When we think EVs, our minds tend to conjure up images of the upcoming Tesla Roadster 2.0, a car so powerful it will obliterate time and space with just a prod from your right foot, or the Tesla Cybertruck, the vehicle that not only thinks outside the box, it smashes the box into smithereens and sets it on fire, leaving nothing but drifting smoke in its wake.
While it is fun to envision super duper cars of the future, a significant proportion of all carbon emissions from road going vehicles comes from delivery vans, the workhorses of commerce that deliver things from warehouses to local retailers or to our front door. They provide mobile work stations for painters, plumbers, carpenters, and carpet installers in addition to performing all the “last mile” delivery chores that are critical to the economy.
Canoo, the newest Southern California electric vehicle manufacturer, has developed a modular electric vehicle platform that can serve as the basis for a number of vehicles. We featured their innovative people mover after Jay Leno drove one earlier this year. Taking innovation a step further, Canoo says it will be offered to the public on a subscription basis.
The company says any number of vehicle bodies — it calls them “top hats” — can be placed on top of its electric skateboard. Today it revealed two versions of what it calls its electric multi-purpose delivery vehicles, one with a low roof that can fit into most parking garages and the other with 6.5 feet of headroom to make it easy for delivery drivers to move around inside. A larger Class 3 truck delivery van is under development as well.
The starting price for the MPDV is $33,000 and the company says the combination of low initial price, low EV maintenance costs, and greater productivity made possible by its innovative interior design means the MPDV will offer customers the lowest total cost of ownership of any vehicle in its class. The company estimates its electric vans can generate between a $50,000 and $80,000 increase in a customer’s return on investment compared to other top selling delivery vehicles, depending on how they are used in actual operation.
“We created our multi-purpose delivery vehicle from the inside out, with the ergonomics of the driver in mind and with attention to detail to help them be happier and more productive at work,” says Tony Aquila, Executive Chairman of Canoo. “The vehicle is affordable and offers greater cargo capacity than the current electric delivery offerings in its class. We aim to lower the total cost of ownership and increase return on investment for everyone from local small business owners to large fleets.”
The highly functional design of the MPDVs is meant to service a wide range of customers, specifically small businesses and last-mile delivery companies. Limited production will begin in late 2022 with full production scheduled to take place in 2023. In addition to the two versions revealed today, the company says other configurations will be offered in the future. For larger companies, Canoo will collaborate with them to design “top hats” that fit their precise requirements. The company is accepting fully refundable $100 deposits for the new MPDVs on its website beginning today.
Designed With Productivity In Mind
The MPDV was designed from the inside out to be comfortable for the people using it. Step up height is just 17 inches. The interior features multiple storage lockers, a roll-up door, and ramp slide outs. Because the Canoo electric vehicle platform is the lowest of any electric truck chassis, both vehicles will have more cargo carrying capacity than competing vehicles. More cargo translates into higher productivity, which is music to the ears of all business owners.
The vans will be available with three battery sizes — 40, 60, and 80 kWh — to meet the needs of various business owners. Expected EPA ranges for the smaller van are 130, 190, and 230 miles respectively and 90, 140, and 190 miles respectively for the larger van. The battery packs will use 2170 cells. A double wishbone suspension front and rear features transverse composite leaf springs — a technology pioneered by Corvette. They will have a 200 hp electric motor powering the front wheels, which leaves more room for cargo in back.
The Canoo MPDVs will be equipped with a bi-directional onboard charger, which eliminates the need for an onboard DC to AC converter and allows workers to plug in saws, drills, or air compressors to the available 125 volt and 240 volt outlets provided in the interior of the vehicle. The 80 kWh battery will be able to go from a 20% to 80% state of charge in just 28 minutes when connected to a DC fast charger.
The vehicles will offer full connectivity and onboard software that will allow fleet managers to plan routes, monitor vehicle performance, run diagnostics, and support drivers with safety, awareness, and ergonomic information. Canoo’s steer-by-wire system will make a smooth transition into self-driving capabilities possible once full autonomy becomes commercially available. It will also simplify configuring vehicles for sale in foreign markets that require the driver controls to be on the right.
The Electric Delivery Van Revolution
Canoo believes it is entering the electric delivery van market at the right time. The demand for EV light commercial vehicles in the United States, Europe, and China is expected to grow 33% a year from now through 2028, according to BloombergNEF. According to research commissioned by the company, same day parcel delivery volumes in the United States will grow to 10 billion parcels by 2030 — a 23% annual growth rate since 2019. These market changes are expected to increase demand for smaller delivery vehicles that can efficiently handle smaller volumes and more frequent delivery chores.
The two MPDVs from Canoo are the ideal size for last mile deliveries that take place mostly in urban environments where compact size and maneuverability are of primary importance. They are designed to meet the same stringent regulatory and crash testing requirements as passenger cars. Similar vehicles from other companies do not always meet the same rigorous safety and collision protection standards. Following its U.S. commercial debut, Canoo will look to launch the multi-purpose delivery vehicle in other markets such as Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more about the new MPDVs from Canoo, please check out the video below.