Returning from China, entrepreneur opens Ottawa showroom with eco-friendly agenda

SmartEV Mobility Inc. is opening its first Canadian showroom on Montreal Road this Saturday with a goal of showing the Canadian market a greener side of transportation.

The company owns a factory in Shenzhen, China, where it produces its own patented products. SmartEV owns 16 patents on products ranging from self-balancing scooters to e-bikes, all of which owner and CEO Pierre Gaudet says are environmentally friendly.

“Honestly, green is sexy,” he says.

Originally from North Bay, Mr. Gaudet spent the past eight years establishing the factory in China, where his business partner, as well as his wife, both remain. The factory initially manufactured products for other companies, but Mr. Gaudet became frustrated with the lack of creativity involved in OEM.

“The buyers only care about the profit margin. Not so much about the quality, or the innovation,” he says.

“This makes no sense for us. We have a great product, we have really cool stuff that Canadians have never seen before and if we only produce for other people, it’s never going to hit the market.”

Mr. Gaudet is convinced that now is the time to bring the operations to Canada. Ottawa was a logical location for the business in light of its expanding network of bike lanes and overall attitude towards eco-friendly transportation, Mr. Gaudet says.

With the 5,000-square-foot Ottawa showroom, he’s hoping to advertise his products to Canadian customers as well as larger retailers that could lead to additional sales channels.

The well-travelled entrepreneur has confidence in his technology and patents, which he says are “years ahead” of the rest of the market. He pitches his scooters as cheaper and more advanced versions of the $10,000 Segway standard.

Through conversations with Invest Ottawa, Mr. Gaudet is also hoping to partner with theUniversity of Ottawa to perform research and development on similar eco-friendly transport.

He’s not stopping at Ottawa, though. He’s been in discussions with the mayor of Chatham-Kent about bringing an assembly line to the region in the near future.

SmartEV isn’t just a factory, either. The company also does project management for solar homes, windmills and other large greening initiatives. He’s hoping this work, complementing his eco-friendly vehicles, will bring about lasting environmental change.

“I’m here to push my agenda. And my agenda is to push people to use different modes of transportation,” Mr. Gaudet says.

The SmartEV Mobility showroom at 81 Montreal Rd. opens on Saturday with an opening sale and ribbon cutting.