Vancouver-based Eevee’s is bringing personal electric vehicles to the road

The EV company now has 15 employees and is opening a service centre in Burnaby.

Eevee's founders

Credit: Julian Fok. Eevee’s co-founders Bradley Spence (left) and Lukas Tanasiuk

The EV company now has 15 employees and is opening a service centre in Burnaby

A couple of years ago, Bradley Spence and Lukas Tanasiuk were laughed out of their local bank branch. The pair of long-time friends had embarked on a venture selling personal electric vehicles like scooters, electric unicycles (EUCs) and onewheels. They had garnered some private investment dollars but were after a $40,000 line of credit to put the finishing touches on their Downtown Eastside store.

Spence, who had been selling the vehicles out of his Kitsilano apartment, knew that there was a market for the product. But the financial institution was unconvinced. “I showed the bank employee a thick business plan, with all the numbers and cash flow projections. We had low-end realistic and hyper-optimistic projections,” recalls Spence. “And he kind of laughed me out of the door. He’s like, You’re pulling these numbers out of your ass.”

The pair remained confident. After spending well over six figures renovating their retail space and buying product, they were ready to hit the market and incorporated in October of 2020. Two weeks later, they called back their investors.

“We were like, It’s sold—all the inventory is gone. They went, Wait, what?” says Spence.

Eevee’s now has 15 employees and has plans to open a service centre in Burnaby by October in which they’ll be able to work on scooters and EUCs that weren’t purchased at their store. The founders also hope to be stateside by early 2023.

It’s a long way in just a couple of years, and Spence and Tanasiuk believe that the growth is a product of a grassroots movement they’ve been supporting. “It’s such a nascent industry, scooters only became legal in May last year,” says Tanasiuk. “It’s about as young as an industry can get.”

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The pair have been doing their best to educate customers as much as possible, holding classes during shop hours and hosting ride-alongs. They estimate they see a couple of hundred visitors to the store on a busy day, and that number is growing as people become more comfortable with personal electric vehicles (PEVs).

“People think that maybe you can’t stop or that [electric unicycles] are unsafe or unstable, but it’s quite the contrary,” says Spence. “The wheel becomes an extension of your body. It’s super natural to be able to turn and move. If someone cuts you off or opens their car door in front of you, you can easily pivot out of the way.”

Tanasiuk adds to that line of thought: “I feel safer than in a car. You can get into the tiniest little spots. And the easiest thing is they have these little trolley wheels that pop up on them, so you can get to the grocery store, restaurant or your house, hang with friends, and just wheel it in. Never once been bothered about that and never have to worry about it being stolen.”

Making believers out of skeptics has come with the territory for the pair. Spence sent that bank advisor their financial statements about six months after launching, showing him that the company had outperformed even their optimistic projections. “Now they want to give us a ton of money, but we don’t need it.”