Evolve aims to provide an urban transportation makeover
Chris Peters, Contributing Writer
November 28, 2011
Filed under Features
Dealer support a top priority for electric vehicle maker
In this day and age of rapidly advancing technology, there is an equally growing appetite for the newest and most advanced, particularly with younger consumers. It seems almost impossible to keep up with the changing times, but one new company — Evolve Motorcycles — has made its mission to be ahead of the curve in order to help satisfy such an appetite.
“Evolve was really born out of the idea that myself and my partners had regarding current modes of urban transportation,” Evolve managing director Ben Plum said. “We see American cities as overly dependent on gasoline and we see an absence of a real alternative from the electric vehicle market — especially the two-wheeled electric vehicle market — to curb the gasoline dependence. We set out to deliver to the market a suitable two-wheeled, completely electric mode of transportation and so Evolve is our rethinking of American urban transport.”
Evolve launched its product line in October, featuring three all-electric motor scooters, manufactured in Jersey City, N.J.
Manufacturing its own product wasn’t always the plan for Evolve. The company had looked into importing electric motorcycles from Asia, but was unable to find a quality import. Because of that, Evolve started R&D for its own product in 2009.
“When it came time for us to create our own company, we decided to create a company that was based on the fundamentals of quality manufacturing in the United States, using the latest electric vehicle technology and really bringing to market something that was qualitatively different than anything else out there, but maintain a price point that would allow us to be a mass market product,” Plum said.
In addition to trying to fill the void in the two-wheeled electric vehicle market, Evolve has made dealer support a top priority.
Plum identified four pillars of Evolve’s dealer program that revolve around making sure dealers get appropriate margins on the product, providing an easy-to-access supply chain of spare parts for service, offering on-site training for service and use of the product, and helping dealers create a brand environment within their dealerships, as well as assisting in providing advertising content to help boost sales.
“We have a really robust program around dealer support and I think that’s really critical. When it comes to buying signage, we’re there to help the dealer to make sure that happens in a way that can ultimately grow sales for them,” Plum said.
Plum said the company has been setting its margins around 20 percent. He explained further why dealers should be interested in carrying Evolve’s product.
“The American consumer, we believe, is hungry for a modern, electric-based, two-wheeled vehicle that’s offered at an affordable price,” he said. “The idea of carrying a modern, forward-thinking brand that has the particular clean image and delivers a very stylish product will allow dealers to portray themselves as a modern, forward-thinking dealership. I think that’s something, if you look at the industry, the consumers are looking for.”
Plum said Evolve also has a very good idea of what kind of dealers they are seeking.
“We are a brand-conscious company. We’ve put a lot of time and money into creating a brand that communicates what our ideals and intentions are. We are looking for dealers that echo those intentions, care about their brand, care about their product and keep showrooms in a certain condition. We’re really looking for people that are aggressively interested in moving forward and starting to carry electric vehicles.”
According to Plum, the company is well aware that there are often hesitations for anyone in accepting new technology into their sales stream, but Evolve sees its product as a positive step forward.
“Evolve, in every way, is what its name is meant to be. We’re taking things to the next step. We’re moving beyond what has been tried before and going to what we think the consumer will want, even though they don’t know that it’s possible yet.”
A prime example of that approach is the Evolve Xenon, which created a buzz at its debut at EICMA. The $55,000 “Tron”-inspired machine features 32-inch hubless wheels and OLED light tape and a hand-crafted fiberglass frame, along with a custom design thanks to Parker Brothers Choppers. At 100 percent electric, it tops out at 100 mph and has a 100-mile range.