Here's What You Need to Know About the Canoo Subscription-only Electric, Urban People Carrier

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【Summary】California EV startup Canoo is developing a fleet of urban people carriers that will be offered to customers as part of a subscription-only mobility service. Here's what you need to know.

Manish Kharinta    Jul 14, 2020 6:00 AM PT
Here's What You Need to Know About the Canoo Subscription-only Electric, Urban People Carrier
EV startup Canoo is focused on building electric people carriers for congested cities.

Based out of Torrance, California, electric vehicle startup Canoo is working on developing a fleet of electric, 7-passenger urban people carriers that will be offered to customers via a subscription only.

The idea behind the subscription-only model is to make these electric people carriers available to members only when needed. In turn, Canoo will take care of all of the maintenance and upkeep of the electric shuttles.

To maximize the interior volume, the Canoo people mover uses a very slim skateboard platform that offers enough cabin space to accommodate up to seven passengers in a relatively small footprint. The compact dimensions, large cargo volume, and overall utility make the Canoo the ideal city commuter vehicle, according to the company.


To optimize the interior space, Canoo decided to incorporate the climate control system into the vehicle skateboard along with the lithium-ion battery pack. The liquid-cooled battery pack can be charged  from 0 to 80% just 28 minutes, courtesy of DC fast charging capabilities. 

The Canoo EV includes a single permanent magnet synchronous electric motor generating a peak power output of 300 HP, which propels the people carrier to 60 mph from a standstill in under 7 seconds. 

The EV is offered in a rear-wheel-drive layout as standard but customers can also opt for an all-wheel-drive setup. The company  says the Canoo people carrier can achieve a top speed of 125 mph, although its highly unlikely that any commuter vehicle will ever travel that fast.


Canoo developed its proprietary skateboard platform in house. All future Canoo vehicles will share the same EV platform, according to the company.

The steering system  of the EV uses a steer-by-wire mechanism, which enhances the safety characteristics of the vehicle, the company said. A steer-by-wire system does not require any direct mechanical attachment to the wheels which makes it easier for Canoo to introduce autonomous driving capability in the future. The steer-by-wire steering technology also helps enhance visibility for the driver, by placing the seating position more towards the front of the EV.

CANOO Lineup Cropped.png

The shared platform allows for different Canoo vehicle configurations to be built using the same skateboard architecture.


Canoo claims that its EV was designed to achieve a 5-star crash test safety rating. The cabin of the EV is built using high tensile strength steel and other lightweight materials. As many as 12 airbags can be installed throughout the cabin to ensure passenger safety.

The battery-powered Canoo people carrier also comes equipped with 12 ultrasonic sensors and 7 cameras, which constantly monitors the EV's surroundings and relays the data to deep learning algorithms. The EV's Advanced Driver-Assistance System (ADAS) also gets level 2+ autonomous capability and features such as facial recognition.


The electric people carrier gets one of the most elaborate open cabin designs we have seen in modern-day EVs, which comprises as many as 22 windows, giving the Canoo EV a bright and spacious interior. The interior design of the people carrier is also quite contemporary and uses what Canoo says are "loft-inspired" color palettes and materials. 

The seating arrangement is split between what resembles a wraparound couch at the rear with the driver and front seat passenger seats up front. There are no screens inside the cabin, instead subscribers can download the Canoo app and pair their mobile device directly with the EV. 

The overall silhouette of the battery-powered people carrier is similar to that of a 1950's microbus and the company claims that with its conservative styling approach, they were able to develop a timeless design. 

The EV rides on standard 20-inch wheels which are designed to enhance the aerodynamics of the vehicle. 

Competition Check

Since the EV its so unique, the Canoo people carrier doesn't have a direct competitor in its segment, but the Nissan e-NV200 is probably its closest rival. The Volvo XC40 is another subscription-based offering in the EV space.

Canoo has confirmed that its subscription model will not require a down payment, but did not disclose any official pricing yet for the monthly service. 

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