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Electric Vehicles

The Electric Bikes Facing Off Against Putin’s War Machine

Delfast founder and CEO Daniel Tonkopi talks e-bikes in Ukraine and managing remotely during a military invasion.

Ukrainian fighters with a Delfast e-bike.

Ukrainian fighters with a Delfast e-bike.

Source: Daniel Tonkopi via Facebook

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When Daniel Tonkopi founded Delfast in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2014, he had no intention of building and selling electric bikes. He also never anticipated that his company would be caught up in a war with Russia or that his bikes would become military vehicles. But at 43, Tonkopi, a native of Almaty, Kazakhstan, now finds himself living in Los Angeles, running an e-bike company and remotely managing dozens of employees living in a war zone. In May, Tonkopi made headlines when he shared images on Facebook of Ukrainian fighters using Delfast bikes to carry anti-tank weapons to the front, demonstrating yet another use case for electrified two-wheelers.

“Our bikes are still working despite damages,” he told me on a video call earlier this month.