Canoo Announces Road-Ready Beta Vehicles For 2022 & Potential Ridesharing Plans


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Representatives of the electric vehicle manufacturer and designer Canoo Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ:HCAC) have stated that the company is well on its way to have a beta vehicle prototype ready to be on the road by 2022. The company's management revealed the details in a fireside chat that took place virtually at Cowen's Global Transportation & Sustainable Mobility Conference taking place this week.

Canoo Highlights Strengths of Its Skateboard Chassis As It Touts $250 Million Investment for Beta Vehicle

At the event, Canoo's chief executive officer Mr. Ulrich Kranz stated that his company now employs 300 people and is currently testing its prototypes for vehicles. Canoo intends to deliver what it terms as a post-SUV vehicle, which will use the company's proprietary 'skateboard' chassis. It is currently road-testing its lifestyle vehicles, with the beta prototypes that it expects to have cost $250 million for development.

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The executive revealed that at its 90,000 square-foot facilities in Los Angeles, Canoo carries out administrative, construction and testing activities. Mr. Kranz stated that the skateboard architecture that will be at the base of every Canoo vehicle is one-of-a-king as it provides his company's vehicles with unique advantages. This architecture is highly modular as it incorporates all components for driving, steering, braking and suspension in a single design, which in turn allows Canoo to quickly launch new vehicle models and scale up production.

He also announced that Canoo will be the first company to launch a true steer-by-wire system that will eliminate all mechanical connections between the steering wheel. This will enable Canoo to create more cabin space and give it flexibility in its vehicle design by letting the company relocate the steering wheel in different orientations. Mr. Kranz also stressed that the steering system will provide his company with a leg-up in manufacturing automotive vehicles, as it will allow Canoo to completely remove the steering wheel from the vehicle. Transversal mounted composite springs on the skateboard will also make Canoo's vehicles very low profile.

"You can actually place a seat on the skateboard and having a game controller in your hand you can drive away with it. It doesn't require a cabin to be attached to make it functional. So this is unique, there is nothing out there like it in the market," stated Mr. Kranz.

Vehicles in HBO's Westworld featured driverless ans steering-free autonomous vehicles. Image purely for decorative purposes and does not in any way insinuate any resemblance with Canoo's test or final products. Image: HBO

Canoo Has Built 32 Beta Vehicles To Date As It Continues To Carry Tests, With First Gamma Prototype Expected To Be Ready By Third Quarter 2021

The skateboard architecture also allows the company to modify its cabin designs without having to significantly alter the vehicle's key design. It will also bear the brunt of collisions, with 70% of all crash loads and energy being absorbed by the skateboard and the remainder by the cabin. Talking about battery capacity, Canoo's vehicles have a battery capacity of 80kWh and a range of 250 miles based on U.S. guidelines.

By being able to design different vehicle form factors on a single chassis, Canoo hopes to target 75% of the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for electric vehicles. The company also plans to launch a ridesharing platform for its older vehicles, mirroring plans shared by competitor Tesla Inc, as it switches its customers to newer models revealed Canoo's chief financial officer Mr. Paul Balciunus.

Canoo is also looking to modifying its technologies and products for Hyundai, with the work including testing and building real-world products. In addition to Hyundai, the company is also in advanced stages of discussion with seven other companies for opportunities that ranging from product design to market deployment stated Mr. Balciunus.

Elaborating Canoo's plans for autonomous driving, Mr. Kranz stated that all control modules of his company's vehicles are capable of introducing levels 3 and 4 for the functionality. Differences between the levels concern with the amount of human input needed by the vehicle to make driving decisions, Canoo's vehicles have been designed to accommodate more sensors should the technology become feasible in the future.

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A render of Canoo's skateboard chassis. Image: Canoo

Canoo has built 32 beta vehicles so far, with 13 of them being capable of performing normally. It has also performed more than 50 physical crash tests according to the "hardest" standards. These tests have validated the designs of both the cabins and skateboards of Canoo's vehicles. The company also plans to produce at least 100 'gamma' vehicles, which will incorporate the results of the company's beta vehicle tests and will mostly represent the end-product. Canoo's C.E.O. also confirmed that the first gamma vehicle will be on the road at roughly the same time next year.

In response to Wccftech's question about the pricing of his company's vehicles, Mr. Balciunus, which not providing a numerical value, stated that Canoo is currently gauging consumer sentiment for price levels. Canoo's Head of Corporate Strategy Mr. Alex Marcinkowski stated that the company's subscription model will be consumer-friendly, as it will incorporate elements such as routine maintenance, bumper-to-bumper warranties, registrations with the authorities and insurance processes.

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