It has been almost a year since I met with Ben Silver of Benzina Zero (which means “no petrol”).
He talked then about how he has changed the way people move in Brisbane and wants to have a global impact. It looks like the beginning of his dream is coming true. Now he is looking at changing the way people get their pizza!
Domino’s recently announced its new partnership with Benzina Zero. Successful trials of the Benzina Zero Duo electric moped have been conducted with a number of stores. “The partnership will further enhance Domino’s goal to be the most dominant, sustainable food delivery business delivering from its 900+ stores around Australia and New Zealand.”
“By utilising the Benzina Zero’s Duo electric moped we are not only able to deliver our pizza more sustainably, but we are also able to provide additional efficiencies and cost reductions to our franchisees,” says Earle Strong, Head of New Equipment from Construction, Supply & Service at Domino’s supply company. “We started this journey sourcing the right electric delivery moped around three years ago with many not fit for purpose and it has taken a long time to find the right solution. We now have that solution, and we are excited to work closely with Benzina Zero on the delivery of the electric Duo moped within our network.”
When I spoke with Ben this morning, he told me that it is early days for the partnership, but the Domino’s Duo is already starting to roll out. He is having high levels of interest from the 900+ franchises across Australia and New Zealand. Understandably, these are mainly from Queensland franchisees at the moment due to the recent launch and more favourable licencing laws. In Queensland, you can ride a moped using a car licence, alongside South Australia, Western Australia, and Northern Territory. In Victoria, Tasmania, and New South Wales, you need to have a separate motorbike licence.
He has met recently with Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King, to discuss challenges in the electric vehicle industry.
Benzina Zero has sold hundreds of its products over the past 12 months, and expanded its dealer network from 4 to 15. They are spread wide across Australia: “From Broome to Cairns and everywhere in between,” he tells me. “We get enquiries every week from dealerships wanting to stock our products.” Benzina Zero is even entering the eco-tourism market of Norfolk Island (currently part of Queensland).
“Norfolk Island has recently commissioned a pure EV rental fleet of 2 wheelers to promote eco-tourism with good reason. Norfolk Island is a stunning and remote 36 square kilometre moped paradise with a laid-back atmosphere and a maximum speed limit of 50km/h with loads of amazing places to explore. And explore is what we did with Bartons Motor Group ambassadors Darren Lehmann and Michael Kasprowicz who came along with us for the ride on the duo. We took in the sights, tackled winding roads, dodged cow pats and climbed mountains without challenge, emissions or noise.”
What about Ben’s global ambitions? Well, the Duo is selling well in Australia, and Ben is setting up a supply chain for the New Zealand market and talking to interested distributors. Three countries are going through the type approval process — Hong Kong, the UK, and and Singapore. Benzina Zero is in discussions with 20 other countries. The Italians get that Benzina Zero = no petrol and are already in love with scooters, so it is no surprise that Benzina Zero is setting up an experience centre in Vasto east of Rome on the Adriatic coast, in the next suburb to Amazon’s European Distribution Centre. Vasto is located within the Abruzzo Region, which is known as the greenest region in Europe. Benzina Zero plans to supply quiet, clean, and efficient transport to the whole of Europe.
Ben displayed his range of vehicles at the recent Noosa EV Expo (just across the aisle from the GWM ORA). As well as the Domino’s Duo, he also had stand-up personal mobility devices — these are electric scooters, not alien exoskeletons! It is unfortunate that the word scooter can apply to something the kids ride and push along with their foot up to a vehicle powerful enough to ride on the road at 65 km/h. Three people were so impressed that they put down deposits on the spot. Ben saw this as a soft launch for his newest product, which complies with all Australian regulations and criteria. Here’s a photo of all versions:
Test rides on the electric mopeds were popular, and the overall atmosphere was positive. Ben and his two staff were kept busy all day and he estimates that they talked to over 200 people. “The Noosa EV Expo was an extraordinary platform for promoting sustainable transportation and raising awareness about the benefits of our electric vehicles mopeds and scooters.”
Let’s get back to the pizza deliveries. How does Benzina deliver the Duo — hot, flavourful, and fresh — to the franchisee? “If a franchisee needs a scooter, we facilitate the procurement of that vehicle from Benzina. Depending on the need, it could be a Duo (moped that does 50 km per hour) or a Duo Plus (goes up to 65 km/h). Domino’s has very ambitious sustainability goals and we are assisting them in fulfilling those goals at the last-mile delivery space.”
There are many niches in the delivery ecosystem. Domino’s already uses significant numbers of e-bikes. The Duo scooters fill the next niche up. E-bikes travel at about 25 km/h and need to be propelled by rider power as well. The Duo can do 50 km/h. It can go twice as far, twice as quick, with no driver fatigue. The Duo gives a franchisee another option depending on how far the delivery is and how quickly the driver needs to get to the customer. It is obviously much cheaper to own and operate than mum’s car.
“We are thrilled to be able to work with Domino’s, a leading global brand and the largest food delivery business within Australia, by assisting them to achieve their goals for last mile sustainability,” says Joe D’Ercole, Chief Battery Charger at Benzina Zero Australia. “As the challenges for last mile delivery are universal, we look forward to supporting Domino’s both here and internationally where possible.” Where will the Duo be used next?
“With more than seven pizzas sold every second and 3,800 stores in 13 markets (Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Luxembourg, Denmark, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Cambodia), Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited is all about delivering the world’s most delicious and versatile bonding food. Our pizza brings people closer.”
I’ll let Ben have the last word: “Electric mopeds and scooters have emerged as a viable replacement for the second car, offering numerous benefits that address the challenges of urban transportation. With their cost-effectiveness, environmental friendliness, ease of use, and versatility, they provide attractive alternatives. As cities strive to reduce congestion, combat climate change, and improve quality of life, electric mopeds offer a sustainable and practical solution. Embracing this growing trend not only benefits individual users but also contributes to the broader goal of creating cleaner, more efficient, and interconnected urban environments.” Well said.
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