Even the international pandemic couldn’t slow the world’s fascination with electric vehicles (EVs).
In 2020, a Consumer Reports study found that 31% of drivers were considering an EV as their next auto purchase. When it came to millennials, an astounding 78% expressed interest.
Looking into the future, Ernst & Young predicted that, by 2036, more than half of all new cars sold in the United States would be zero-emission battery EVs.
Through it all, the ElectraMeccanica Vehicles Corporation was listening and planning.
With the environmentally conscious consumer in mind, the Vancouver-based designer and manufacturer had been developing a three-wheeled, single-passenger EV called the SOLO since 2015. As interest built, the company went on an aggressive growth trajectory, extending manufacturing operations in China, breaking ground for an American plant, increasing its trade show, test drive and pop-up presence, and launching a service repair network.
But there were going to be complications, and ElectraMeccanica knew it.
The enterprise architecture needed to identify and analyze the elements needed for execution were not yet integrated. Business processes had to be standardized.
There was no sales or delivery system yet. Potential drivers were required to call customer service for a test drive or reservation, rather than scheduling those services online. Make-to-order processes were manual.
But unlike other companies that had been forced to convert operations from the time-worn, inefficient processes of the past, ElectraMeccanica was brand new, and grasped the urgent need for supporting technology to accommodate its rapid growth ambitions.
As a result, ElectraMeccanica opted to be “digital from the start” – before the first EV rolled off the assembly line in 2021.
As its name implies, the company’s flagship vehicle, the SOLO was engineered for a single occupant. The electric sports car was designed specifically for living in the city, where drivers tend to just pick up a few groceries at a time and navigate their vehicles into small spaces.
Still, the guiding force behind the SOLO’s development was sustainability. Although it was safe to drive on the highway, with a top speed of 80 mph and a range of 100 miles, the primary appeal was that the SOLO would emit zero emissions.
The year 2021 would prove to be the most transformative one in the company’s short existence. But first, it had to create a solid, digital foundation for its operations, including finance, sale, distribution, service, and supply chain.
With the assistance of PwC Canada, a member of the global professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), ElectraMeccanica was able to develop its digital-first strategy and roadmap.
The technology that would shepherd the company through this crucial period came from a suite of products from SAP, including SAP S/4HANA as ElectraMeccanica’s core enterprise resource planning system.
With this base, the company was positioned to create user-friendly, real-time business-to-consumer processes, along with an effective finance system, reliable supply chain, and integrated vehicle tracking.
The digital framework ensured that repetitive work tasks were eliminated – and the company now had a strong foundation to launch future projects.
Rolling down the highway
Confident that all contingencies were covered, ElectraMeccanica began serial production of the SOLO and the first-ever commercial deliveries. By the fourth quarter of 2021, 61 customers were driving their EVs.
Reservations and test drives were easily scheduled via ElectraMeccanica’s homepage, while order management was automated.
The company not only produced a world-class digital customer experience in record time but exceeded its own expectations.
For its “digital from the start” approach toward shaping the future of transportation, ElectraMeccanica was honored as a finalist at the 2022 SAP Innovation Awards, a yearly event that highlights organizations using SAP products to change both business and society. You can check out ElectraMeccanica’s Innovation Awards pitch deck here.
Before the end of 2022, the company plans to release a fleet of cargo EVs, each with enough room to run an effective delivery operation.
Looking beyond what’s being developed, CEO Kevin Pavlov noted that the comprehensive system it created to handle its launch will enable ElectraMeccanica to “future-proof our business and empower more informed operational decisions” as the history of EVs continues to be written.