You might have heard of Canoo by now, the EV startup building the pod-like subscription vehicles meant to revolutionize the way we think of transportation. Buzzwords aside, the company is building something quite different out of a modular platform that many new electric automakers are beginning to utilize: the skateboard. And as Canoo demonstrates in its latest promotional video, the skateboard isn’t only versatile, but it can be damn fun to drive.
At first glance, you’ll notice that this thing doesn’t look like the square vehicles that Canoo has shown off to the world. What you’re actually seeing is the stripped-down version of the vehicle’s underpinnings packaged into a single drivable unit that is modular enough to house all of Canoo’s future offerings.
Canoo’s goal of this little project is to show that despite the utilitarian nature of its vehicles, they’re anything but an appliance under the skin. And when you put extreme racing driver Sara Price behind the wheel, they can even become hoonable. Meet the skatekart.
The retro-futuristic racer look is awesome—white-knuckled driving in a racing seat strapped to a tiny roll bar with only a steering wheel and pedals to compliment it. Underneath the driver sits the vehicle’s two electric motors which provide instantaneous torque to all four wheels. Canoo says the platform itself is capable of 500 rear-biased horsepower and 300 miles of range, and as Price demonstrates, that translates into a hell of a lot of fun when unleashed.
“I was blown away by how fun it was to drive,” said Price after piloting the so-called skatekart. “The overall performance was impressive. The skateboard felt powerful, with smooth and dynamic handling, especially during high-speed cornering. The drive-by-wire steering was something new for me and it felt like it was built for the track.”
Sadly Price’s experience will be unique and you shouldn’t expect a Canoo-branded race car any time soon. The idea here is to showcase that Canoo’s offerings can be as modular as possible thanks to the skateboard design. Since there are no mechanical links between the car’s steering or power modulations, the vehicle controls can be moved and mounted anywhere on the platform. To prove its point, the startup literally mounted the vehicle controls to the chassis and sent it.
The skateboard architecture is nothing particularly new for electric automakers; however, Canoo takes it a step further and has committed to keeping the platform common across its entire lineup. This essentially means that the automaker can choose whatever body and features it wants independent of the actual powertrain, enabling rapid new vehicle development in as little as 18 months. Canoo says that its approach to modularity allows it to meet the needs of around 75 percent of all passenger and light duty commercial vehicles on the road today.
Canoo anticipates launching its first customer vehicle—simply called the Canoo—in 2022 with subscription-based deliveries beginning that year. The automaker says that by the following year, it will launch a series of delivery vehicles, followed by a “sport vehicle” offering shortly after. Needless to say, if it can be even half as fun as the skateboard looks, we’re all for it.
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