World’s First Subscription-only Electric Car Introduced
Startup follows lead of car rentals and automakers in availability
Following the lead of Internet media like The New York Times and the Washington Post as well as streaming networks like Netflix and Amazon Prime, the subscription model is the new cash cow facing industries galore. Rental cars took their cue from the aforementioned and by the spring, Enterprise and Hertz announced a series of tier packages available monthly. The same goes for automakers like Audi, Ford and Mercedes-Benz, which has already made subscriptions an option for consumers for some time.
Now auto startup company Canoo is entering the trendy sub revenue forum by making its electric vehicle available only by subscription. It’s a bold move for the Los Angeles company that hasn’t even been in business for two years. They’ve already rolled out their electric SUV that’s shaped more like a pharmaceutical capsule than a conventional four-wheeler, but once folks finish wrapping their heads around the arcane exterior, they’re attracted by some of the vehicle’s features.
The passenger interior is Bauhaus art house-inspired, with minimal frills, but seating that resembles sofas as if riders are in a loft than an SUV. Rated by the Environment Protection Agency, the Canoo battery boasts a range of 250 miles before recharging, which can reach 80 percent capacity in less than half an hour.
Beyond that, Canoo designed driver-assisted systems with safety top of mind with seven cameras, five radar units and 12 ultrasonic sensors to that the driver can get a real view of what’s surrounding the car when in motion. They’re also quite handy for parking, especially to drivers not exactly comfortable with navigating a space in a vehicle that’s potentially more cumbersome than a sedan.
Canoo also offers a steer-by-wire system for easier maneuverability. Instead of having to crank the wheel, despite the amenities of power steering, electric signals help with piloting the SUV, as opposed to a hardware connection between the wheels and the steering mount. For those who find steering difficult, the system makes driving much easier.
“We believe that the potential of EV architecture can enable a post-SUV era that addresses the ever-growing desire for space and value,” said Canoo executive Ulrich Kranz. “In my 30 years’ experience, I have never seen so many quality achievements in such a short time.”
Canoo has yet to announce the range of subscription fees. And while a specific rollout date wasn’t made known, the company plans to make the SUV available sometime in 2021, using Los Angeles as its first target market.