Students Visit Electric Car Startup in Vancouver
On a tour of the Electra Meccanica workspace in March 2016, NYIT-Vancouver M.B.A. students saw up close how the startup’s CEO Jerry Kroll is seeking to drive people to buy his electric cars, which only seat one person, making them smaller and better for the environment. The site visit of Kroll’s company included students in NYIT’s MGMT 725 Entrepreneurship and Venture Initiation course taught by Devrim Birlik, adjunct instructor in the School of Management.
Birlik’s course covers all aspects of building a venture from scratch, from identifying market prospects to refining a business model to raising capital.
“This site visit experience was a good opportunity to see how real businesses are set up and run as a team through the work of different departments,” said M.B.A. student Sutha Ganesh.
Kroll shared his leadership insights and commitment to making a sustainable product. He discussed the value of electric cars produced by his company and his thoughts on market opportunities within the automobile industry.
“Eighty-three percent of all commuters in North America drive by themselves in a four-person occupancy car for 60 kilometres or less each day” Kroll told M.B.A. students. “In Canada, that’s 14 million solo commuters.”
Four-person sedans weighing at least 1,000 kilograms expend lots of energy on the road, especially since they often only transport one person at a time. Electra Meccanica aims to reduce this waste by making more sustainable cars. The company is currently building prototypes for the “Solo,” its new single-occupancy electric car with two front wheels and one rear wheel, and a maximum speed of 140 kilometres per hour.
“Our cars make fantastic use of Canadian technology with a worldwide export potential,” added Kroll. “Because the vehicle is single occupancy, you wouldn’t have to move the steering wheel to the other side of the car to sell it in England, Japan or Australia. It’s truly a global car.”
Kroll advised the students to focus on finding a market fit for their business products. His advice resonated with the group.
“We gained much useful information about the company’s business strategy,” said M.B.A. student Pavla Hlozkova. “Kroll’s approach to sustainability in manufacturing means a lot nowadays, and having a competitive advantage in the market is important for his business. Now I see how the theoretical knowledge from NYIT’s Entrepreneurship and Venture Initiation course is applied to a real business.”