In 2004, former corporate recruiter Michel Leblanc wanted to expand his horizon. His goal was simple: build a business from an eco-friendly product for the aging population of North America all the while staying away from highly competitive market with a dominant player. His quest for a product that would fit his vision led him to Asia where he was astounded at a new concept that took the market by storm: electric bicycles. It was this discovery that led him to found Velec in 2005 from a Montreal, Quebec, Canada, warehouse where he would sell and repair the bikes himself—claiming the best way to run a successful business is to master all its aspects.
At first, Michel imported a dozen models which he distributed to friends and family in exchange for feedback on the vehicles. The two best performing models were then chosen to test the market through online sales and collect further opinions. Over time, Michel Leblanc listened to customer reviews to better adapt and, eventually, create his own original product.
Over the years…
Through the late 2000s, Michel toured Quebec along with his mechanic, Benoit, to sell Velecs to retailers across the province—with the first store to carry Velecs being in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. It’s through embarking on this journey that Velec realized the need to be different and to innovate.
Therefore, in 2007, we became the first ebike company to use lithium batteries, effectively reducing the weight of our bikes by 25lbs while keeping the same performances. In that same year, we revolutionized the market by creating the first ever “step through” focused bike, the B1, which was replaced by our new and improved A2 later down the line.
In the following years, the company kept on improving on one of the core components of ebikes: the battery. First, by allowing riders to use two batteries at the same time—giving users much more autonomy—in 2010 and then by enhancing their performances. Indeed, Velec’s 2012 lithium 20Ah batteries sent choc waves in the ebike market as such powerful batteries weren’t developed at that point in time. Going against the odds, Velec once again showed that the undoable was possible by creating some of the first 48V batteries as early as 2013.
It's through listening to feedback, constant innovation, and drive to succeed that Velec conquered the Canadian market step-by-step in the 2010s. In 2015, the company celebrated its 10-year anniversary by releasing a new model—the comfortable and powerful R48—as well as make its entry into the US market with retailers on the Eastern Seaboard. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic halted our plans and made it difficult to export products past customs.
In 2021, Velec found a new home in the form of a new warehouse which made news in the province of Quebec. The official launch of the new headquarters was scheduled during the summer and attracted the attention of many local Velec dealers and a variety of media outlets. Leblanc had the opportunity to give a speech to the hundreds of people gathered at the event, recounting the tale of his professional journey to the top of the e-bike world.
Given the new space and need for more staff, the Velec team went from half a dozen employees to nearly twenty—effectively tripling its size in the matter of a couple months! To modernize itself, Velec installed an automated shelving technology and adopted new software to ease the load.
Aligned with our founding principles, Velec strives to continue to deliver high quality eco-friendly products built from the needs of its customers. Furthermore, we are actively working on one day manufacturing our batteries and bikes here in North America. Creating jobs and true North American products are both very important to us and we’re excited to have such an opportunity. Along with potential factories, Velec is also looking at diversifying its products, whether it be by creating new and innovative bike models or by selling accessories to enhance your bike.
If you’re interested in reading more about the unique technological approach behind Velec bikes, we suggest reading this article!