EVEN Electric may be based in Ottawa, Ontario, but it has its sights set on selling electric vehicles from multiple brands worldwide. The sales and distribution network — not a dealership — will have new and pre-owned EVs available via centralized processing centers in several countries. Buyers order their car online, and it will be shipped from the nearest processing center to a local Customer Center, or even your house.
The idea is to reduce the overhead required when there’s a stand-alone dealership in every city. With the EVEN model, the inventory is more mobile, depending on demand, and the customer isn’t required to interact with a guy in a horrible tie. Microsoft has partnered with EVEN to provide the backend technology that allows buyers to compare vehicles, check the current inventory at processing centers, and place an order.
The pilot project for the EVEN model took place in Iceland last year, where according to a press release 100 cars were sold and an additional 200 orders were left unfulfilled due to lack of supply. Additional real-world retail experience comes from John Gordon, one of EVEN’s three co-founders, who has been running a multi-maker EV dealership in Canada since 2013. The company is now working with Canada, Norway, Panama, Ireland, Belgium, and the United Kingdom to bring the EVEN experience to buyers.
You’ll notice that the United States is not on that list. Given how testy the traditional dealerships have been about Tesla’s direct-from-the-manufacturer retail model of sales, a multi-maker non-dealership model is going to be a challenge here.
EVEN does have one wheel in the door in the States. It’s partnered with EVoCharge, a Los Angeles company that makes products for the EV charging infrastructure industry. But while a retractable cable reel, which EVoCharge makes, is handy for a charging station, it’s not a processing center with dozens of EVs on hand waiting for buyers.
The laws regarding who can sell vehicles and how, and the culture around car sales, will have to undergo a major overhaul before a company like EVEN Electric might try to crack the US market.