CES

Look out big car companies – Canoo is coming for you

I have a dream. It’s a simple dream. I dream that I can quit work and spend my time in the workshop converting classic cars to Tesla levels of electric grunt. I really love electric cars. I love their torque and the way they can slingshot you down the road. I saw Canoo’s electric ‘skateboard’ frame and immediately began measuring the wheelbase to see what I could slot on top. Well, turns out that, without any chassis mods, a 1972 Chevy Malibu body would slip straight on. And punch out a green 300hp! 

Needless to say, the lovely marketing manager from Canoo was not entirely sold on my idea of green 70s muscle. Canoo state that their vision is “a world where cities are greener, more livable and less stressful”. I’ve got to say, they are really on to something with their ‘skateboard’ idea. 

Canoo believes that traditional car manufacturers are blinded by tradition and continue to produce EV cars that look like internal combustion-engined cars, even though they have very different engineering restrictions to design. EV cars have no need to comply with the traditional three-box shape, no need for air to flow through radiators and no need to accommodate the height of inline or V configured engines. Canoo really has approached their design with a black slate. 

Canoo’s interior design is not inspired by other cars, but by trendy lofts where you have “everything you need and nothing you don’t”. Designers have chosen a shape that maximises internal space while minimising the external footprint. On paper, this approach could have resulted in a VW Kombi meets spaceship look, but on close inspection, the design is beautiful, edgy and desirable. This could really work. 

With Canoo you really have to search for the gems of engineering. For example, the steering and accelerator are ‘by wire’. This means that different configurations, such as left and right-hand drive, can be easily accommodated. The seats are designed to look like furniture rather than traditional car seats. The Canoo seats seven. Furthermore, the Canoo has no screens. None! You just pop your phone in the cradle and enjoy full connectivity. I’m a massive fan of this concept. 

Interestingly, Canoo hopes to offer its product via membership. The membership, controlled via the Canoo App will be a one-stop-shop ownership experience. Sign up, pay the monthly fee and return your Canoo whenever you like. No need to worry about dealerships, repairs, insurance or registration; it is all covered in the membership fee. This might just be how we buy cars in the near future.

EFTM’s coverage of CES 2020 is supported by Samsung, Hisense, Sony, Intel, Swann, Uber, Vodafone, LG & Dell - full details of our commercial interests and disclosures are here

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Look out big car companies – Canoo is coming for you
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