How We Make $1.2M/Month Selling Electric Bikes [20K+ Customers]

Published: July 7th, 2022
Ali Kazemkhani
Founder, ENVO Drive
ENVO Drive
from Vancouver, BC, Canada
started April 2015
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Ali Kazemkhani. I have an MSc. Mechanical Engineering, with 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience. I started EBikeBC and ENVO Drive Systems as e-mobility product development and retail companies. My company develops products that can travel on the road, on snow, and in water.

Our products include ebikes, etrikes, scooters, electric snow bike and snow kart, waterbike, DIY conversion kits, etc. Over the past year, we expanded our B2B dealer network from 30 to 120.

As the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles continues to increase, we believe in evolving electric mobility to offset the impact of fossil fuels on our planet. Electric mobility will be the future, and our focus is to design and build affordable clean mobility solutions for everyone.

We have doubled growth year over year, since its inception, while staying positive, growing its market footprint, its staff, facilities, and several products consistently in the past 7 years.

We have surpassed our consumer base to more than 20k riders.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Since I was young, I've always had a passion for electric mobility. Riding my bike as a child, I loved downhills, but that was not always the case.

So I wondered, how could I get assistance uphills? At this moment, I thought of having an electric motor to assist.

As I got older and became an engineer, I learned how to accomplish this idea. Before graduating from university in 2001, I started a business developing one of the first electric bike concepts, which were very niche then.

Before I moved to Canada, I had 15 years of experience in the industry. My product development process starts with ideation, sourcing, manufacturing, then outsourcing.

When I came to Canada, I had already developed a few components, such as hub motors for bikes, battery packs, and motor controllers. I collaborated with manufacturers in Asia and had my products manufactured overseas and assembled in Canada.

Electric bicycle factories are mostly located in southeast Asia, so while many of our products are produced in Asia, they are engineered in Canada for domestic requirements, regulations, and applications. Having said that, ENVO ensures that we follow a process that ensures that our customers get a safe, reliable, quality, and affordable product. We ensure that by following the four levels of production:

  1. Engineered, manufactured, and assembled in-house. This includes products such as SnowKart.

  2. Engineered and assembled in-house using parts manufactured overseas. This includes the FLEX series.

  3. Engineered in-house, manufactured, and assembled overseas, like D35/ST series.

  4. Re-engineered in-house based on an existing production platform, manufactured overseas, such as the Lynx series.

Furthermore, 100% of our products go through Quality Control in Canada to ensure that we can guarantee a high level of quality and customer satisfaction.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

This business started six years ago with conversion kits. After a few years, I needed a team, a warehouse, and a local service center to support customers and fulfillment. In 2017 we moved to our first location in Vancouver. After a few years of selling and implementing conversion kits, we noticed a demand for ready-built bikes.

Practice your idea and try to sell in a low-risk environment before investing and raising money. Chances of failure are always higher, so if you invest time and money, you risk a lot if you envision a long and risky journey.

We designed the first electric bike based on the experience and understanding of market requirements selling conversion kits. From the initial research in 2017, we launched our first ebike, the D35. The ebike comes in three frame sizes and is the lightest in its category, allowing the average commuter to ride comfortably.

In 2020 the D35 was redesigned with improved components. We also created a step-through (ST) version of the frame that was highly requested by the market, especially for older adults and women.

By 2020 we had a portfolio of 2 e-bikes and multiple conversion kits. To distinguish our retail brand EBikeBC from our manufacturing brand, we rebranded all products to ENVO in 2018.


Describe the process of launching the business.

I was a new immigrant in Canada and had a couple of conversion kits for personal use in my suitcase. The conversion kit was patented 12 years before I moved to Canada, the first product I ever launched. The design and history date back 15 years before immigrating to Canada.

I developed my product enough for personal use but didn't have a firm intention of launching a business. Still, once I started using the conversion kits on my bike, I noticed that it was a very attractive product to the right market. I realized it was time to launch a business based on electric bike conversion kits. I wanted to sell the product and provide a complete solution for various bikes and requirements.

The mission and reason you wanted to start your business should always be the core of what you do. Financial success will come if you successfully answer your 'Why.'

