The Californian e-mobility startup Evelozcity that is led by former BMW managers (that had a stint over at Faraday) has got a new name: Canoo. They also streamlined their offer and have now announced four electric vehicles all designed for urban life and to be sold on a subscription basis only.
Canoo, formerly Evelozcity, is taking a different approach to traditional carmaking, offering their vehicles exclusively via subscriptions based on blockchain technology. The company claims to be “liberating you from the tyranny of auto ownership,” with an approach based on three main characteristics:
Firstly, Canoo intends on stay asset-lean, using contract manufacturing to outsource production in the U.S. and China. Just this month we reported that the company was looking to contract Magna Steyr as a production partner.
Secondly, Canoo will have no sales network, offering its products directly to customers on a subscription basis using blockchain technology. Since electric powertrains have less need for maintenance than combustion engines, the company has taken some cues from the airline industry and aims to refurbish existing vehicles to keep them up to date throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle. Also, this is a move away from the previous pricing that had positioned the EVs between 35,000 and 50,000 dollars. The new subscription model is entirely open-ended, CEO Stefan Krause told the Verge. Or, it is yet to be defined.
Thirdly, Canoo is developing a “skateboard” architecture, to create the four unique vehicles by using different pods on the skateboard platform. By leveraging the same fixed and flat skateboard, Canoo claims this will reduce R&D costs, efficient production and better use of interior space. This makes sense because skateboard houses the most expensive components of the vehicle.
All four of the Canoo vehicle types (up from an initial three), which they now classify as lifestyle, commuter, ‘last mile’ delivery and ride-hailing, will be based on this platform, which can provide a battery electric range of up to 480 km. All of the vehicles will move away from the traditional three-box car design with separate compartments for engine, passengers and luggage and with autonomous functions in mind.
To implement these plans, Canoo has hired Olivier Bellin as COO, who comes from STMicroelectronics, a Geneva-based semiconductor leader, who was also VP of Supply Chain for California start-up ICON Aircraft. Manufacturing operations will be headed by Clemens Schmitz-Justen, who is a former President of BMW Manufacturing LLC and will be responsible for Canoo’s contract manufacturing strategy.
In mid-April Canoo will gain James Cox, coming from Uber rider App, who will become the company’s CTO, overseeing the company’s digital services including cloud-based customer offerings. Finally, Shi (Time) Aobing has been appointed the head of HR in China and comes from an 11-year stint at SAIC Motor. Time is now responsible for growing the Canoo team in Shanghai since China is the other main focus of Canoo’s operations next to the States.
Canoo intends to launch its first electric vehicle model in the U.S. from 2021 and later in China.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.