Canoo unveils new electric van ahead of trade show debut

California EV startup Canoo has announced a new multi-function electric vehicle targeting last mile deliveries and other small businesses, starting at $ 33,000 but scaling up in size and cost. The vehicle is to be expected in 2022 and is the centerpiece of what the new executive chairman Tony Aquila said The edge amounts to a “company re-establishment” ahead of its debut on the NASDAQ stock exchange late next week, thanks to a reverse merger with a so-called blank check company.

It is Canoo’s second vehicle, after the subscription-only van it debuted last year. Canoo still plans to make that EV – in fact, the new multipurpose vehicle is built on the same technological platform Canoo developed for the van, and they share similar design features – but Aquila said The edge the immediate focus of the company has changed. “When I invested in it [Canoo], I have not invested in it for the lifestyle car. To me, I saw that as a derivative, but that the real asset was this multi-functional delivery platform, ”he said.

“The way I would look at it is that this is a re-establishment of the company, just like Elon did with Tesla,” Aquila said, referring to how Elon Musk got involved with the now famous electric vehicle company. foundation and changed its trajectory. Aquila, who comes from a financial and software background, invested $ 35 million in Canoo through his firm this summer before the merger and before he was elevated to chairman. ‘He put money in it [Tesla], like me, became the chair, had a different vision, comes from the technical world. So I can fully relate and appreciate what he has done for the industry. “

The new vehicle will initially be sold in two variants, although Canoo says more will eventually be offered. The smaller one (which starts at $ 33,000) is 14.4 feet long, 6.4 feet wide, and 6.2 feet long, and has 230 cubic feet of cargo space. Canoo also offers three different battery options: 40kWh (with an estimated range of 130 miles), 60kWh (190 miles), and 80kWh (230 miles).

The company will also make a larger version that is 5.70 meters long, 2.20 meters wide and 8.20 meters high, with 500 cubic meters of cargo space, which Aquila says is “unheard of for this industry”. The same battery pack options will be available, although the estimated range will drop to 90 miles, 140 miles and 190 miles, respectively, thanks to the added weight.

The vehicle can be further customized from there, according to Canoo, who suggests options such as storage cabinets, a roller shutter door or driveways in its press release. Aquila said that this type of customization represents a “real golden opportunity … to bring electric vehicles to the center of America” ​​by targeting small business owners looking to move to electric vehicles. He also claims it will help return “capital” to these vehicle owners (thanks to things like the low to no maintenance of electric vehicles) at a cost of as much as $ 50,000 to $ 80,000 over seven years.

Canoo has not shared any details on pricing above the $ 33,000 base model. Limited deliveries will start in 2022 and wider production in 2023.

Debuting a second vehicle, setting up a new business model and evolving into a publicly traded company are important milestones for Canoo, which is only three years old. That said, the public listing is no surprise given that multiple EV startups (as well as other companies, including suppliers in the wider electric vehicle space) have either been preparing public listings or have already gone public during what has become a bona fide gold rush. – one fueled by Tesla’s rising valuation and the sudden popularity of startups merging with these “specialty acquisition companies,” or SPACs.

Few startups have been able to follow Tesla in the electric vehicle world over the past decade. Most are from China and still have a limited track record. But this new wave of attention and funding could free up the kind of money that companies like Canoo need to try out the money-hungry affair of vehicle design and manufacturing.

Canoo was founded in late 2017 by a few former BMW executives who had tried to get the buzzing, yet troubled EV startup Faraday Future out of a financial nosedive. Thwarted by Faraday Future’s founder, stubborn Chinese tycoon Jia Yueting, those executives split off and created Evelozcity, which they eventually renamed Canoo. Buoyed by money from a touchscreen tycoon in Taiwan, a financier with CCP ties in China, and a UK businessman close to Prince Andrew, such as The edge For the first time, Canoo enlisted a team of about 300 people in Los Angeles to develop the electric van and the underlying technology.

In August, Canoo announced its merger with the blank check company, Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp IV. The deal is expected to close next week, with Canoo becoming a publicly traded company on NASDAQ under the ticker “GOEV.”

Canoo’s founders always intended to use the van’s modular platform to power other vehicles, but Aquila is reinforcing that vision by accelerating those plans.

With that in mind, changes are being made to Canoo’s corporate structure. Ulrich Kranz, one of the BMW executives who co-founded Canoo and the current CEO, is no longer on the company’s board of directors. He will instead be a “special advisor” to Aquila, and while he remains CEO, his contract has been renegotiated and now includes language explaining the possibility of his being replaced, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“I want to build a world-class business here, and what I’ve said to everyone is look, you’re going as far in this business and as big as this business as we all do together. But it’s like a baseball team. Everyone has to play their position and they have to play it really well for each season, and those positions can change over time, ”said Aquila. The edge when asked about Kranz’s new contract. “There is certainly a role [for Kranz]. There is certainly advice that can happen. But to scale an organization at this level, I mean, that’s a different experience than he has. “

(For what it’s worth, if Kranz is removed as CEO but remains as Aquila’s advisor, his salary will more than triple from $ 648,000 to $ 2.5 million, according to the agreement filed with the SEC.)

Aquila told me too The edge that one of Canoo’s founding investors, Pak Tam Li, will not be on the board, despite owning between 32 and 36 percent of the company after the merger is completed, according to SEC filings.

Li, also referred to as Li Botan, runs a huge investment company in China and is the son-in-law of Jia Qinglin who was the fourth-highest leader in China before retiring in 2013. The edge that this choice was made to avoid problems with the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, which has authority over deals that could be problematic from a national security point of view. (Li’s involvement with Canoo was first reported by The edge last year.) “It’s best to get ahead of things rather than deal with them [after], ‘Aquila said.

Correction: This article previously claimed that Canoo’s stock ticker will be CNOO. It will be GOEV. We regret the mistake.