A four-time Canadian National Downhill Mountain Bike champion, Geazone’s president and CEO Andrew Mitchell is used to taking risks and working fast. “In downhill racing you have to live in the future, anticipating and preparing for what is around every corner on the trail,” said Geazone’s director of sales and marketing Greg Parish. When it comes to business, it seems Andrew takes the same approach.
Geazone is a zero-emission courier company that uses tricycles, electric cars, and 5-tonne electric trucks to do their deliveries. On a full charge, Geazone’s electric fleet can deliver goods from Victoria to Nanaimo, and everywhere in between, without emitting a single gram of greenhouse gases. They do a Victoria to Vancouver run too, taking beer into the city and stopping to pick up hops for Victoria breweries on the way back.
Geazone presently has 100 active clients, many of them breweries, including Lighthouse, Red Arrow, Saltspring Island Ales, Wolf Brewing Company, and Hoyne. “The local beer and wine sectors seem to be the ones going green first,” said Andrew of his clients.
Over the course of this series it has been amazing to see so many B.C. entrepreneurs working together to support one another’s visions for business done better. When I met with Sean Hoyne, of Hoyne Brewing Company, he talked about how his brewery has partnered with Geazone to deliver their beer. “I like supporting Andrew because he is a young entrepreneur doing the right thing,” Sean told me. His praise was well deserved and wonderfully timed as I already had a meeting with Geazone booked for the following month.
Geazone has doubled its growth every year since they opened for business in 2012. In just three years they have prevented over 100,000 kg of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere and they don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Up next, they hope, is the addition of electric semi-trucks to their fleet (which can travel 160km/charge), a warehouse in Vancouver, and extra charging stations to broaden their range. “By the time people catch on we’ll be five years ahead,” said Greg.
If Geazone replaced one of the semi-trucks delivering beer from Victoria to the British Columbia liquor distribution branch (BCLDB) in Vancouver with an electric model they would reduce carbon dioxide emissions on that route by roughly 37,000 kg per year.
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
Cost-wise, their services are not more expensive than their diesel-reliant counterparts. If anything, Andrew said, they are more competitive than non-electric couriers because they don’t have to buy gas. Typical couriers will spend $80.00 or so on fuel per full day of deliveries; it costs Geazone $2.00 to charge up a Nissan Leaf for the day and $10.00 – $12.00 to charge their 5-ton trucks. Coming back to the numbers, the net annual operating savings on that return trip from Victoria to the BCLDB in Vancouver would be about $14,000 for a single truck.
That said, large courier companies do have the ability to undercut the market in a way Geazone cannot. But Andrew’s clients back him up, he said, and support Geazone because they believe in what he is doing.
The wider community in Victoria is getting on board too and the bike couriers are always a big hit at events and festivals, Andrew said. We found it amusing to learn that the Geazone team have been scolded on a few occasions by concerned citizens for leaving their trucks running while they load. “I told them it was electric but they didn’t believe me!” said Greg with a laugh. “I had to show them that the truck doesn’t even have an exhaust pipe — then they were impressed.”
Geazone is leading the way in BC with innovative zero-emission transport solutions. And at the same time, they’re saving money and creating job growth in the emerging 21st century economy.
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March 15, 2017