- Canoo’s electric SUV, dubbed the Lifestyle Vehicle, is officially due to start production in “late 2022.”
- The new Canoo LV, dubbed a “loft on wheels,” the will tentatively feature 350 horsepower, 250 miles of range on a full battery, and 188 cubic feet of interior volume.
- Canoo plans to make four different trims of the Lifestyle Vehicle: Delivery, Base, Premium, and Adventure. Buyers can choose from three different colors: white, gray, and black.
Canoo’s EVs stand out at even a casual glance with their retro-futuristic styling. Their vertical flat-faced front end evokes the cab-over pickups and vans of yore. Canoo’s electric vehicles promise to be safer than those earlier machines, however, with front seats placed behind the front axle for safety. Canoo says its characteristic design maximizes interior space in a handy, maneuverable, compact format.
No Canoo vehicles are on the roads as of mid-2022. The company’s electric SUV, dubbed the Lifestyle Vehicle, is officially due to start production in “late 2022.” However, Canoo is experiencing funding problems while burning through roughly $100 million in cash per quarter. As a car stock, Canoo has seen its stock price crash approximately 90% from its 2020 peak. The startup is moving its headquarters to the planned site of Lifestyle Vehicle manufacture in Arkansas. Meanwhile, operations at its second production facility in Pryor, Oklahoma have also been delayed.
If Canoo manages to put EVs in showrooms despite the obstacles, here’s what future owners can expect.
Canoo EV Pickup Truck
Sporting the standard flat-face front and huge vertical windshield of all Canoo EV designs to date, the Canoo electric pickup truck includes some unique utility features. The truck is available for preorder (with a $100 deposit) and might arrive sometime in 2023.
Stressing the main strength of its designs, Canoo says its truck has a mid-sized pickup’s footprint but the working capabilities of a full-sized vehicle. The smaller dimensions give the truck “enhanced maneuverability for any terrain” according to the company website. Meanwhile, the EV’s planned 500 horsepower and 1,800-lb maximum payload are meant to provide sturdy performance as a working vehicle.
While the Canoo pickup’s 500 horsepower is impressive, its payload capacity is adequate but hardly stellar. According to MotorTrend, Ford now says its F-150 Lightning EV pickup will have a 2,235-lb max payload. Canoo’s truck doesn’t really equal ICE full-size pickups, either. Even in 2019, according to MotorBiscuit, the Nissan Titan matched it, while the GMC Sierra 1500, Chevy Silverado 1500, and Ram 1500 all surpassed Canoo’s payload capacity by more than 400 lbs.
However, 1,800 lbs of payload are still significant and adequate for most tasks. Additionally, the Canoo pickup truck has more features to offer. The bed in particular highlights Canoo’s focus on modularity and extra functions.
The Canoo Pickup’s Bed
The Canoo EV Pickup’s bed is an element built with much more flexibility than a plain box. The bed itself is four feet (48”) wide and six feet (72”) long. However, the owner can choose to slide out an additional floor panel to extend the bed to eight feet (96”). When in the extended position, the halves of the split tailgate lock in place along either edge to create a solid extension of the bed walls. Extra panels fold out from each to serve as a new tailgate. This setup ensures cargo won’t just slide out the back.
The option to extend the bed, or return it to its compact six-foot configuration for everyday use or parking, isn’t the only bed feature. Built-in LED light strips on the inside walls of the bed and the back of the cab provide thorough nighttime illumination of the cargo space. The bed’s sides can flip down as workbenches, and include at least four electrical plug-ins per side for power tools.
Other Canoo Pickup Features
In addition to building a versatile, extendable bed with numerous built-in accessories, Canoo’s engineers plan to put utility features throughout the rest of the vehicle. These include:
- An 18-square-foot modular roof rack with adjustable tie-down hooks.
- A front-end exterior storage compartment where the grille would ordinarily be, with a fold-down worktable.
- Slide-out exterior storage drawers just forward of the rear wheels, doubling as side steps.
- Range of 200 miles or greater per charge, with an AWD or RWD power train.
- Capable of mounting camper shells to double as a small RV.
Canoo EV SUV, the Lifestyle Vehicle
Classifying some of Canoo’s vehicles is a challenge, with the Lifestyle Vehicle resembling a van but described by Canoo as something of an electric SUV. Scheduled for possible release in late 2022, the Lifestyle Vehicle or LV will be the first Canoo EV on the road, assuming any make it to production. Described by the company as a “loft on wheels,” the LV will tentatively have the following standard characteristics:
- 350 horsepower
- 250 miles of range on a full battery, with an 80% charge achievable in 28 minutes, for some trims
- 188 cubic feet of interior volume (note this is total volume, not cargo space)
Canoo plans to make four different trims of the Lifestyle Vehicle: Delivery, Base, Premium, and Adventure. Buyers can choose from three different colors: white, gray, and black. The Adventure trim features a trim-exclusive fourth color, dark green.
