Vision Marine Technologies is not just the hottest thing in boating right now. The company is also offering the coolest technology in terms of protecting our feeble waterways. And with summer on the horizon, CEO and director Alex Mongeon is busier than ever, getting boats outfitted for the warm weather.
“Things are moving very fast,” Mr. Mongeon said, having just returned to his home in Montreal, Canada, after a whirlwind winter between Florida and California. “There has been an overload of enquiries.”
It comes as no surprise. Vision Marine (NASDAQ: VMAR) – which went public in November 2020 – has developed the world’s first fully electric outboard motor, amalgamating an advanced battery pack, inverter, and high-efficiency motor. It is hailed as a pioneer in giving the boating industry a much-needed overhaul, with a sleek and classic aesthetic that renders easy on the eye.
Essentially, Vision Marine’s signature outboard powertrain (E-Motion) possesses a proprietary union assembly between the transmission, electric motor design and comprehensive control software, thus dramatically expanding the range, performance, speed, and endurance.
The logistical challenges of COVID-19 restrictions have scuttled boat shows and international travel, meaning that most of the marketing, for now, happens virtually. Yet Mr. Mongeon and his team are still ahead of the curve when it comes to meeting their ultimate goal: saving the world’s waterways by producing zero pollution, zero emission, marginal cost maintenance, and a noiseless environment.
“And it’s a smoother ride than a traditional ICE motorboat,” Mr. Mongeon boasted with a smile.
If it sounds too good to be true, it is not.
We have all borne witness to that unnerving oily shimmer streaming behind a boat into the crystal-clear seas. According to Vision Marine’s studies, the number of pollutants has been increasing exponentially in recent years, and in 2019 alone, some 750,000 tons of hydrocarbons from motorboats seeped into our precious waters.
However, the company is determined to turn the tide – offering a viable electric solution to eliminate the need for gas or diesel-fueled outboard motors. Vision Marine’s engines can be re-charged with the standard electrical connector at boating marinas for ease of access. In addition to their wide variety of ready-made inventory and five e-boat models, they offer tailor-made solutions built to any boat’s specifications.
Mr. Mongeon also hopes that his green-orientated business model will attract a different type of customer, ones who previously steered clear given the environmental impact can now guiltlessly join the fray.
“We’re talking to boaters who want something cleaner and with less hassle,” he enthused. “This is the future of boating, and there is no going back.”
Mr. Mongeon’s vision is being heralded not only by conscious consumers, but regulators and municipalities are also riding the sea change to move away from traditional internal combustion engines.
“We will be delivering fifteen electric boats to the City of Montreal – they already have eleven or twelve – but are now upgrading their fleet to electric,” he noted. “And there are several cities across the world on the way to doing the same thing.”
For this passionate innovator, a desire for disruption is simply in his DNA. After operating numerous neighborhood businesses in the suburbs of Montreal as a child – a newspaper running service at the age of twelve followed by on-bike ice-deliveries with 30 community employees in the summer he turned fourteen – Mr. Mongeon went on to become an electrician by trade. Eager to resume his early zest for entrepreneurship, he left college after two years.
The core of his mission has always been centered on the betterment of communities, social responsibility – and perhaps most importantly – emphasizing personal pleasure. It is those small moments of service that make the pains of entrepreneurship all the more worth it.
“Nothing beats the moment when you deliver a boat and getting pictures of a family on that boat together for the first time,” Mr. Mongeon added. “That sense of togetherness, that is priceless.”