Canadian company peddles electric bike distribution deal

by MM&D staff

MONTREAL, Quebec—A British manufacturer of electric bicycles has chosen a Quebec-based firm to be its Canadian distributor.

Velec Inc, which is headquartered in Montreal, will now be selling and servicing the A2B and Fast4ward bikes produced by Hero Eco Ltd, in addition to its own brand of electric bicycles.

Velec president and owner, Michel Leblanc said his company jumped at the deal when he heard Hero was looking for a Canadian distributor because until now, the Canadian market had been served out of the US. Velec will import the bikes and parts directly from the UK.

“We will be treated like a country, just like the US,” he said, adding that Hero currently sells its products into more than two dozen countries around the world.

According to Leblanc, by not having to cross the US border, Hero bikes and parts will be shipped to dealers more quickly. Under Velec’s current system, dealers in Quebec and Ontario can place orders for bikes or parts by 3:00 pm and the deliveries will be made by 10:00 am the next day. Shipments to BC arrive the third day.

Velec operates a leased, 836sqm (9,000sqf) warehouse in Quebec (today there are 400 bikes in the warehouse and inventory of parts covering all models Velec offered dating back to 2005), but with the addition of the new line, the company will likely expand.

“We are going to put a lot of attention in BC, and we are looking at opening a warehouse there to cover Calgary and western BC. We plan to be a presence there,” said Leblanc, noting that presence will include a dealer network and a support team.

Velec is looking for a partner to assist in operating and managing the BC DC, and Leblanc said he is currently in talks with a couple of companies.

According to Leblanc, the addition of the Hero line rounds out his product offering. The market for the Velec-branded bikes tends to be people over 60 who rely on the bikes to enhance their mobility. He said the Hero bikes tend to appeal more to commuters and younger people (aged 40 to 50) who are looking for fuel-efficient transportation for getting to-and-from work and for taking longer trips.