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Autonomous Vehicles Canoo app

Published on April 1st, 2019 | by Steve Hanley


EV Startup Canoo Wants To Be All Things To All People

April 1st, 2019 by  

Paradigm shift. Breaking the mold. Disrupting traditional thinking. Those phrases are all the rage these days, especially in the world of transportation where the battery and the electric motor have upended the industry. The latest company to join the push to reinvent transportation is called Canoo. Until very recently, Canoo was EVelozcity, an electric car startup based in Los Angeles.

Canoo app

Credit: Canoo

EVelozcity was formed in late 2017 by three refugees from failed startup Faraday Future — Stefan Krause, Ulrich Kranz, and Richard Kim. According to AutoBlog, Krause is a former top executive at Deutsche Bank, Kranz was a senior vice president at BMW’s electric vehicle unit, and Kim previously led the exterior design team for the BMW i3. They have since been joined by Karl-Thomas Neumann, who was previously the CEO of Opel and head of Volkswagen’s China operation.

How does Canoo plan to shake things up? By offering a range of 4 different electric vehicles to customers on a subscription basis. You will get a car from Canoo the same way you get a subscription to Time or Road & Track.

The company describes itself this way: “Liberating you from the tyranny of auto ownership and the conventions of what a car is. A grown-up EV. Not for sale.” It adds that traditional cars come with a “laundry list of coverage, service plans, roadside assistance, and more — each provided by separate suppliers. Where does the buck stop? With Canoo, every problem is ours to handle.” That may include insurance, according to a report by Forbes.

Canoo says it has a plan to release “four distinct models optimized for the explorer’s lifestyle, ride sharing, deliveries and commuting.” They will be based on an electric skateboard platform topped with 4 different “pods” designed to meet the specific needs of its customers.  The cars “will look like nothing on the road today by challenging the norms of space and function, as well as offering a lean User Interface.” Its lifestyle vehicle, for instance, “will have the exterior footprint of a compact car, with the interior space of a large SUV,” the company says.

Okay. But why that name? Stephen Krause explains it this way. “We picked Canoo because it sounds distinctive, looks cool and creates a feeling of both relaxation and movement. For thousands of years, a canoe has been a simple, sustainable transportation device used all over the world.”

So where will the Canoo factory be? There won’t be one, apparently. The company says it will use existing manufacturers to make its cars first in the US and later in China. There are rumors that Canadian based Magna may be one of the companies Canoo is considering. It already builds the I-PACE for Jaguar (and lots of other automobiles for other mainstream manufacturers) but is not commenting publicly about plans to work with Canoo.

The company says it also plans to offer autonomous driving technology in the future but plans to purchase those systems from outside suppliers rather than create its own from scratch. Could Apple be part of that mix? We don’t know.

Canoo has raised $1 billion so far from private investors and expects its first vehicles to be on the road in 2021. How much will subscriptions cost? We have no idea at present, but the idea of paying one monthly fee for transportation is appealing, especially if the subscription can be cancelled at any time. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available. 


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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island and anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. His motto is, "Life is not measured by how many breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away!" You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

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