- new california startup canoo is planning to launch a seven-seat ev in 2021 that will be sold on a subscription-only model.
- the ev is designed to feel more like a living room than a car inside, with an eye toward future autonomy.
- it's built on a "skateboard" platform, like evs from bmw, mercedes-benz, volkswagen, and others, making it flexible to adapt to other body styles, and that's what canoo says it's planning in the future.
its name is canoo, even if you're thinking "space pod" more than "boat" when you look at it. this boxy all-electric seven-seater is the product of a new los angeles company that's intending to offer it on a subscription model, like netflix.
while beta testing for the subscription service started this week, the full plan won't be in effect until some time in 2021. that means that costs and other important details are not yet available.
that said, what canoo revealed this week shows the company is attempting to join the ranks of those rethinking how a mobility company operates. canoo's plan has two main components: the subscription model, obviously, and the vehicle itself. since we didn't learn much about the subscription process, here's what we know about the canoo ev.
described as a "loft on wheels" based on the philosophy that "there is no need for evs to look like traditional cars," the canoo the boxy, spacious vehicle has room for seven in seats that are "designed to feel more like furniture than traditional car seats." there's talk in the company announcement that the rear seats are "more like a sofa to lounge on than a cramped and segmented back seat," while the design for the front seats is intended to draw from the looks of mid-century-modern chairs.
canoo promises the canoo "will be the first true steer-by-wire vehicle on the market," dispensing with any mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels. while the driving components are built into the car, riders use their own phone to control things that don't actively move the vehicle, such as navigation, music, and heating and cooling.
powertrain details are also fairly skimpy at this point. canoo uses a skateboard design that a number of other automakers use for their evs. the batteries are housed in a flat rectangle with the wheels at the corners. this skateboard can be used with any number of body styles (and canoo does say more are coming). one big benefit from using the zero-emission skateboard approach is that the canoo feels like a large suv inside but has the exterior footprint of a compact car, the company said.
the battery in the canoo skateboard is supposed to be good for 250 miles on the epa test and can fast charge to 80 percent full in 30 minutes. the canoo has an 80.0-kwh motor making 300 horsepower. it also has plenty of autonomous-assistive tech, including seven cameras, five radars, and 12 ultrasonic sensors, to offer level 2 autonomy at first, with higher levels promised "as the technology evolves."
in a medium post, the company described just how its subscription service will save people money. starting with a few assumptions about leasing a luxury suv and then adding in insurance and gas and all of the other costs that come with owning a car, canoo says you might end up paying over $900 a month, all told. "automakers and the auto industry have made a killing for decades by understanding this . . . advertise low and hit the consumer on the back end when they are already invested in the process," the company wrote. compare that to the simple monthly fee canoo plans on charging, with maintenance and insurance and other fees included, and you can see why it's worth watching.