Canoo, a Los Angeles-based company creating electric vehicles (EV) for subscription only, unveiled its first model, simply called canoo. The design capitalizes on EV architecture in a way that provides significantly more interior space. Canoo created this spacious vehicle for a world in which transportation is becoming increasingly electric, shared and autonomous.
Canoo will offer a commitment-free EV subscription for one monthly price and with no set end date. The subscription may include services such as registration, maintenance, insurance management and charging—all from a single app.
Canoo maximizes the unique benefits of EV technology by providing vehicles that have both a very large interior and very small overall footprint, perfect for city use.
With the interior space of a large SUV and the exterior footprint of a compact car, the canoo holds enough space for seven people. All seating is designed to feel more like furniture than traditional car seats. For example: The rear seats are more like a sofa to lounge on than a cramped and segmented backseat, and the front takes inspiration from mid-century modern chairs.
Canoo has chosen a minimalist approach for the user interface to provide Canoo subscribers with an experience comparable to a connected home. The user brings his or her own device, which is naturally personalized, intuitive and secure. Therefore, the non-driving features such as navigation, music or heating can be controlled via phone or tablet to be consistent with the user’s daily connected life.
Canoo developed a proprietary skateboard architecture directly housing the batteries and electric drivetrain. All of Canoo’s 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 a 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 with a strong emphasis on functional integration, the premise that all components should fulfill as many functions as possible. This helps reduce the total number of parts, skateboard size and weight.
While traditional suspension systems intrude into the passenger compartment, reducing the ability to maximize interior space, Canoo has a composite transverse leaf spring suspension that creates a completely flat skateboard, enabling maximum passenger space.
Whereas other companies need a cabin to be secured to a skateboard for it to drive, Canoo’s skateboard is a self-contained unit which means it can drive on its own with any cabin placed on top. The skateboard is also set up in a way that it could support a dual-, front- or rear-motor configuration.
The vehicle utilizes seven cameras, five radars, and 12 ultrasonic sensors:
The cameras provide surround-view images to the perception system, using deep learning algorithms to perceive the world around the vehicle.
The radars provide 360 degrees of sensor data for speed and distance measurement of objects.
The ultrasonic sensors provide short range distance measurements for parking maneuvers.
The suite of sensors is class-competitive to other Level 2+ systems. Moreover, Canoo’s central domain controller allows the vehicle to be future facing.
The combination of steer-by-wire and ADAS provide the foundation on which unique autonomous vehicles can take full advantage of the possibilities of space with Canoo’s skateboard.
The canoo will be a true steer-by-wire vehicle—i.e., without a hardware connection between the steering wheel and wheels. This means the canoo steers by electric signals only. The system is fully redundant, meeting the highest safety standards and comes with immediate and long-term benefits. Steer-by-wire offers weight savings and paves the way for autonomous driving. Canoo has the freedom to locate the steering wheel to suit any cabin design and driver position. Since steer-by-wire eliminates the need for a mechanical connection, there is more freedom to arrange the interior space of the vehicle to provide customers with exciting new vehicle options.
The canoo has an approximate range of 250 miles (EPA rating) and can reach an 80% charge in less than 30 minutes. The Canoo battery pack is fastened directly to the skateboard structure and avoids the redundant structure and space taken up by a separate battery enclosure. The battery provides torsional rigidity to the skateboard and to the overall vehicle. Since battery modules are directly mounted in the skateboard, the skateboard has more than one function as it also serves as the battery box.
The parts inside the battery module also serve multiple purposes in order to reduce the number of parts and to eliminate redundancies. For example, the Canoo cold plates serve to cool the batteries, hold the batteries and increase the stiffness of the skateboard. The skateboard architecture also allows for future models to leverage the same battery pack.
Since early 2019, the company has been testing separate parts of the vehicle technology for engineering and production validation. Immediately after the unveiling, Canoo kicks-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 in Q4 of 2019, before the focus will change towards launch and production. Further, the beta-built will be significant proof of the industrial maturity of the product.
Los Angeles will be the launch market for the canoo, starting in 2021.