Los Angeles based car maker Canoo began designing and engineering its first model 19 months ago and Sept. 24 it unveiled its subscription-only electric vehicle, simply named Canoo. The subscription service is slated to bring affordable EV’s to market by 2021.
The vehicle hones a minimalist design, in what the company calls “an urban loft on wheels.” The vehicle maximizes interior space by eliminating compartmentalization and carrying a more furniture-like appearance, while still holding enough space for up to seven passengers.
The minimalist design carries through to the user interface. Riders will bring their device such as a phone or tablet to use for music, navigation, and other non-driving features.
Canoo has developed a proprietary “skateboard” architecture, directly housing the batteries and electric drivetrain. All future vehicles will share the same underpinning and different cabins or “top hats” can be married on top to create unique vehicles. Leveraging the same fixed and flat skateboard allows for reduced research and development costs, efficient production and better use of interior space.
The vehicle and skateboard are designed for an overall five-star safety rating. The skateboard houses the most critical components of the vehicle. The skateboard is also set up in a way that it could support a dual, front or rear motor configuration.
Autonomy for Ridesharing Future
Canoo also announced that it aims to build driver-assist features in its vehicles with plans to create autonomous vehicles to be used for ridesharing. The vehicle uses seven cameras, five radars, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. Currently, the sensors place the vehicle at Level 2 autonomy with plans to improve as technology evolves.
Canoo will also feature the first true steer-by-wire vehicle on the market without a hardware connection between the steering wheel and wheels. This means the Canoo steers by electric signals only. The company hopes the steering wheel will pave the way for autonomous driving. Adding that the elimination of mechanical connection will allow freedom to arrange the interior space of the vehicle.
The electric vehicle will have an approximate range of 250 miles and will reach an 80% charge in less than 30 minutes. The battery pack is fastened to the skateboard structure.
Canoo will now kick-off a beta testing period in which all functionalities and components are tested together in a fleet of custom-built Canoo validation vehicles. During this time, Canoo’s development engineers will evaluate the interplay of all parts and systems.
Canoo will present its vehicle to the public as part of a tour in two Southern California locations:
- The Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice, California, on September 29
- The Car Classic at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California on October 20