All variants of the Canoo LV feature the same driver “cockpit,” which makes the most of the Canoo EV’s layout for maximum visibility. The huge windshield, numerous windows, and faux cab-over design are arranged to give a panoramic view to the driver. Safety elements include a total of 12 airbags mounted at various points in the interior. Driver monitoring software keeps an eye on the driver’s attention. Canoo says the vehicle features a “fully redundant drive-by-wire” control system.
Variants of the Canoo LV
With maximum interior space provided by the boxy design, Canoo’s designers have at least four different layouts planned for the Lifestyle Vehicle. These trims seat different numbers of people and offer varying cargo space as follows:
- Delivery: This LV trim seats just two people in forwarding bucket seats, with most of the interior space dedicated to cargo. The maximum payload is planned to be 1,464 lbs of cargo. The range on this trim is a full 250 miles per charge.
- Base: A passenger variant of the Lifestyle Vehicle, the Base trim seats five and serves as an SUV analog. The vehicle will have at least some cargo capacity behind the rear seating row, though the exact volume isn’t yet known. The range is planned to be at least 200 miles.
- Premium: Canoo offers the Premium trim as a luxury passenger vehicle. This trim, which is more of a top-end passenger van, seats seven people and includes a panoramic glass roof and “street view window.” Rear seating appears to be a lounge seating arrangement with wraparound benches occupying the vehicle’s rear section. The range is still publicly unspecified.
- Adventure: Seemingly designed as the off-road SUV variant of the LV, the Adventure trim features the exclusive dark green exterior paint option. It also includes an LED light bar, a roof rack (probably modular and removable like that of the pickup truck), and a towing hitch capable of pulling 2,000 lbs.
Canoo EV Van, the Multi-Purpose Delivery Vehicle
Though both the Lifestyle Vehicle and the Multi-Purpose Delivery Vehicle or MPDV could be described as vans, the MPDV has no other role. In this, it differs from the LV, which also has traits of an SUV. The MPDV is a commercial delivery and work van, with a large windowless cargo area at the rear and seating for only two people in its standard configuration. The company website also shows a single-seat variant.
Canoo’s designers appear to have styled the multi-purpose delivery vehicle differently to set it apart from passenger models. The Canoo MPDV’s sharp, faceted edges contrast with the other vehicles’ more rounded-off visual cues.
The Canoo MPDV EV cargo van has cubbyholes for tool boxes and folding dollies seem to be planned for inclusion, as are strategically placed power outlets. Users can optionally outfit the spacious rear cargo area with racks, shelves, and a loading ramp.
The company doesn’t indicate specific cargo volumes at this point. However, its presentation does show the MPDV is equipped with much larger cargo boxes. Some of these appear to potentially rival standard box trucks for cargo capacity. An Adventure trim is also shown, painted the company’s off-road dark green color, not standard white, black, or gunmetal gray. This variant is configured as a compact camper and outfitted with a rooftop folding tent.
Underneath It All: The Canoo EV Platform
Perhaps the most interesting design feature of the Canoo EV is a single platform underlies all the different planned vehicles. The EV itself consists of a four-wheeled flat chassis housing the electric motors and one or more battery packs. Stout beams reinforcing the front and rear provide most of the vehicle’s fundamental crash protection. The company refers to this as its “electric skateboard platform.”
The “pickup truck,” “lifestyle vehicle,” and “MPDV” are large, separate, complex modules installed on top of the fully powered platform. The platform itself is an effectively complete, driveable vehicle. The “modules,” or individual vehicle designs, attach to this through sockets and electronic plugs and connectors.
Canoo uses a drive-by-wire system for this reason. There is no steering column connecting the steering wheel to a drivetrain. Instead, plug-in electronic wiring transmits steering inputs to the motors and wheels. Redundant systems ensure the steering remains operational even if the main drive-by-wire connection fails for some reason.
Canoo demonstrates the versatility of the skateboard platform on its website with photographs of a minimalist “dune buggy” configuration. The skateboard remains fully functional with nothing except a steering wheel and a single seat attached to it, with no superstructure whatever.
While it’s still uncertain whether Canoo will manage to transition to practical full-scale production, the Canoo platform appears to be a viable modular vehicle base of a new type. The approach has both pros and cons but could add flexibility to vehicle production. If it is manufactured either by Canoo or by another company buying the concept if Canoo goes bankrupt, the “skateboard” could provide the basis for dozens of different vehicle models, not just a basic pickup, SUV, and delivery van.
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