The year was 2015. The city was the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Two men had a vision to create an entirely new vehicle segment. Jurgis Lečas (now the CEO) and Artūras Mikalauskas (now the CTO) formed AKO in 2016.
Lečas tells Auto Futures: “The AKO Trike was developed from the perspective of a motorcycle. At the beginning it was all about car drivers who simply are less satisfied with their daily drives. Motorcycles, on the other hand, provide way more excitement and fun for the rider. But, when you have children, you kind of have to put that ‘satisfaction hobby’ away.”
“This was mainly the reason why we started looking at leaning alternatives on three wheels that could provide similar physical-footprint at the same time as keeping the satisfaction factor the same. What we saw was a completely poor vehicle segment, so we jumped right on it,” he adds.
The AKO Trike’s leaning system which allows it to lean into curves, mimicking motorcycles. The team developed it based on pure mechanics.
Lečas explains: “We submitted the patent for such system. In practice it works like this – at lower speeds you can control the vehicle just like any regular car – you steer the steering wheel and it steers the wheels. When you get to a bit higher speeds, the manoeuvrability becomes a bit more fun – you start tilting the whole steering shaft to either left or right, and the vehicle body, together with the driver, leans to that direction.”
Safe And Sustainable
In terms of green credentials, the trike features two seats plus additional space for luggage but it keeps its physical footprint is two times smaller than a regular car. Equipped with an electric motor, it offers an estimated range of over 300 km in one charge.
“Sustainability is not about being electric only anymore, it is about building and designing something from within your heart, and in the meantime making sure that every core decision is aimed at a better future for the whole world,” says Lečas.
In May, 2020, the AKO team announced that it’s working on a second prototype of the trike.
“As it has a fully closed body, airbags and 4-point seatbelt it is way safer compared to a motorcycle. The safety testing and additional crash-tests are definitely on the list in the future development.”
For the overcrowded cities themselves, we will probably see extremely interesting means of transportation.
Lečas tells us that they’re discussing possible partnerships with well-known brands to prepare the series production. But the first customer deliveries is still a couple of years away.
“A lot of development has to be made. If the financing goes according to plan, we should be able to deliver first fully working units by 2022.”
When asked about his vision for urban mobility by the year 2030. Lečas said the AKO team members are not keen on speculating. But he offered up the following optimistic opinions.
“It is pretty clear that the cities are already crowded by big vehicles, meaning that as the population will increase, the cities will probably have to take extra measures to start blocking certain parts of the cities from 4-seated cars and eventually whole cities. I myself see a huge opportunity here as micro-mobility is already playing a huge role in our cities today.
Lečas concludes: “The regular cars will probably have separate spaces a bit away from the cities to be only used for going greater distances to the other cities or recreational places. And, for the overcrowded cities themselves, we will probably see extremely interesting means of transportation, where AI driven vehicles will take a huge role synchronistically with the micro-mobility solutions.”