A philanthropic venture backed by Atlassian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, and funds from Canva co-founder Cameron Adams, have injected more than $10 million into an electric vehicle startup that’ll see it import 10 times as many EVs for Australians in a move declared “transformative” by the founder.
The Good Car Company is an EV bulk buying service started in 2020 by environmental scientists Anton Vikstrom, Anthony Broese van Groenou, and Sam Whitehead, three self-described “unlikely founders of a car business” who say “desperate times call for desperate measures”.
Fast forward two years and the startup is Australia’s largest importer of second-hand EVs, importing 200 of the environmentally friendly cars into our shores each year – some models for the first time ever – and with the backing of Cannon-Brookes’ Boundless, it’s about to become 2000.
Aside from environmental concerns, it makes good business sense: in August, electric vehicle sales doubled from 2 per cent to 4.4 per cent, and in September, Tesla was Australia’s third-best-selling vehicle, with 4359 cars sold behind the petrol-powered Ford Ranger ute and the Toyota HiLux ute.
Although there are no EV utes on the agenda yet, the startup’s importation list includes small cars to light commercial vehicles like Nissan Leaf in 30kWh, 40kWh and 62kWh variants, Nissan eNV200 40kWh electric van, and Peugeot e-expert 75kWh electric van, as well as new EVs available for fleet purchase like the Polestar 2 and Hyundai Kona.
All cars, which will begin at $20,000, will be available for Australians to purchase from early 2023, turbocharging the small but mighty range that the Good Car Company offer on its website and the bulk buying campaigns it has been running during the pandemic.
Broese van Groenou says the $10 million investment from Boundless will have a “transformative impact” for Australians through “enabling access, demystifying EVs and helping transform a society dependent on fossil fuels”.
“We delivered Australia’s first community EV bulk buy in 2019 and every year we witness more and more people wanting to transition to EVs and the opportunities they unlock,” he said.
“Australia is comparatively underserved by availability and affordability of EVs [and] we’re excited that our community model has been recognised as a great way to change that.”
Australia’s slow uptake is partly down to our fuel efficiency standards – or lack thereof. A fuel efficiency standard is a cap on the overall amount of emissions a car manufacturer could have across all its vehicles, which would ideally steer it towards creating more efficient models — like EVs.
A manufacturer’s overall limit would taper off over a period of years in order to drive down our emissions – transport accounts for 17 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gases – and if a manufacturer exceeded their fuel efficiency standard limit, it would be fined.
But the Coalition government did not implement it despite backing in 2014 from Australia’s Climate Change Authority, and we quickly became an outlier on the world stage as 80 per cent of the car manufacturing market moved forward with fuel efficiency standards.
The Albanese government has announced it will consider introducing fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles, with Energy and Climate Minister Chris Bowen declaring that “policy settings are denying Australians real choice of good, affordable, no emissions cars”.
And the Good Car Company is taking up the mantle, Boundless CEO Eytan Lenko says – a natural fit for the venture which works hard on investments, initiatives, and partnerships to make Australia a renewable energy powerhouse by 2030.
“We knew our first priority had to be bridging the growing gap between demand for EVs among Australians and the supply available within an attainable price point,” Lenko said.
“The Good Car Company is a perfect fit, and we’ve been impressed by their continued advocacy towards investment in the EV industry as a whole.”
Canva co-founder Cameron Adams and his partner Lisa Miller have also committed an “additional investment”, after learning of the Good Car Company’s EV mission, not to mention the practical business model to achieve it.
“It was incredibly exciting to meet a trio of entrepreneurs tackling climate change and electrification in our own backyard, and we have been enthusiastic supporters ever since,” Adams said.
“The Good Car Company’s commitment towards action and changing the current state of play one car at a time is exactly what Australia needs right now.”
This story was originally published by Smart Company.