s pretty impressive for a premium SUV.
Although the cancellation rate is expected to be around 10%, the new ES6 is already leading to a new order intake record for the year, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Tim Hsiao (via CnEVPost).
In a research note on June 5, Hsiao said the firm had been tracking feedback from startups’ major sales channels in Tier 1 cities since last year to analyze the market. The team shared data that confirmed the new ES6 accounted for 35% to 40% of new orders in May, suggesting a meaningful impact on inflow as it launched in the final week of the month.
NIO’s overall traffic at flagship stores rose 30% to 40% month-over-month, with momentum continuing into early June. The new ES6 is NIO’s cheapest electric SUV, starting at RMB 368,000 ($51,614).
Meanwhile, the team said that despite customer traffic at the stores it tracks returning to levels seen this February, they are still “20% below last September’s level when the company rolled out ET5.”
Vineyard Wind 1’s first turbine blades arrive in the US
The first turbine blades for Vineyard Wind 1, the US’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm, have arrived at the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal in Massachusetts.
The $3.5 billion offshore wind farm will feature 62 GE Haliade-X 13-megawatt (MW) turbines spaced one nautical mile apart. The first turbine blades – each one 107 meters (351 feet) long – arrived at the Port of New Bedford (pictured above) from GE’s production site in Nazaire, France, on the heavy load vessel Rolldock Sky. (And no, it’s not lost on us, either, that wind turbine blades arrived on a fossil fuel vessel. May we collectively resolve that ironic problem ASAP.)
The turbine sections will be assembled at the terminal before they’re shipped out and installed this summer.
The 800 MW Vineyard Wind 1 is 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket and 35 miles from mainland Massachusetts. It’s a 50-50 joint venture between clean energy company Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) funds CI II and CI III.
Vineyard Wind I will supply clean energy for over 400,000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts and reduce carbon emissions by over 1.6 million tons per year. It’s expected to come online at the end of 2023.
Read more: This US offshore wind farm is piloting a bubble curtain – what it is and why it’s cool
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