How this team is changing the future of mobility
Late in 2011, the founder of Ako had an idea, and with hard work and an amazing team he ended up turning it into reality 8 years later.
Artūras saw the Mercedes Benz Lifejet concept and a few days later came up with an idea on how to make it simpler & way more effective. His vision was clear:
“How the mobility of the future would look like, and how to improve the mobility of overcrowded places”.
But Artūras went further and during this discovery process, he also found an efficient solution for people with disabilities! With these two objectives in mind and a concept of a crazy idea, the brand ended up turning into a sustainable long-term project.
Gebidon team was really curious about this project and because Ako has it´s first prototype and had big plans for the future we thought it was a great time to meet the team. We ended up talking to them and we can be sure that this is not a normal brand.
Q. How you think Ako is going to change mobility?
When we were carrying out our investigation about the biggest problems with cars and motorbikes, we found that the most common problem are the traffic jams. On average, there are 1.2 people sitting in a regular 5-seated vehicle. That is 1.2 people in an 8 sq. meters vehicle.
Of course, bringing a new vehicle to the market does not solve the traffic jam problem, but it gives a good eco-friendly alternative for people. Our goal is not to build another car brand. We are building a vehicle that brings back the thrill of driving. We do this while solving other problems that concern everyday drivers while helping people with disabilities.
“How many drivers, sitting in a traffic jam, have seen the motorcycles maneuvering through the traffic & thought to themselves on how great that would be? But choosing a motorcycle over a car is removing safety, comfort & private space from your daily rides. We are changing that.”
Q. Can you tell us more about disability implementation?
About a year ago we received a sincere and touching request from one of the Lithuanian Hells Angels leaders. He was sitting in a wheelchair when he said: “Guys, please, make this available for people like me”.
We are developing a solution kit that would allow the disabled people to easily get in the vehicle, transfer all the control elements onto the steering-leaning wheel and bring the driving experience back for them.
Q. What is the first challenge to take this from prototype to established product?
The first challenge is to raise enough capital. Our market is a multi-billion dollar industry and entering the market for a startup like Ako is a huge challenge.
Prototyping, testing, modifying, testing — it all costs a lot, and even though we know how to manage funds effectively, it’s a huge challenge. However, every obstacle for us is just a stepping stone and we are building this because we truly believe in it.
Q. How you see the future of the company?
We see it as a journey! We started in a 12 sq meter garage and seeing these results, for us, is amazing. We feel passionate when we all come together and we get chills when discussing future growth. We see ourselves as the ones who prove the world that it is possible, no matter where you are from.
“We often ask ourserlves “why not?” and make it possible. The whole core-team is incredible.”
Q. What is the top feature?
We tend to bring the fun-factor to driving again. The way motorcycles are driven is that the driver maneuvering it with their body. The car driver, on the other hand, is sitting comfortably in a chair, using a steering wheel that in combination with power-steering allows the user to be in so-called god-mode where he can twist the wheels with only one-finger.
AKO lets you experience the thrill of riding, something that you experience when you are driving a motorcycle. And combining this experience with a closed roof, two chairs, electric motor, insanely good design & airbags…From a car. It is a synergy with the best of both worlds.
Q. What’s going to surprise people about Ako?
The futuristic look, the feeling while maneuvering with it & the performance itself. It is insane. By the way, Ako is an eco-friendly product that can achieve 300km/h which is a really big achievement in our niche.
Q. What is the next step for Ako?
MVP (or so-called Aesthetics prototype) as a current prototype is only a concept-proof prototype proving that the body leaning system works well. The next prototype will be all-electric, two seated with partial exterior elements & would completely let the test-user experience the feeling of riding it as well as allow us to do further tests.
With this prototype and 1:1 scale exterior model we aim to land in a few automotive events in 2020 thus gathering even more feedback from the test-users, media, and potential investors.