The cost of purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) is dropping, but we’re still a long way before they replace petrol and diesel-based vehicles. Sure, financing options are available and leasing companies around the world are starting to draft EVs into their fleets. But, what if you don’t want to own a car or would prefer be contract-free?
The Californian-based startup, Canoo, is looking to bring something new to the market with its SUV – also named, Canoo. To get access to the vehicle you’ll pay a subscription; just as you would to Spotify or Netflix. You’d then have access to an SUV, where you can choose to share your ride, if you so wish with other commuters. Think of it, if you will, as a ride-sharing Uber with the option to drive the car yourself without the need of picking anyone up.
The company believes customers want to be free of ownership, where the worries of owning and renting a vehicle can be stressful; whereas, with a subscription-based model, all those hassles become a thing of the past.
As for the vehicle itself, it’s a modern take on the iconic VW Campervan. From the outside, the all-electric SUV has a unique look: it’s bubble-shaped, has a long wheelbase, and cross-shaped headlights and taillights set it apart from the rest; it’s almost asymmetrical, too.
Inside, things get radical: there’s no centre console, the dashboard is clutter-free and the rear seats have a U-shaped design allowing for more passengers to get on board. The manufacturer claims this was done on purpose, as it wants to simplify the life for its customers; passengers will be able to control the climate and heating from an app on their phone or tablet.
When it comes to driving, the Canoo uses both Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Driver Monitoring to protect the driver (and its passengers) from roadside distractions. The vehicle uses seven cameras, five radars and 12 ultrasonic sensors, which give a surround-view of surroundings; information on the speed and distance of objects surrounding the SUV; sensors that make it easy to perform parking manoeuvres; it also has Level 2+ autonomous capabilities.
To push the boat out even further, the company will be the first to implement the steer-by-wire technology. This technique reduces the weight of the car and paves the way for autonomous driving; there’s no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels as it’s done wirelessly.
Elsewhere, the SUV runs for 250 miles on a single charge, with a 28-minute blast giving it up to 80% of battery life. The rear-wheel-drive Canoo delivers 300hp of power through its electric motor, where it attains a top speed of 125mph (electronically limited).
Now, I’m sure this has whet your appetite and you’re eager to take out a subscription. Unfortunately, the company has yet to release pricing details and further will only be available in a select few cities in the United States by 2021. Plans to expand to China are on the horizon, too. I’ve been reassured that Europe is on the roadmap but there aren’t any plans that have been set-in-stone. One can assume the outcome depends on the success of the latter two markets.