EV Startup Canoo Offers Subscription Model

can be reached at meehna@gmail.com
can be reached at meehna@gmail.com
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There’s a new electric car in town and it’s called the Canoo. It’s the new direction and rebrand from startup EVelozcity.  Headquartered in Los Angeles, it was founded in 2017 by three former BMW executives who jumped ship from the German car company.

Due in 2021, the Canoo seems to be just a concept at this point. The company only revealed a rough diagram of what they call a lifestyle vehicle that will have the space of a large SUV within the profile of a compact car. That’s a pretty ambitious proposition never attempted before. And, quite a desirable one. Who wouldn’t want the room advantages afforded by an SUV in a compact?

Drawing of “Commuter” car (Image: Canoo)

Shape Shifter

The Canoo intends to accomplish the roomy interior with a, shall we say, unusual shape. From the pictures, it resembles a van that married a pod. The Canoo will use a  universal “skateboard” platform that houses a battery pack with an electric drivetrain. A smart design that slashes R&D costs to reconceive a chassis from the ground up. Currently, the company plans to use the platform on a traditional car design they call a “personal commuter vehicle”. In addition, the platform underpins the proposed dedicated ride-hailing vehicle. There will be different “cabins” available to choose from.

Subscription Pricing

Here’s where it gets even more interesting. The Canoo only comes with a subscription model. It allows people to try on the car to see if they like it. If the Canoo’s not quite your thing, return to sender. Drive the Canoo for one month or keep it for years. And, the subscription provides lots of flexibility so you’re not on the hook for the length of a traditional lease. However, Canoo will charge a return fee for administrative expenses and the on-boarding process. Still less than breaking a lease.

If that isn’t incentive enough to check out a Canoo, the company sweetens the deal. While the first cars off the assembly line will be controlled by people, Canoo intends to build in technology that will enable the car to drive autonomously in anticipation of the future. That could take away the hesitation of consumers who don’t want to worry about purchasing another car when autonomous driving becomes a reality.

Image: Filip Mroz on Unsplash

What’s in a Name?

Now let’s deal with the elephant in the room: naming the brand Canoo. To say the least, it’s pretty offbeat and funky. After apparently considering about 400 names, Canoo floated to the top. The logic behind the name Stefan Krause, CEO of Canoo, said in a statement is “it sounds distinctive, looks cool and creates a feeling of both relaxation and movement.” Okaaaay. That’s a matter of taste, I suppose. He also said, “For thousands of years, a canoe has been a simple, sustainable transportation device used all over the world.” I’ll buy that. Still, the name lacks a certain charm or grace, at least in my opinion. What do you think?

In previous statements, Canoo said it’s aiming to price their vehicles in a range of $35,000 to $50,000. We’ve seen scenarios where concept to production misses the mark. We will have to wait and see if Canoo hits their target.

Until Canoo unveils a car in the metal, we’ll just have to paddle along in anticipation.




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can be reached at meehna@gmail.com
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