Michael “Mike” Dull is the founder and President of EVUniverse.com. His passion for electronic vehicles and his entrepreneurial experience led him to creating EV Universe — a marketplace to help educate potential buyers about EVs.
Launching the first EV marketplace combined with a robust eCommerce site in the US has proven to be a challenge, especially when it comes to confronting common misconceptions about electric vehicles. EV Universe aims to turn the narrative on its head, bringing electric vehicles closer to anyone who is curious enough to learn.
The US is still catching on to the benefits of owning an electric vehicle, but Mike Dull has made it his mission to speed up the process.
Spotlight: Norway has the most electric vehicles per capita (81.10%), while the US has a far smaller number (5.2%). Why do you think the American market is not keeping up with the pace?
Mike Dull: There are a few reasons why Norway is leading the world in electric vehicle sales, the most significant being the involvement of the government to decrease taxes on EVs while raising taxes on internal combustion engine vehicles. For example, they have removed toll expenses for EVs while increasing VAT taxes and carbon taxes, which is not currently being done in the US. Norway also has a renewable electric power grid, mainly from passive hydroelectric sources and therefore has cheaper electric costs. These reasons are in contrast to many of the policies we have in place in the US, even with the passing of the inflation reduction act. Norway is de-incentivizing gas-powered vehicles whereas the US is not.
Please tell us how EV Universe started.
I have always had an obsession with cars, even as a child. I played mainly with cars and not much else caught my eye. Throughout my career I’ve looked for ways to transition into the auto industry. Over the last several years I’ve bought a number of electric vehicles, including an original Tesla Roadster and became a go-to person in my neighborhood for people with questions on EVs. During those continued conversations around the neighborhood, I noticed the same questions being asked. They weren’t the typical early adopter questions of “whether EVs are feasible” or “are they slow?” but all centered around the understanding that EVs were going mainstream and how to make that transition. Many of these people are not what I would consider early adopters but an early majority, a different type of buyer.
Then after an exit from a previous company where I was COO, I was searching for my next vehicle (obsession is not an overstatement here) on various platforms and continued to be frustrated by the lack of specific information on electric vehicles. That’s when the idea hit me to combine my enthusiasm for electric vehicles with the need for helping the early majority transition into EVs, while filling the gap in the marketplace that lacks EV-specific information.
What did the EV industry lack that demanded the need for an established marketplace?
The EV industry lacked a place where the majority of people interested in electric vehicles could get basic, cut to the chase, “what do I really need to know” information to make the transition to their first EV, while laying out that information in a way that is extremely easy to navigate.
What are five common misconceptions about electric vehicles, and how does it affect your operations and customer acquisition?
The range is too limited. There are currently 14 models that get over 300 miles of range which, speaking as someone who has done multiple cross-country trips even for those that take long road trips, is plenty.
There are not enough charging stations. This may be an issue in California from time to time but even on holidays the rest of the US rarely has any wait and more charging stations are consistently being built.
Charging times are too long. One glaring omission on this misconception is that the vast majority of EV owners have a way to charge at home and wake up each day with a full charge, it would be similar to having a gas pump at your home. It is super convenient and saves the average electric vehicle owner a lot of time over the course of a year compared to filling up a gas tank. While on trips, most of the newer EVs can charge very fast and by the time you stop, go to the rest room and grab a bite to eat, it’s time to get on the road again. Most find that the difference in wait time while on long road trips is negligible.
EVs are slow. This has been fairly well documented as incorrect. The Tesla Plaid is now of the quickest production cars made, period. A quick tour of drag racing videos will show many electric vehicles beating supercars at the strip.
EVs are worse for the environment than gas vehicles. There have been a number of studies that look at the impact of battery production and carbon footprint vs the production of an ICE vehicle. What has been concluded time and time again, is that while the battery creation initially has a higher carbon impact, that is quickly overcome within the first 1-3 years of the vehicle being on the road depending on the specific vehicle.
What does EV Universe intend to solve in today’s market for electric vehicles?
We intend to make the transition to electric vehicles easier for the majority of US drivers. For those that want to know the very basics to get into an EV and feel comfortable with their decision.
You paved the way for an EV marketplace, and now you are a key player in the industry. Please share three pieces of advice to those who would like to gain market share in a largely untapped industry.
- Find what you are passionate about. If you don’t truly care about what you are doing you won’t be driven to continue because it will be very hard at times.
- Try to find gaps in what the end consumer, buyer or client needs or wants. Is there a problem that is troublesome for people? Then go solve it!
- Find great people. It is much easier and you will be much more successful if you have passionate, smart, excited people with you along the way.
How do you plan on expanding the EV Universe in the future?
We have BIG plans! Can’t let them out of the bag quite yet but let’s just say we have industry-changing expansions coming in the very near future.
Lastly, tell us about the “EV Revolution” and how people who own or plan to buy an electric vehicle can benefit from it.
The “EV Revolution” is the largest innovation in the auto industry since its beginning. You see a lot of comparisons to the horse and buggy days and while this may seem like a much smaller step, I think it will be no less extraordinary. It is not just about the propulsion system of a vehicle, it is much more than that, namely decreasing emissions, changes to the grid, the technology that comes with the switch to EVs, and changes to the way people travel (autonomous driving, connected cars, EV charging stations, etc.). People who own EVs and those who plan to buy them will most likely see their cars hold their value better than gas-powered cars, save time in their daily commute as they will always have a full charge, lower their travel bills, and have a safer more reliable vehicle.
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