Interview with Rafał Budweil, CEO of Triggo, after its IPO

Triggo just completed its IPO at a $60 million valuation. Interest is greatest in Asia, especially India, the Middle East, the UK, Germany and France. The firm already has a memorandum of understanding with the government of Singapore, for example, which sees Triggo as an excellent solution for its emergency services, whose first responders need to cut through traffic but who find motorcycles inherently unsafe for such roles.

BPCC’s Michael Dembinski: The genius of the Triggo.City lies in its retracting front axle, that can quickly change from car width (148cm/5ft) to motorbike width (86cm/2ft9in) when on the move. How did you come up with the idea?

Budweil: Triggo’s narrow two-seat tandem cabin coupled to its variable-geometry wheel track allow it to move at slow speeds through the jams in manouevre mode; stability is needed at higher speeds, and this is where the magic happens – the wheels extend as Triggo speeds up. You need more space around you to go fast. My ‘eureka moment’ was realising that variable geometry is the answer to balancing the need for stability at high speed vs nimbleness in heavy traffic – which is slow, therefore a narrow track becomes sufficient. Triggo can be both stable and agile as traffic conditions demand.

In manoeuvring mode, speed is limited to 35km/h (22mph), fast enough for traffic moving at a crawl. In cruise mode, it’s as stable as a car; once the traffic loosens up a bit, push a button, and when rolling along, the wheels extend out in under a second. Now you can drive at up to 90km/h (56mph). In both modes, you can lean the Triggo into turns, like a motorbike.

Powered by a 15kW electric motor, Triggo offers a solution to our planet’s urban mobility problems. The world’s cities are choking on and clogged up by fossil-fuel-powered cars which are nearly always too big for the task they carry out daily – usually carrying a single occupant, occasionally two, rarely more, into the city centre from the suburbs.

Triggo is safer than a scooter or motorbike. I’ve had three motorbike accidents in my life – none have been my fault. I am conscious of the fact that right now, there’s someone out there whose life will have been saved in future because they were driving a Triggo rather than riding a motorbike at the same place and same time when that inevitable accident happens. And a Triggo is more comfortable, especially in winter or on rainy days – in this respect it’s as comfortable and convenient as a car.

The philosophy behind Triggo is that it should be uncomplicated and reliable, light and cheap – and yet the magic is there, driven by the latest technology. Twelve microcomputers manage the vehicle’s handling; this is ‘drive-by-wire’ – there are no mechanical connectors between the steering wheel and driving wheels. A central hinge creates what is in effect an articulated vehicle, the front wheels lean into corners, the rear wheels are powered by the electric motor. Software allows the driver to dial in their own preferences for driving style – from hard and sporty like a Porsche 911, to a more  laid-back, softer ride, like in an American cruiser.

BPCC: What’s your business model – how do you intend to get Triggo to as many markets as possible as quickly as possible?

From the outset, we have foreseen the licensing of our patented technology to manufacturers around the world. With ongoing discussions with several potential partners, prospects for a swift lift-off look good. We’re selling Mobility as a Service (MaaS); solutions for cities. It’s much easier to sell a fleet of 500 Triggos to a single operator than to sell the same number to 500 individual clients, each of whom will want to be specifying their vehicle to their individual taste. It was a conscious business decision to move forward this way.

Our strength lies in our patents, which cover countries that between them are home to half of mankind, 4 billion people – well, 3.95 billion to be exact. This is a product that has the potential to unjam our metropolitan areas globally; no one else has a vehicle like Triggo.

BPCC: How do you see the ongoing switch from petrol- or diesel-powered cars to ones powered by electricity?

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