Sometimes change happens when you least expect it~as Natalie Obiko Pearson and Divya Balji write in the Vancouver Sun Jimmy Pattison who built a multi-billion dollar “empire from a single, loss-making Vancouver car dealership” acquired in 1961 has done the impossible.
Looking at how to invest and protect money in the post-Covid world, this billionaire is now focussing on the environment. As Mr. Pattison stated “We have got to focus on the environment, the environment, the environment. Anything that is negative, in my opinion, to do with the environment is going out of business sooner or later.”
To back that claim, Mr. Pattison took a hydrogen fuelled car around southwestern British Columbia on a weekend and declared that he was surprised at the experience.
“All I’ve driven is engines all my life and so when you get something that’s this smooth and fast and goes like a dart and quiet. Boy, I never drove anything nicer.”
For someone that invested (and still acquires) car sales lots across the country, these are remarkable statements about a major change in business acumen and investment in post Covid industries.
Mr Pattison’s change of view is echoed in the success of VanMoof, which is the “Tesla of electric bikes”. These E-bikes automatically gear shift, have frames that illuminate for light, and clamp the wheel should anyone try to pilfer them.
Expecting to raise 25 million American dollars, VanMoof’s latest funding round produced $40 million from venture capitalists.
And E-bikes are right on trend in Covid and post-Covid times. With price tags in the 2,000 to 3,000 American dollar range VanMoof is aiming at selling volume on a fairly affordable cost.
As CNN’s Matt McFarland writes “Electric bikes have become the latest hot investment in transportation as consumers seek active, outdoor activities and personal modes of transportation during the pandemic. Sales of bikes and used cars are growing. The trend of cities closing streets to car traffic amid a decline in commuting has also aided companies like Van Moof.”
I have already written about the fact studies show that e-bike users quadruple the distance they travel with an e-bike, and once you own an e-bike it replaces many short car trips. As the Covid pandemic has meant more people get out to walk and bike, e-bikes have become a purchase of choice.
You know there’s a major trend towards cycling when the government of the Yukon announces a $750 rebate for an e-bike or a $1,500 rebate for a cargo e-bike.
Change that was expected to take five years or a decade has become concentrated and faster during the Covid pandemic. Tie in climate change, the devastation from the forest fires along the western coastal states, and it is quite clear that Mr. Pattison is right about where the focus for the economy needs and will be: “ the environment, the environment, the environment.”
This VanMoof YouTube video below of a vehicle morphing into a VanMoof E-bike has had over two million views.