till the e-wheels fall off


9 years ago the Toronto Star ran a piece featuring Manfred Gingl, a former chief executive of Magna and one of Frank Stronach’s closest confidants, and the new outfit called Bionx.

The Star article outlines how Bionx was formed after purchasing Energy Propulsion Systems Inc., a Quebec-based maker of e-bike retrofit kits.

Fewer than 8,000 units of the BionX systems were sold in 2008. In the year the article was written the company expected to sell more than 40,000 and “well over” 100,000 systems in 2010. Gingl predicts the business will generate a “few hundred million” in sales in two or three years.

2 years later Canadian Business reported on BionX’s plans to make the first of 1,000 SeaScapes ( a pedal boat with an electric motor ) in Austria, but to shift production to Aurora next year.  Gingl stated, “I want to create another Magna together with Frank.” .  The pieces closes with the claim that Politicians, Magna shareholders, consumers and Stronach’s health will all determine how far they pedal from shore.

On cue, enter the politicians, stage left.

First up is John Taylor, running for mayor of Newmarket this fall, who somehow ended up in the role of “Director of Community and Government Relations” for the outfit.  In April 2013 Newmarket approved e-bike use on it trails.

Also in the spring of 2013, Bionx received a contribution through the Yves Landry Foundation’s AIME Global Initiative to help train its workers.


A point that was made in the Banner piece back in February of 2015 when then M.P. Lois Brown visited.

In August of last year ‘Sustainable Development Technology, Canada’ provided Bionx with a much more sizable grant of $3 million.   Investments in clean technology were touted as being part of the government’s ‘Innovation and Skills Plan’, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs.

6 months later and Bionx has entered into receivership.

electricbike.com points out that they’re NOT calling it a bankruptcy but bicycleretailer.com reports that they’ve let all 80 of their employees go making it very difficult to put that toothpaste back into the tube.

Bionx made the cover of the 2015 Aurora chamber commerce spring magazine and in its excerpt, it reads that the Aurora facility is home to approximately 50 staff; many of whom enjoy living and working locally.

Not anymore they don’t.

BikeEurope writes that Bionx has been looking for an investor since December of last year.  Around the same time they committed to a sponsorship of a town facility, they of course can no loger honour:

sponsor.JPGBionx had a contract to make 8,000 Electric bikes for GM for $1,000 each but the documents show it cost them $1,400 to make each one.

The balance sheet shows a $50 million negative net worth and trustee filings show it’s unlikely that they will emerge.  Liquidation is almost certain.

Last February Mayor La De Dawe was quoted in the paper saying:

“When one business closes it impacts the whole town.  They say it takes a village to raise our kids. It takes a town to support our businesses.”

Yet after news of Bionx imploding Mayor Dawe and the Town have been exceptionally quiet.  A complete 180 from claiming the company to be a “made-in-Aurora” success story back in this 2012 Press Release.

It seems when the training wheels come off Mayor La De Dawe’s ability to #BuildCompleteCommunitities that support an exceptional quality of life where businesses thrive, amounts to little more than him doing a faceplant into the pavement.

Watts on your mind?

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