This skateboard platform is completely mobile.
You know, the emerging EV company, the one ? Well, on Friday, the California-based company showed off a running example of its skateboard platform for the first time.
This integrated architecture is the foundation of his future products, starting with the Canoo – the car and the company have the same name. This skateboard contains almost all of the vehicle's major components, including the motor, battery pack, and suspension, but that's not all. "We have integrated 70% of all structural elements into the skateboard that are required for a crash rating of five stars," said Ulrich Kranz, the man responsible for Canoo, while speaking in a webcast. Just like the company's unconventional vehicle name, employees do not have official titles, but simply orientate themselves by what they are doing. No matter what you call him, Kranz is an auto industry veteran who he worked with for decades.
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Kranz stated that competitors with their EV platforms are not integrating most of the vehicle's crash structure into the underlying platform. This gives Canoo a competitive edge in that it doesn't take nearly as much time, effort, or research into developing different vehicle bodies as the skateboard can handle most of the forces in a wreck. This also means that the Canoo platform itself can basically be driven around without anything. Just add a seat and off you go. Kranz said competing skateboards need some sort of cabin to be functional.
In addition to extensive simulation work, Canoo has already carried out more than 50 physical crash tests. There is still some additional fine-tuning to be done, but the basics are done and the vehicle should be extremely safe despite such a flat face.
"It's pretty much like a go-kart," said Kranz, "because all the weight is very light. It really doesn't move, it doesn't roll at all [in corners]." This is believable as the ground is barely a foot above the ground, which was made possible through careful engineering. Similar to aComposite leaf springs at the front and rear support the vehicle and keep everything compact. This somewhat old-fashioned suspension design simplifies things and helps reduce the number of parts on the vehicle, as only two springs are required, rather than the four needed when using coils.
A rear-mounted electric motor ensures high performance. With an output of 300 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, it should be able to move this forward-shaped machine from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.3 seconds. The Canoo's 80-kilowatt-hour liquid-cooled battery offers an estimated range of 250 miles.
The Canoo has steer-by-wire technology, meaning there is no physical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels. This enabled the engineers to give the vehicle a variable steering ratio that is very fast at low speeds. Kranz said you can go from lock to lock without moving your hands, which should make it very maneuverable, especially in the urban settings the Canoo is intended for. Redundant electrical systems provide an additional level of security as there is no physical steering system.
In addition to the Canoo, which reps refer to as a lifestyle vehicle, the company plans to introduce a small van to be built on the same skateboard platform, although using front-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive will provide more cargo space. This front engine, which is currently under development, is said to produce more than 200 hp. According to Kranz, this delivery vehicle will be available a year after the first product is launched. In addition, he said, the company is also developing some kind of sports car that should be on the road by 2025.
Like and subscribe
Unlike other automakers, Canoo only offers vehicles by subscription, which seems kind of crazy, although its logic makes sense. "Today 75% of consumers don't buy cars," said Kranz. "They lease cars." People have gotten used to paying month after month for things like cell phones and cable television. Then why shouldn't they be interested in doing the same with their cars, especially if they have additional benefits? In addition to the vehicle itself, a Canoo subscription includes maintenance, charging, insurance and a generous cap of 15,000 miles per year. The company is further sweetening the deal and handling DMV paperwork as well. There are no dealers to mess with. Everything is bundled in one practical invoice, with no down payment or long-term commitment. "If you don't like it after a month, you give it back," said Kranz matter-of-factly.
The inside of the Canoo is open and airy.
When you're enjoying your Canoo experience, cut out a check every month. The maximum time that the company allows a customer to keep a particular vehicle in operation is between 10 and 12 years.
Without a dealer, you can register for a Canoo subscription on the Internet. Service partners also take on maintenance and repair work.
Unfortunately, the pricing hasn't been released yet, but it will be very attractive, according to Kranz. The Canoo is largely made of steel and does not contain any exotic or expensive materials that would drive up the price. It should compete "in the middle segment of passenger cars". He pointed out that the company may be releasing pricing information in the next year, even though there are already more than 10,000 potential customers on a waiting list, so the business model is clearly having its appeal.
A step-by-step introduction
The Canoo is scheduled to hit the market in the second quarter of 2022. The company will roll out the car city by city, not all at once in the United States. Los Angeles will be the area to get the car, then other communities along the west coast. After that, the company plans to start on the east coast. Kranz said Canoo does it because around 15 cities in the United States account for up to 75% of EV sales.
Aside from the subscription-based model, the Canoo's whimsical design and airy cabin are certainly appealing. It looks like a lounge on wheels and all that's missing is a jazz ensemble and a cocktail bar – alcohol-free of course. No word yet whether any of these options will be available.
Canoos EV with subscription only isn't as good as it seems
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