Meet the Canoo, a Subscription-Only EV Pod Coming in 2021
Its maker—also called Canoo—hopes to free you from the shackles of ownership.
Do you hate dealing with registering your vehicle? Does paying for auto insurance, car maintenance, or other repairs cramp your style? Do you find driving a chore? If so, you're in luck. Canoo, formerly known as EVelozcity—the Torrance, California-based startup launched in 2017—has unveiled its first product in the form of the subscription-only EV you see here. Eponymously named, the Canoo prototype will start beta testing now ahead of an estimated 2021 launch date.
Canoo is led by a group of former BMW, Faraday Future, Tesla, and Uber employees who say their mission is to free customers from the shackles of vehicle ownership. The company wants to offer a "hassle- and commitment-free EV subscription for one monthly, affordable price and with no set end date." How much? Well, we're not sure yet. The company also states that the subscription "may include services such as registration, maintenance, insurance management, and charging—all from a single app." Polestar, Volvo's electrified subsidiary, is also offering subscriptions to its models, although it will also sell or lease its vehicles. Other companies such as Cadillac and Volvo proper also either offer or have offered similar services.
The Canoo is powered by one electric motor that is claimed to deliver 300 horsepower and 313 ft-lb of torque to its rear wheels. The 80-kWh battery pack is stated to offer 250 miles of range, while Canoo claims a 28-minute charging time from empty to 80 percent capacity using DC fast-charging. Top speed is limited to 125 mph.
"We implemented the Bauhaus philosophy, which is centered around minimalism and functionality, and started with the reduction to the absolute minimal need," said Richard Kim, Canoo's head of design, in a statement. "We applied that approach to the seamless connectivity with the personal devices customers care most about—their phones."
Kim is also credited with the BMW i3 and the i8 Concept Coupe and Spyder. His latest, this funky futuristic people mover, offers a large interior roughly equal to a large SUV's with the footprint, Canoo says, of a compact car. Canoo calls it an "urban loft on wheels" and it can seat up to seven people. Inside, the vehicle sports front seats inspired by mid-century modern chairs and rear seats that resemble a sofa.
It rides on a skateboard-like architecture that contains the batteries and electric drivetrain, which allows for maximum passenger space. The skateboard design also allows for dual-, front-, or rear-motor layouts. The Canoo is also said to be autonomous-ready and is packed with seven cameras, five radar units, and 12 ultrasonic sensors to move around safely. The steer-by-wire vehicle does not have a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and wheels.
For those wary of the subscription model, you're out of luck. Canoo doesn't plan on selling Canoos—or canoes, for that matter—and will outsource the production of its products to facilities in the U.S. and China.