Even Electric Partners With Microsoft for EV Sales Platform

Even Electric and Microsoft inked a deal to sell electric vehicles on a new “smart trading platform,” which Even Electric hopes will become the “go-to” for OEMs’ electric vehicles, Gisli Gislason, chief executive of Even Electric, told Mobility Finance.

“In order to get cars to users, you need to simplify the system,” Gislason said. “The dealership network doesn’t work for EVs, but online sales do,” citing Tesla as a leading example when most OEMs continue to try to sell their EVs alongside traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.

Even Electric is currently signing licensees with OEMs for pop-up showrooms around Europe. On Aug. 7, the platform enters its final phase of development before its first test during the second quarter of 2018, Gislason said.

“They don’t really need to have these big dealerships working for them,” Gislason said. “It could be easily done, and I believe most of the manufacturers making EVs will want to go online,” he said.

The platform seeks to be comprehensive by allowing customers to shop, finance, insure, and trade-in new and used electric vehicles online, on mobile, and in-store. The site will also combine a price comparison site with artificial intelligence and bot technology, and feature a physical distribution channel in the form of showrooms and pop-up stores.

The collaboration with Microsoft Services in Sweden is based on a cloud-based solution with micro services on Azure App Fabric, along with Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Cognitive Services.

The platform is designed to easily scale across the world and integrate with other services and platforms, Gislason added. Founded in 2008 in Reykjavik, Iceland, Even Electric has focused its operations so far in northern Europe as multi-branded EV showrooms.

Even Electric and Microsoft have been working on the platform for about 10 months and Microsoft is developing the artificial intelligence that will allow the website — based on data gathered by a visitor — to know what the individual customer is looking for and guide them from beginning to end without “hassling” them, he said. Microsoft is also providing cloud services and a means of allowing a customer to test-drive a vehicle online. Gislason declined to elaborate how this is possible, but said that it does not involve virtual reality.

Currently, Even Electric is looking for more investors as well as financial lenders and strategic hires to join the platform, Gislason said. While a few financial lenders have expressed interest in the still-unnamed platform, a single global partner with local lenders in each country is ideal, he said.

“We would love to have one that could fulfill all our needs, but we need to be flexible also,” he said. “If one could do this that would be great, maybe some local ones, a customer can also choose their own.”

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