This local entrepreneur has turned a hobby building electric bikes into a passion to teach everyone the benefits of giving up gas.
My Next Eectric
Matt Candler is electric…and he wants to make you electric, too. Candler is the founder of Night Shift Bikes, a streetwise, design-forward electric bike company, and My Next Electric, a live online (and soon in-person) education course and coaching venture designed to help people transform their lifestyles in a greener, more sustainable way.
My Next Electric was born out of another one of Candler’s passions, an at-home garage hobby of building non-traditional (read: not boring) electric bikes.
“Night Shift Bikes is about building bikes that earn the respect of anyone who rides or sees them, especially if they’re skeptical of electric. And it’s for sure about having fun. Riding electric is, in the words of ‘The Walking Dead’ star Norman Reedus after riding one of my bikes: ‘The trippiest thing ever. It’s like a magic carpet ride.’”
At first, building electric bikes in his garage started as a stress reliever, and a fun DIY hobby, while working to help rebuild schools across New Orleans.
“I started building motorcycles as an elaborate scheme to justify buying tools I didn’t need for our new garage — something I didn’t have back in New York,” he said. “I had a 1-year-old daughter when I started, so most of the building happened after she went to bed, so Night Shift Bikes it was.”
Candler soon started exploring more advanced battery technology.
“I found a person in Denver who was parting out battery packs from wrecked Nissan Leaf electric cars,” he said, “so I bought a few of those to see what I could do with them.”
Working with car batteries helped Candler and his associates make the leap to creating better, more efficient models of powering vehicles, household appliances, and more. He thought if he could make the leap, then he could probably help others do the same. Thus began My Next Electric.
“In 2019, after a year of talking with a friend who was building solar plants in California about the rapidly changing economics of batteries, especially the ones being retired from electric cars, I helped him start a new project using those same Nissan Leaf batteries for something different, storing solar power generated in the morning so people living in California could use it after sunset. That pilot worked; we’re now running the largest used-electric vehicle power plant in the U.S. I’m lucky that what I’ve learned there has led to new opportunities to help other energy-tech entrepreneurs.”
My Next Electric is now gaining traction with an ever-growing list of students, and Candler sees the impacts of electric education as a key to managing challenges both locally and nationally, from hurricanes to rising gas prices.
“I’m trying to reach everyone, especially my neighbors and fellow citizens hit hardest by rising gas prices and inflation,” he said. “Every year, electric gets cheaper. Solar is now the cheapest way to make power; costs have dropped 80% over the last decade. Battery costs have dropped even faster. I spend one-tenth the amount on batteries for my motorcycles compared to only seven years ago. While upfront costs remain higher on many electric versions of the things we put gas in now, we’re already past the point where almost everything we can swap – from cars to heat-pumps to water heaters — is cheaper over the lifetime of the machine”.
Candler said mass adoption of alternative power sources isn’t about waiting for magic tech.
“It’s about financing — aka, getting folks some cash up front so they can buy the electric thing and start saving money on fuel and maintenance and education — aka, behavior change,” he said. “All of us are really comfortable with our gas stuff; it’s hard to quit.”
“I coach and invest in an amazing group of education and electrification entrepreneurs. My Next Electric is about helping everybody I can make progress toward a more electric life. We do that together by breaking down the big puzzle of electrification into a few very doable decisions over a few years and a few baby steps you can start taking within a matter of days. We offer live online courses, videos, buying guides, and soon, live show-and-tells for folks who want to see electric stuff in real life.”
Students who sign up for My Next Electric will find answers to all of those tough questions that come with switching from gas to electric.
“I focus on helping people learn the basics of transitioning their personal stuff — vehicles and homes — to electric over time. Most of the resources on this topic are about the individual decisions: How to put solar on your roof? How to upgrade to a heat pump? Here’s a review of a fancy electric car. Very few places create a safe space to ask the big, hairy question about going electric in the first place. Why should I do it? How, and more critically when will it save me money? And some of the harder-to-ask-out-loud questions like: Why is induction any good if all my chef friends say gas is the best for cooking? How will I be able to charge my car? Heat pumps matter. So does solar. And we get people there, eventually. We just don’t start there. We start with the fun stuff, like electric e-bikes, portable induction stoves and portable battery packs. And we let people experience electric without breaking the bank.”
Candler and My Next Electric recently launched a new initiative from Together Louisiana called Community Lighthouses, which, according to Candler, “just received a $1 million grant from Greater New Orleans Foundation, to install solar and storage at local houses of faith and nonprofits to help them save on power bills and provide post-storm support for anyone in New Orleans.”
“I feel really lucky to serve as co-chair for the project,” he said. “Our vision includes 85 Community Lighthouses strategically located across New Orleans so that, in a power outage, everyone would be no more than a 15-minute walk away from cool A/C, medical supplies, oxygen, food and electricity to charge their portable devices and stay in touch with friends, family and others. I’m working with a few member congregations to provide my course for free, and I can’t wait to see what we learn together. I hope I can find practical ways to help folks start saving more money and be more prepared to tap into the sun when the power goes out.”
weekly online sessions.
downloadable resource pdf
one-hour intro course
one-week intensive course