Within its first year of business, Canada’s EV Technology Group set up shop in Toronto, purchased the iconic MOKE brand and launched new electric vehicle manufacturing facilities and R & D hubs in the U.K. to support its goals of creating a portfolio of electric luxury auto brands
EV Technology Group (EVTG), an electric vehicle company focused on developing and commercializing EV technologies, is looking to help luxury, heritage automotive brands make the switch to electric.
Having just incorporated late last year in Toronto, EVTG is already reaching significant milestones abroad after purchasing the British-based MOKE International automotive brand. The company’s ultimate goal is to collect a range of different electric vehicle brands in order to promote the “joy of motoring” and use Canada’s well of investment opportunities in the EV automotive industry to support and expand its business.
“Our mission is basically to electrify iconic brands. [We want to] build out a portfolio of cars that [customers] want to have, but not necessarily need,” says EVTG’s co-founder and CEO, Wouter Witvoet in an interview with Electric Autonomy Canada.
“I think we also need to create aspirational products in the [EV] category in order to convince the big majority to convert to EVs. By creating products in the luxury segment, I think we can make that mind shift that electric is cool, and it’s here to stay and we can create products that people want to buy.”
EVTG’s Canadian connections
EVTG was founded by Witvoet and his Canadian co-founder Olivier Roussy Newton. The duo has previous experience launching a Canadian-based company: DeFi Technologies Inc. They decided to set up shop in Canada again with EVTG in order to take advantage of the country’s openness to invest in new ideas.
“Canada has traditionally had a very rich history of investing and promoting different sectors like resources and energy. There’s a lot of demand for these opportunities within Canada that sometimes is more difficult to get exposure for or get interest for in London or Amsterdam or Paris,” says Witvoet.
“[Canada] also has a dedicated automotive industry that is well developed and [is] looking to promote EVs. [They] are one of the leaders in the space so those are some of the reasons for doing this in Canada.”
Although many of the aspects of the EVTG’s vehicle production are currently taking place overseas in Europe, Witvoet says Canada will still play a crucial role in the company’s growth and expansion future.
“Obviously Canada has a really big resources sector. So whether you’re looking at lithium or other kinds of components required in battery production, that ultimately follows a huge part of the funnel of [manufacturing] EVs. Those things will be very interesting for us in the future.”
In terms of any other plans the company has in Canada, Witvoet adds: “We are looking at some really interesting technologies being developed in Canada around some of the tech campuses around inverter technologies and other types of things that could lead to efficiencies across MOKE and other products.”
In April, EVTG also made the decision to list itself on the Canadian NEO Exchange. The strategy behind that, according to Witvoet, was to launch with the assets EVTG had at that time and gradually start building the business by adding in MOKE, then Fablink and, eventually, more acquisitions in the future.
“I think that’s a very healthy way to kind of start growing your business,” says Witvoet.
Building the business brand
EVTG has already reached major milestones by buying 67.6 per cent (with the possibility to increase it to 100 per cent) stake in its first major automotive brand, MOKE International in July and subsequently purchased the automotive Tier 1 supplier and specialist manufacturer, Fablink Group Holding in August.
MOKE International owns the trademark of the MOKE, a Jeep-like, open-top car, originally built during the 1960s. Having sold approximately 50,000 vehicles globally, it gained cult status in areas such as the French Riviera, California and Australia. While the Fablink Group is responsible for the production of the electric version of the MOKE at its manufacturing facility in Northamptonshire, U.K.
“One of the critical things, next to building a brand, is to have to build the car, so the design, engineering, and then to scale manufacturing is a complicated business,” says Witvoet. “I think a lot of EV companies are learning it the hard way that manufacturing is difficult. So across that sort of value chain, I decided to acquire Fablink.”
The acquisition of Fablink earlier this month will, EVTG says, provide them with the in-house manufacturing and engineering expertise to not only build the MOKE, but any future brands EVTG ends up purchasing.
“Fablink Group is renowned for the supply of pressings and complex welded structures, cab assemblies, lightweight bonded aluminum chassis and structures, mixed material architectures, as well as niche and lower volume build for automotive and e-mobility brands,” reads EVTG’s press release. “The acquisition includes all seven Fablink manufacturing sites across the UK, and Streamline Automotive, a new division of Fablink Group that provides specialist low and medium volume, electric vehicle manufacturers, with turnkey clean build vehicle assembly capabilities.”
In August, EVTG also secured a new EV Centre of Excellence facility in Silverstone Park, U.K., which will be home to the company’s electric vehicle research and development hubs.
For the electric MOKE, Witvoet says he is already seeing a demand for the car in new locations, including the Caribbean, the south of France, Greece and China. The company is also targeting a secondary market in gated communities and in golf courses in North America.
“Our strategy is to sell the MOKE to direct-to-consumer online and we also have several key flagship locations, such as our Casa MOKE in Saint-Tropez, that will be opening later this year,” says Witvoet.
“There is a huge potential to also do business-to-business partnership with big hotel chains, with restaurants. We have several of these partnerships already ongoing at the moment and I think that will be a catalyst for our growth.”
Customer deliveries for the electric MOKEs started in June this year, but are currently only available in the U.K. and France.
Moving forward, EVTG is looking into more opportunities to acquire “iconic” commercial vehicles and sports cars.
“The word iconic is really important. We wouldn’t do something that has been around in like the 1920s but everybody’s forgotten about,” says Witvoet.
“We would be interested to see what the luxury commercial delivery type of space can do or maybe sort of a food truck type of luxury product. We are opportunistically looking at other brands as well that may come to us.”