Former Mitsubishi management are behind a new company set up to import and market electric vehicles in Britain.
Innovation Automotive (IA) describes itself as the UK’s first multi-brand, all-electric automotive company, and while initially focusing on light-commercial vehicles (LCVs), also plans to expand into the car market.
The company plans a direct-to-consumer sales approach, which it says “will enable customers to make the switch to zero emissions with minimal hassle and maximum confidence.” IA management argue that the recent acceleration of digitalisation and e-commerce is re-shaping customer expectations, driving demand for a simplified, modernised approach to vehicle sales.
IA has already secured agreements to sell the products of Chinese LCV manufacturers DFSK and Skywell in the UK. DFSK is part of the Dongfeng group, one of China’s leading automotive manufacturers. Skywell, founded in 2011, is positioning itself as a leading global developer of electric vehicles across the automotive market.
The first vehicle offered to UK buyers, in early 2022, will be the DFSK EC35 compact panel van (pictured above). This will be followed by the DFSK EC31, an electric chassis cab van.
IA CEO Paul Brigden, formerly Operations Director for Mitsubishi Motors in the UK before the Japanese brand closed its European operations earlier in 2021, thinks the time is right for Innovation’s approach. He points to recent data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showing that, despite year-on-year growth, ‘Alternatively Fuelled’ LCVs accounted for less than 4% of monthly registrations in June 2021, and just over 2% in July.
“Innovation Automotive exists to make the switch to electric as hassle-free and straightforward as possible,” Brigden says. “IA hopes to challenge the reticence and scepticism that still exists in the market and help customers feel comfortable that they are making the smart choice”.
Brigden believes that as IA’s leadership team has been in the UK automotive industry for many years, they understand the barriers that exist to making the switch to electric. “That’s why we created this company – this is about offering the right products, at the right price with the right level of service.”
IA will make its UK public debut at the Commercial Vehicle Show, held at the Birmingham NEC between 31st August and 2nd September – a full-scale market launch will follow later in 2021.