I launched a temporary low-cost website to test the idea. I implemented some Google ads, and within a few weeks, I sold my first conversion kit to someone in Newfoundland. I was excited because if it sold once, it could sell again.

As I received orders, I imported more parts from my sources. I started manufacturing and assembling more kits on my dining room table, customizing them to the customer's needs. By gaining legitimacy and customers' trust, I became a trusted website for conversion kits in Canada. This was how ENVO was born.



Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

I had a niche product in a large industry. There were no other businesses offering conversion kits with bike customization or consultations. My goal was to address customers' needs and provide them with customized, affordable solutions. We aim to be a customer-oriented business creating trust within our company.

Here’s a breakdown of our main advertising strategies:

SEO: (technical and educational articles)

Having experienced engineers and designers in-house makes it possible for the Envo team to positively contribute to the market’s literacy regarding Ebikes and E-Conversion Kits.

This mindset has been the cornerstone of our Blog Writing work streams, where we break down the complex technical concerns, questions, and information related to the e-mobility sector.

From comparison between each Ebike Class in the market (from different aspects) to specific calculations around Charging Ebikes while camping, even the difference between different e-motors for distinct utilities, etc. all have added to the reputation of the team Envo to be subject matter experts when it comes to the e-mobility Sector.

Word of mouth

We have provided personalized services for conversion kits needs and Canadian customers for seven years, showcasing our R&D products in several bike shows and following through with our promises within our values, paving the way for being honoured with a very positive word of mouth in our network

Customer Service -> Referrals

Not only do we listen to our customers’ needs and always try to provide them with our best-tailored solutions, but also, we experience numerous referrals through friends, neighbours, family members, and so on/ Based on having a variety of selections for everyone’s e-mobility needs, product, or service, or even when they wanted to ask for a non-sales related questions/educational information.

Our team has always been happy and seen it as their value to spread the word and joy of sustainable e-mobility choices, even if it doesn’t result in sales.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Since 2019 we have focused more on developing partnerships with local bike shops.

Our low overhead expense and in-house engineers make our products highly valued for a low cost. A low-cost and flexible pricing model has always been good leverage for expanding dealership and partnership programs with other retailers.

ENVO reaches about 120 dealers across Canada; we plan to create a distribution center in the south to encourage more dealers in the USA.

We designed the Lynx ebike for big-box stores such as Costco to add to our collection in 2021. Costco approached us as the first Canadian ebike company they wanted to carry.

In 2021 have added 5000 more members and expanded our dealer's network by having 120 more in the east (ON and QC) while doubling our customers from last year.

Our newest product line, FLEX, is getting ready to launch in Summer 2022, which is assumed to be a gamechanger in the utility and recreational electric bike world.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

I have learned that financial success is secondary to your 'Why.' The mission and reason you wanted to start your business should always be the core of what you do. Financial success will come if you successfully answer your 'Why.'

I started this company using the bootstrap method; I had no investors, and was self-funded. I did not want to postpone profitability for 2 to 3 years; I wanted to be profitable from day 1, and I do not regret it.

You need to get a result from what you do today, and I designed a plan to fit my goals. I could have initially invested 50k into a seamless website, but you need to test the waters first. My chance of failure was low because I didn't invest or raise any funds or commitment, so I could focus on what I needed to do without losing much.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We use various full-stack development software, integrated business tools such as Zoho, tools for bike assembly, testing, and repairs, and 3D printers to help with our R&D and marketing software tools.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I have always been practical, continually doing rather than sitting back and waiting. I learned from practicing. It allowed me to test and figure out what worked and didn't, which was faster than other methods. You learn a lot from failing, and you won't know until you try.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Just go for it. You won't know until you try. The bootstrap method may not be for everyone, but it worked for me.

Practice your idea and try to sell in a low-risk environment before investing and raising money. Chances of failure are always higher, so if you invest time and money, you risk a lot if you envision a long and risky journey.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Yes, we always look for all aspects of engineering, marketing, sales, business analysis, and administration. Check out our careers page to stay up to date.

Where can we go to learn more?

Envodrive is where you can learn more about us and view our products. You can also follow us on Instagram.