Evelozcity, an electric car startup based in Los Angeles and formed by ex-Faraday Future staff, announced Monday that it has changed its name to Canoo.
The odd name was picked because of its connection with the word “canoe,” which the company hopes will conjure up thoughts of both relaxation and movement in customer minds.
Canoo also released a teaser depicting concepts that preview some of its upcoming cars, the first of which is due in early 2021. At least four cars are planned, including a sporty lifestyle vehicle, a personal commuter car (possibly a pod-like car), a last-mile delivery van, and a vehicle for ride-hailing.
Unlike rival startups that initially offer expensive vehicles, Canoo wants to build up a large customer base by offering practical and affordable cars.
Another area of differentiation will be a subscription-only sales model. While there will be a package that lets you keep a vehicle, we could potentially see Canoo operate a fleet of vehicles that you book as required. The company is also working with partners on developing self-driving technology, so once the tech is ready the fleet could become fully automated.
Canoo’s vehicles will be based on a flat, skateboard-style platform that will allow designers to pen cars that look very different to what’s on the road today. The goal is to create a minimalist design that optimizes space. The company says its lifestyle vehicle, for example, will have the footprint of a compact car but the interior space of a large SUV. Range meanwhile will be as much as 300 miles in some models.
Canoo is only 15 months old but the company already has 350 staff and is run by executives with decades of experience in the auto industry. The founding team include former Faraday Future staff Stefan Krause, Ulrich Kranz and Richard Kim, all of whom previously worked at BMW prior to joining Faraday Future. The company also hired Karl-Thomas Neumann, a former boss of Opel and German supplier giant Continental, last April.
Perhaps one of its most significant recent hires is that of Clemens Schmitz-Justen. His previous role was head of BMW’s vehicle plant in the United States. His role at Canoo will be to oversee production at independent vehicle manufacturers in the U.S. and China. By outsourcing production, Canoo hopes to keep costs low at this early stage.