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Pentti Airaksinen, on board a Sledgo vehicle.
Pentti Airaksinen, on board a Sledgo vehicle.

SledGO – a vehicle for a new age

Electric bikes and electric cars now receive plenty of attention, but there is also a need for a smart form of eco-friendly mobility that fits between these two. SledGO, developed by Oulu-based Pintone Oy, fills this gap and gives a foretaste of how people can get around smartly for shopping, commuting or leisure.

According to its developer, Pentti Airaksinen, SledGO has been at the conceptual stage for years. With support from Oulun Energia, the prototypes of the vehicle were finally completed, and now the search for a longer-term funding partner is on, to get production underway.

“The goal of the SledGO project was to create a light electric vehicle for urban use. As population centres everywhere grow, they are going to have increasing logistical problems, not all of which can be solved by public transport. With the aim of reducing the use of fossil-based energy, the all-electric SledGO is in many ways a sought-after and contemporary concept,” Airaksinen says.

Effortless travel in any weather

There is no direct precursor or competitor to the SledGO product family anywhere. In addition, few of of the new small vehicles have been tested in the hard and ever-changing Nordic climate circumstances.

Miljöö-innovaatiotuki, Penrri Airaksinen, SledGo, Oulun EnergiaPentti Airaksinen is behind the innovation of SledGO.

“We've test-driven a prototype of the vehicle all year round, from the Talvikangas suburb of Oulu to the city centre and back every working day, in all weather conditions. And it’s worked well, even though some days the temperature was as cold as -30°C. In other respects, too, the first versions of the SledGO have lived up to expectations. When we surveyed people’s opinions about this type of transportation and the need for it, we received around 8,000 responses, of which more than 6,000 were very positive.”

Commercial potential is a must

According to Airaksinen, the general attitude towards different forms of e-mobility is becoming more and more positive. Developing and commercialising innovations is not easy, however.

“I have a long background in industrial product development, automation and robotics, so I know what’s involved in bringing ideas to market. And although it is a climate-friendly vehicle that improves urban mobility, getting the SledGO on the market is no easy feat. But we’ve got very far already – we have met the technical and legal requirements, and our subcontracting chain is also in place. So we’re certainly further ahead than many other innovators. After all, if you have a great idea, you should try to make it a reality.”

An electric car, Oulu-style

Although the SledGO has yet to conquer the world, Airaksinen’s team is also developing a genuine electric car from Oulu.

“We have big plans, and there have already been discussions about the electric car with the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom and the Ministry of the Environment. At this stage, this is a self-funded project to develop a lighter electric car suitable for urban conditions, with a speed limit of between 80 and 100 km/h.  So instead of challenging sports cars in terms of performance, the aim is to offer an alternative that is convenient, affordable and environmentally friendly.”