As 2020 drew to a close I found myself reflecting on the recent past and all those little situations–the circumstances and decisions that shape and inform our present. As an entrepreneur, focused on electric car adoption and sales since 2013 I found myself reflecting on my personal why and the motivation to keep going in the midst the most personally challenging year of my existence. I found myself reflecting on the why as applied to my latest venture, Electric Vehicle Network and why now? Why was I feeling a certain sense of urgency towards my life, my work, my purpose?
As it so often manifests, these three little whys are dynamic and multilayered. Mine can be broken down into three digestible portions for simplicity’s sake.
Why EV entrepreneurship?
OK I’ll admit it, I’m an accidental entrepreneur! Before we opened Canada’s premier electric car store, my friend and soon to business partner John Gordon and I mused about what it would take to earn a measure of success. I was a busy professional at the time, ramping up an otherwise progressive engineering career designing and managing green building and renewable energy projects. Although I enjoyed the technical, intellectual, and environmental outcomes of my work, otherwise buttoned down office life was eating away at me and my motivation. I found myself constantly daydreaming about making a bigger impact!
As the summer of 2013 drew to a close Green Rock E.V.S. (Electric Vehicle Solutions) was born in foggy old St. John’s, NL. Green Rock became a relatively successful niche dealership, exclusively selling electric cars, plug-in hybrids and charging accessories. As Canada’s first electric car store, we got a lot of high praise and great press!
Pic 1. EV Net VP, Sales & Customer Experience, Johnny Beckett, @ Green Rock EVS, 2015
Pic 2. EV Net VP, Operations, John Gordon, with David Suzuki, @ Green Rock EVS, 2015
I was advising John in a technical capacity but as minority owner, I found myself drawn more and more towards the sales and strategic ends of the business. I was falling in love with what sales professionals’ call needs development. In short, found my motivation–helping everyday Canadians on the road to driving electric!
That same drive has not only sustained me, it has transformed me! I found myself volunteering for nearly every educational and ride and drive event throughout Atlantic Canada. I’ve traveled the world meeting some of the most interesting people that continue to define this movement. It’s events like these that brought about the inception of EVAAC, the Electric Vehicle Association of Atlantic Canada. Collectively, we’ve positioned the cause firmly in the limelight, recently exceeding 1000 members. Today, I continue to sit on the Board of Directors along with some of the most talented change makers in the country!
Pic 3. Johnny Beckett (center), @ PC Fast DC Launch, Spryfield, NS March 2020 (pre COVID-19)
Why Electric Vehicle Network?
Electric Vehicle Network is a used car dealer on a mission! That mission is none other than making electric cars accessible and affordable for folks who are looking for that better driving experience, lower operating cost, and reduced environmental footprint.
Founded in 2018, we quickly established ourselves as a one stop shop for driving electric by acquiring high quality electric cars and plug-in hybrids from all over North America (including US Imports); reconditioning them for rental and resale through a rigorous inspection process. Through hard work, and yes–some blood sweat and tears along with the way we have not only survived the onslaught of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and its very real impact on our business but managed to close our first seed capital investment with new partners, EV Angels Inc. based in Ontario!
This investment, worth $500,000 Canadian will further fund our unique technology driven approach to mass electric car adoption, including a fully contactless 24/7 online renting and purchasing experience. We also plan on expanding our presence in Atlantic Canada, including charging up our St. John’s, NL location, not far from the original Green Rock location.
Myself along with my partners, Darryl Croft and John Gordon have created a business model centered firmly on handling the customer with the utmost of care and transparency. What we have built is a no pressure, consultative approach to sales designed from the ground up to scale big!
This enterprise is all about providing a way for consumers of any background to access, experience and ultimately purchase high quality certified pre-owned electric cars. Focused on equity, our consumers can try any model while earning credit towards the model of their dreams.
Although used electric cars are harder to track, the latest official sales data from Statistics Canada puts total new zero-emission vehicle sales at just 3.50%. Given our CO2 commitments, we must do better!
I’ve always felt an urgency to respond to the current climate crisis. Given my passion and past involvement with renewable energy and electric cars coupled with the lasting threat of SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 it causes, how could one not see the correlations. The interplay between each other and their mutual effects on shaping future consumer behaviour. That same behavior can also be harnessed to drive mass adoption.
Consumer autonomy has been a staple for awhile now. Brands such as Turo, Airbnb, and Carvana Co. to name a few have exploded. Putting consumers in charge of a sharing or business process is empowering. Furthermore, it’s also the most efficient way to scale in a fast growing market.
The founders believe…
…we can harness the power of consumer autonomy and apply it to electric cars!
…in putting as many butts in seats as possible, driving mass adoption!
…in an honest, transparent process that cares for the consumer!
All for now, stay tuned for more content!
Find me on Facebook & Facebook Marketplace, @Johnny Beckett – EV Sales Agent at Electric Vehicle Network Inc. EV Net.
Johnny Beckett, CALE, CET, LEED AP
VP, Sales & Customer Experience
Electric Vehicle Network Inc.