Behind Vyro: How an Aussie startup is making buying EVs simpler
- Vyro is an all-in-one online retailer dedicated to new and used EVs
- Selling in NSW and SA, with trade-in, finance, other inclusions
- CEO co-founded due to firefighting experience in 2019-20 bushfires
Electric vehicles are transforming how we get from A to B in a more efficient and sustainable way, but it’s also changing the way we buy and ‘own’ a car.
Tesla spearheaded the move to a fixed-price, online-only, direct-to-consumer ‘agency’ model where there’s no haggling and contending with individual franchise dealer’s stock – an approach that has been adopted by carmakers such as Polestar, Cupra, and Hyundai (Ioniq EVs only).
But, while Carsales has long dominated the local new and used car marketplace, Vyro has emerged as an all-in-one platform dedicated to help Australians transition into an EV.
Vyro chief executive and co-founder Will Wise spoke to zecar on why buyers should purchase an EV through his company and what challenges it has had to overcome as a startup – including launching in a supply-constrained car market.
What is Vyro?
Vyro is an online-only new and used EV retailer operating in New South Wales and South Australia.
According to its in-stock website page, there are a range of electric car models available across both states (as at publication), such as the BYD Atto 3, MG ZS EV, Tesla Model 3, Cupra Born, Kia Niro EV, and Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Vyro CEO and co-founder Will Wise said it is an all-in-one hub to make buying an EV more convenient and less stressful.
“Vyro is Australia's first virtual dealership for any electric car. We cover used cars and new cars,” Wise said.
“We make the buying and education process easy as it possibly can – come to our website and learn everything that you want to know about an electric car.
“From there, you can go ahead and trade in your existing car, get a [valuation] price on the spot for it, finance your new car, and checkout all online in minutes.”
What motivated you to co-start Vyro?
Vyro was founded in September 2021 by Will Wise, Tanvir Uddin and Tessa Fields, and officially launched in March 2022. The company now has a team across the country and adopts a remote-first working approach.
Wise said he co-founded Vyro from his experience as a former volunteer firefighter in the catastrophic 2019-2020 Australian bushfire natural disaster season.
“I was a firefighter in the 2019 to 2020 Black Summer fires and recipient of the National Emergency Medal because of it as well. I was active for about six months from about the middle of 2019 all the way through to just after New Years in 2020,” Wise said.
“Ultimately, I saw first hand the effects of climate change and really broke down from it just seeing how much people were affected by and how much our world was affected by it.
“So, I wanted to find a way to make a positive contribution towards going in the other direction.”
However, Wise believes his company launched into the market too late.
“A good year and a half ago now, we were told that we're way too early for what we want to be doing,” Wise said.
“We were told ‘you've got to wait an extra three, four years to be thinking about this’. And this was by experts in business and their respective realms. Now, I think we actually started too late. We could have laid so much more groundwork and moved so much faster.
“When you look at the national EV strategy coming through… this is a really big move towards where it is that we need to be heading. As always, we need to be moving faster. We need to be pushing our ambitions and our targets and bringing them closer as much as possible.”
Why should buyers purchase an EV through Vyro?
Australian buyers now have greater choice with a growing number of carmakers adopting a fixed-price and online-only purchasing model.
But, Wise said EV buyers should choose Vyro since it is a third-party that makes the process simpler.
“A really big part of it is our transparency. The pricing that we put up is the price that you're going to get. We don't try to bury it. We don't throw in ‘oh I'm sorry that this car wasn't actually available, but here's the next model up.’ We don't do that," Wise said.
“We thoroughly believe that the auto industry has a lot to answer for and we're here to be able to go and make that a much smoother, easier process – removing any of the anxiety that comes with buying a car.
“On top of that, we include a bunch of things to make your process so much easier. Everyone who buys a car with us gets access to our instant trade in service, so you know exactly where your car is going to stand [for resale value] straight away.
“We have access to over 30 lenders, providing customers with a panel of the best rates. And, we provide a free [12-month] NRMA Blue membership with every purchase.
“We're going to keep on growing on this. A big part of our focus this year is continuing to add that value and bolstering up all the reasons why it makes so much more sense to purchase a car through Vyro as opposed to anywhere else.”
It’s worth noting that NRMA Blue gives club members access to a range of benefits, including a 20 per cent discount on all DC fast charging sessions at a Chargefox station.
How have you overcome new car supply shortages?
Vyro has launched during a difficult time, where component shortages and shipping delays have resulted in long waiting queues for new vehicles and caused high demand for used examples.
Exacerbating this, most car manufacturers – seemingly except Tesla and BYD – have allocated limited EV stock to Australia, likely due to a lack of carbon emissions mandates compared to other developed countries (though that’s set to change later this year).
Wise said it had to do some clever experimentation in order to overcome the supply-constrained market and procure electric cars for its launch.
“As difficult as this was, purely from a business perspective, it was very helpful that it was there [car supply shortages],” Wise said.
“For example, a week before we were launching, we had a key supplier who was going to work with us and they dropped us for exactly these reasons [car supply shortages].
“We were all of a sudden in a position where we had no cars and we wanted to go sell cars online.
“So, being a young startup and being resilient enabled us to manage and overcome adversity. We happened to have someone who was working with us in the Northern Territory at the time. And, the Northern Territory aren't too fussed about electric cars – they like they’re big gas guzzlers.
“So, he went around to every dealership he could find, bought a bunch of cars – keeping in mind we'd just raised capital – pretty much spent all of that money in about a week on cars, shipped them to Sydney, sold them before they arrived, and we were in business.
“We continue to do unscalable things like this and find ways to make them into scalable areas. And, we still do this. We still do things that are completely short-term and will not last and I think that's exactly what any young business needs to be doing, especially in a time like this.
“You need to find a way to make things that can scale and that is not always clear on paper.”
Why should buyers trust a startup?
Vyro claims to have exceeded its 12-month sales target (30 to 50 vehicles) within three months of launching – selling 90 EVs.
While Wise admits Vyro is still an experimenting startup, he said customers can trust the company due to its list of partners and money back guarantee.
“Whilst we're a young startup, we've built some really great partners that we work closely with. So not only the NRMA, but we've got some great financing partners that we've worked with – which I believe gives us a strong level of credibility," Wise said.
“If you look at our customer reviews, we always sit between the high four to fives [stars].
“On top of that, we have a seven day, no questions asked money back guarantee. If you purchased the car through us and you're not happy with that car, let us know, we'll take it back, refund customers the full amount. Zero questions asked.
“To date, I’ve never had anyone actually take us up on that and that's because I believe we have provided people with a quality product transparently and honestly.”
The online car retail space competition is growing in Australia.
Media publications, such as CarExpert, CarsGuide and Drive also offer an online marketplace to rival long-established Carsales and connect buyers to dealers, whereas the booming used car market (thanks to new car shortages) has accelerated online offerings such as Cars24, Easyauto123 and Carma.
Meanwhile, electricity providers even offer electric car subscriptions, including Origin 360 EV and AGL Next, as an alternative instead of going all-in on completely owning a car.
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