Canadian Startup Eyes Online Sales Model For Electrified Vehicles

EVEN Electric is aiming to become the worldwide online source for sales of electric cars and hybrids through its new web-based sales platform.

The Toronto-based Canadian auto retailer has launched its platform and online showroom designed to move new and used green car sales transactions away from traditional dealer lots. The retailer plans to sell new and used cars from competing brands in a business model similar to popular auto retailers such as Cars.com and Autotrader.com.

The three founders of EVEN, and auto industry observers, see a level of friction between dealers and car shoppers on plug-in electrified vehicle and hybrid sales with growing market opportunities for a startup to fill the void.

“The traditional dealership model has proven unable to deliver the sales and service experience that EV owners want and need,” said Mike Elwood, EVEN’s CEO and co-founder of Electric Mobility Canada, a national electric car advocacy organization. “The old model is antiquated in the way they make their money.”

Elwood has been joined by Gisli Gislason, chairman and founder, who was also the founder of Northern Lights Energy Holding. Gislason has worked on several pilot projects on new says of selling electric cars at concept stores. John Gordon, COO and co-founder, has been operating Green Rock E.V.S., a multi-brand electric car dealership in service center in Newfoundland, since 2013.

Gordon has found the traditional role of dealerships not seeing as much demand with PEVs. One of these roles has been in providing vehicle service. With PEVs requiring little service compared to gas-engine vehicles, there hasn’t been that business in this department. On many days, his Green Rock E.V.S. service center has no bookings or work for his mechanics.

Gislason has been overseeing a one-year pilot with an EVEN Electric concept store in Iceland. The test store continues to operate and is looking at establishing similar stores in the U.S., several parts of Canada, and other countries, similar to the Tesla retail store model.

SEE ALSO: Ontario Canada Takes Leading Role With Up To $10,000-Plus EV Subsidies

EVEN may need to secure an auto dealer license in Ontario to comply with the province’s regulations. While the startup company sees itself as an online retailer and not a dealer, the Ontario government may require registration with the Ontario Motor Vehicles Industry Council.

Microsoft is providing EVEN with software to enable customers to gain information on the cars for sale, compare vehicles, scan through inventories of available vehicles, and place their vehicle purchase order. The Canadian company is also working with EVoCharge, a Los Angeles-based supplier of PEV charging infrastructure products including its EVoReel cable management solutions.

The Globe and Mail