Mike Kakogiannakis of Dubuc Motors Interviewed by FastStuff

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Dubuc Motors is a new car manufacturer based in Quebec, Canada that has shaken the world of electric cars recently with its first model called “Tomahawk”. Dubuc is one of the first companies of the kind to succeed in a crowdfunding campaign of this scale, and in the same time a true pioneer in the field of automotive design and hopefully manufacturing as well. While the people of Dubuc Motors are feverishly preparing for the actual release of its sports car in the market, one of its two founders and the Chief Operating Officer of the company was kind enough to give us an exclusive interview and tell us a few things about Tomahawk and how he envisions its placement into the market of today, and tomorrow.

Tell us a few things about you, when and how you decided to found Dubuc Motors, and what your role is in the company right now.

I’m of Greek origin, father of two wonderful children who previously ran our family owned commercial printing company. Nearly 20 years ago I was introduced to who is today my business partner, we shared the same passion for cars with a like-minded idea of what the ultimate sportscar should look like. Mario had the expertise and engineering skills to bring ideas to life, what started as a hobby in his garage soon mounted to be an undeniable work of marvel. We had built several prototypes and validated our findings which proved to be successful. In 2013 we chose to dedicate ourselves full time in launching our venture and unveil our product, we founded Dubuc Motors and the following year we showcased the Tomahawk sportscar at two International Auto Shows. I had invested early on in real estate and along with Mario’s capital we were able to bootstrap this startup which has been self-funded ever since, I now serve as Chief Operating Officer in the company.

About a year ago, you started a crowdfunding campaign to acquire the required funds to build your first electric car. The campaign was a huge success, so what do you think was the most important factor for this?

The Tomahawk is a very sexy product, it appeals to the masses and people understand the importance of “going green”. Our extensive market research and the technological innovations brought forth in the Tomahawk played a huge role with the traction we have gained. The Tomahawk represents the future and the future is now, investors see the potential in our market space and appreciate the sound business plan we have presented them going forward.

Your first car is the Tomahawk, a purely electric-powered sports vehicle which boasts impressive road performance figures. Why did you decide to aim for the more “niche” market of sports car instead of going for “an electric car for the masses” approach?

It’s crucial to understand competition and market demand, our research demonstrates clearly that the future of the automotive industry will be fully electric. We chose to always address niche markets within our space and steer clear of the big automaker’s reach, this makes for a viable and profitable business with an easier entry to market without the intense capital traditionally required. Tesla and company are addressing the need of an electric vehicle for the masses, we chose to complement their product line rather than compete with them.

Electric car manufacturers nowadays compete on the most pioneering and innovative field, so everyone is demonstrating highly advanced technologies. That said, why would someone choose a Dubuc Motors Tomahawk instead of a Tesla Model S or a Faraday FF91, or even cars from more “traditional” manufacturers like Nissan and Toyota?

The Tomahawk incorporates the latest technologies and even though performances are quite similar to that of a Tesla Model S, its exotic and luxurious look put it in a class of its own. Important to note that the Tomahawk caters to the big and tall and offers 2 extra seats which has never been done before making it now accessible for people who previously wanted an exotic vehicle but couldn’t get into one. The typical Tomahawk consumer is a trendy, urban and cosmopolitan coastal city customer between 25–65 years of age, more specifically the successful entrepreneur, wealthy person who wants a high-end sports car. It’s a show stopper and can’t compare to electric models from the traditional manufacturers especially with its $100K+ price tag.

Batteries are admittedly the greatest bottleneck, but your car seems to manage this bottleneck quite well, featuring a max range of 370 miles on a single charge. How do you manage this impressive feat from a technical and technological perspective?

Range depends on the number of cells we can incorporate within the vehicle, battery density is also a factor nonetheless since the Tomahawk is wider and longer than traditional vehicles it allows for more cells hence accounting for an extremely good range which we anticipate will be even higher for the production vehicle.

The world is still not ready for 100% electric cars as there are not many recharging station networks available in most countries, and although the situation in the US tends to be different, the country is still vast and difficult to cover adequately. Canada is even harder I reckon. Do you think this adverse factor will soon be dealt with? Is Dubuc planning to do something on this part?

Again going back to the niche market we target, our customers for the most part have or will have a charging unit in their home making an overnight charge possible. Although charging stations are readily available in North America, they are also starting to be implemented by governments worldwide making for a bigger and better infrastructure. Having said that, we expect to have a higher range than we do with our prototype and we believe it’s more than enough for the average consumer’s daily commute. We do not intend in being an active player in this space.

If you find the Tomahawk to be as jaw-dropping as we do, know that you can reserve your own today at a price of $5k, while the total cost of the vehicle will be formed at $125k.

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I'm an engineer with a passion for writing about new technologies and the ways they shape our world and amplify our very existence.