Canoo’s Subscription-Only Electric Vehicle

The company fills the middle ground between car ownership and ride-sharing by offering a design-forward vehicle with SUV capabilities

LA-based Canoo formally announced its first-ever model today, its eponymous “urban loft on wheels.” The company aims to apply the subscription model to car ownership—freeing consumers from monthly payments, maintenance and registration. This model will also compete with lease-to-own vehicles in regards to range and charging capabilities: the canoo’s range is 250 miles and it can reach 80% charge in under 30 minutes.

“Cars always have been designed to convey a certain image and emotion; however, we chose to completely rethink car design and focus on what future users will actually need. Thus, we came up with this loft-inspired vehicle,” Richard Kim, Canoo’s Head of Design, says. “When you subscribe, you think differently about a car—now the value is defined by the user benefit. We implemented the Bauhaus philosophy, which is centered around minimalism and functionality, and started with the reduction to the absolute minimal need. Next, we applied that approach to the seamless connectivity with the personal devices customers care most about: their phones.”

The vehicle, which is being previewed now but officially launches in 2021, can seat seven but it maneuvers and is proportioned like a compact car—even if its capabilities are more akin to an SUV. Rear seats appear like those of a luxury couch, while the front takes inspiration from mid-century modern design.

The brand’s emphasis on the 21st century consumer extends into its infotainment system. A “bring your own screen” philosophy demands that the driver be equipped with a smartphone or a tablet if they wish to utilize navigation, music or other apps. The brand ensures this is the best way for the driver to remain connected and the car personalized. Canoo will also be equipped with a first-of-its-kind wireless steering wheel, with all commands from wheel to axle made electronically.

Los Angeles will be the first city to experience the canoo, when it launches there in 2021. In the interim, the team will be touring with a production model and touting its new alternative to both car ownership and ride-sharing.

Images courtesy of Canoo