Exploring the unknown is a brave task, and when it comes to EV (Electric Vehicle) comprehension, many Canadians are still struggling to break through knowledge barriers and get involved.
Darryl Croft and John Beckett, Co-Founders of the EV-centered venture, Electric Vehicle Network, have dedicated their business to educating drivers and helping Canadians transition to electric vehicles, becoming Canada’s multi-brand dealer for renting and buying EVs. “Our strength is in demystifying and educating about EVs. We are more than just a rental car company, we are also a company that helps people make the genuine and intentional switch to electric vehicle use.” says Croft. For car buyers and renters, making this switch is a daunting task when general knowledge is minimal and reliance on gas vehicles is mainstream. EV Network is rewriting the EV narrative through passionate innovation and education.
EV Network provides short- or medium-term rentals of a large selection of electric vehicles and operates as a dealer for those looking to buy. Run by a small but passionate startup team with a drive to have a major impact in Canadian EV adoption, the EV Network experience is fuelled by thorough and accessible resources and professionals so that renters and buyers can transition to EVs with ease.
The company created a mobile app that lets users create an account to book a rental car—with fleets currently available in Etobicoke and North York—and provides resources and hands-on tools for renter comfort and ease of experience. Offering rental services allows curious drivers to experience electric vehicle travel without the commitment of a purchase. As a dealer, EV Network offers a wide variety of used electric vehicles in a range of prices, models and capabilities. As EV adoption is typically slow and cautious, the EV Network team has prioritized the buying experience to include ample information, next steps, charging options and individual consulting on what works best for each customer’s wants, lifestyle and travel habits.
EV Network is a recent i.d.e.a. Fund recipient. The Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), provided Innovation Guelph with $10 million to lead the delivery of the i.d.e.a Fund in partnership with five Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) across southwestern Ontario, including TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario. The program helps high-potential ventures access the tools they need to succeed by providing financial and business advisory supports to develop or redesign products, services, processes and technologies that reduce impacts on the environment and create made-in-Canada solutions.
With a goal to upgrade their rental technology, the EV Network team used this funding opportunity to build out their mobile application and improve the rental experience. Included in this upgrade is vehicle-distance tracking, allowing EV Network to see the exact environmental impact data associated with user trips when compared to gas vehicles, such as how much CO2e was saved by making the switch. Additional improvements will also include features that empower customers to understand their environmental impact, such as personal emissions data and personalized information packages for renters. The idea is that the technology continues to grow alongside users’ evergreen impact on Canada’s environmental health and over adoption of EVs. “The milestones set for Electric Vehicle Network’s i.d.e.a. Fund project were based on a deep understanding of the company’s customer’s needs,” says Andrew Leest, Manager of Venture Growth at TechAlliance. “This new development has inspired its next steps, bringing greater awareness of this incredible and innovative option for EV renters and buyers.”
The EV industry is bound to see some expansive growth in the coming years. “We are working to expand experience and understanding to help with the nation-wide adoption and awareness of the options of EV ownership,” says Croft. “There is a learning curve to owning an EV because you need to have a different philosophy and approach to travel. Understanding strategic (but incredibly simple) ways that EVs drive differently to gas cars will be the catalyst to helping Canadians understand that these incredible and earth-conscious vehicles can fulfill all of their needs.”
Download the mobile app, Rent Electric, to book your first EV rental at rentelectric.ca
To learn more about EV Network, go to evnet.ca
To learn more about the i.d.e.a Fund go to techalliance.ca/idea-fund
To learn more about FedDev Ontario, go to https://feddev-ontario.canada.ca/en