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Canoo joins in on the electric pickup frenzy

Written by Theo Koenig – May 13, 2021

Reviewed by Kfir Kedem

While most of today’s traditional electric vehicle manufacturers look to sell their vehicles directly to customers, Canoo Inc. (Nasdaq: GOEV) - a Los Angeles-based start-up - aims to deliver their models exclusively through subscription service plans. The unorthodox business model has certainly raised eyebrows (and even lawsuits). In a world where vehicle ownership is becoming increasingly difficult for a younger generation, this idea could possess some hard-earned merit.

Canoo Inc. define themselves as purpose-built electric vehicle developers with proprietary ownership of a highly versatile platform architecture. Their vehicles are designed to fill specific gaps within the market that Canoo believes will reinvent the automotive industry. As of now, the company offers 3 vehicles. Unfortunately they are all still on a pre-order basis. Their latest vehicle, the Pickup Truck, is a truly impressive machine.

Canoo’s electric pickup truck is all about efficiency. It runs on Canoo's biggest asset: an incredibly thin, but powerful skateboard platform. It has the foremost advantage of being lighter than conventional platforms - a feat that has been achieved through improvements in technology. According to Canoo, it is set to be the first platform to employ steer-by-wire technology. Most traditional platforms employ mechanical steering columns, and these have the disadvantage of protruding into the vehicle and taking up space within the platform. Canoo has said goodbye to the physical connection between wheel and steering-wheel, with the goal of improving the handling and responsiveness of the vehicle. Canoo’s in-house battery technology is incorporated directly into the platform, and the company performs all the crash-testing by themselves.

Beyond the platform on which it runs, Canoo have also put considerable attention into the design of their pickup truck. It is designed to give the users as much freedom as possible. The best example of this is the truck bed, where Canoo’s engineers have added all kinds of functionalities. The biggest change is the slide-out extension, which allows the truck bed to extend a further 2 feet outward. Integrated within the extended tailgate doors is a second pair of taillights, allowing for the truck to be driven with the bed space maximized.

A space divider system is incorporated into the bed of the truck, allowing for the separation and safe stowing-away of items (as can be seen in the pictures below). The bed has been further designed to accommodate camper shells, and camping aficionados will be happy to hear the of the roll-down rear window function for easy access. Finally, side tables flip down on both sides of the truck, which allows for easier unloading while also providing customers with a table or workbench.

While most current electric pickup trucks offer a second storage area in the form of a so-called “frunk”, the driver position of the Canoo pickup is far too close to the front for this to be a possible option. Instead, the engineers have integrated a neat little cargo area. It includes an extendable table that operates as a workbench, with access to electrical outlets and USB-ports.

As with all Canoo vehicles, subscription customers will have the choice of either a dual or a single rear-motor. The specs of the pickup vehicle (for a dual motor) are as follows:

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Auto Trendy’s take:

Canoo have truly gone above and beyond with their pickup truck. We even had to leave some out some of the incredible details as to not exhaust our readers. The vehicles themselves seem truly well thought out, as does the platform architecture. Our main concern with the start-up is rather what lies ahead. First of all, the electric pickup market is rapidly becoming saturated (GM Hummer, Tesla Cybertruck, Rivian R1T, Lordstown Endurance, etc). As per the business model, manufacturing is set to be outsourced to other companies, though none have been named yet. Furthermore, heavy skepticism lies around the viability of a subscription-based model, and precisely what the company concretely means by this. While the subscription model may work for some other Canoo vehicles (we’ll be writing more about these in the coming weeks), we’re not entirely sure about the success of this model with a pickup truck. Nonetheless, we’re truly impressed with the vehicle and we’ll be sure to bring you more information on this exciting company soon!

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