Canoo probably did not drive much attention so far because it will not sell its vehicles. They will just be rented, which may make people think they will offer some sort of ride-sharing service. We have the impression that this is not the case. Canoo will likely follow Riversimple’s idea: something similar to ownership but paid as a subscription. One of these cars will be an electric pickup truck, and it deserves a deeper discussion.
In other words, you will use the car, park it at home, and keep your stuff in it for months or even years. The difference will be that, instead of paying for leasing or financing, insurance, taxes, maintenance, and other expenses, you’ll pay the subscription.
When you get tired of the car – or just need another kind of vehicle – you just give it back, and it will be used by someone else. That’s circular economy at its best, preventing the production of multiple cars that will end up in junkyards in a few years so that carmakers can sell you new ones, spending natural resources in the process, and anticipating Overshoot Day more and more. The Canoo pickup truck will possibly be the first one to adopt this idea.
We have seen it in the company's latest video, created to tease the presentation of its new multi-purpose delivery vehicle on December 17. And it was not the first time it emerged. Canoo’s pickup truck was also present in a video we shared in September and in an image the company released in February when it announced it would partner with Hyundai to develop a new platform. Although the words “Techno Truck” can be seen close to the rear fenders in the image, the company contacted us to say this is not its final name.
While the big news should be the multi-purpose delivery vehicle, the truth is that the electric pickup truck is arguably the most important product coming from Canoo, at least while it aims for the American market. No other body style is more popular in the US than this. Its success in the lineup will be measured by how many subscriptions it gets instead of how many units it sells.
For customers used to the idea of owning anything, it may sound weird to subscribe to a car. However, give it a good thought and consider the advantages the proposition holds. The first one is that you do not have to worry about depreciation or battery pack capacity decrease: the car is not yours.
You will also not have to worry about registration, maintenance, or insurance. Weirdly, Canoo said back on September 24 that you “may include” these services in subscription. The Riversimple model just includes them: it is not conceivable it would allow anyone to drive its cars without registration, to start with.
Insurance and maintenance are also not a customer’s concern. If anyone is wanting to preserve their property in this sort of financial arrangement, it is the manufacturer – in this case, Canoo.
As some of the people in the video say, the company intends to make the vehicle last for a long time and be as efficient as possible. That’s because you can add charging to your subscription. If it does not spend much energy, the benefits go to those who pay for it directly. Customers will pay a fee which will cover costs and make a profit for Canoo. If the car spends even less than when it started to operate, those savings go to Canoo, not to the subscribers.
The same logic applies to maintenance. A vehicle that does not break down is one that will not require repairs. Customers will pay for it every month anyway with the subscription and will benefit from a reliable vehicle – so will Canoo.
The only concerns about Canoo’s Techno Truck are that it is a single cab – certainly to maximize the bed – and a steer-by-wire vehicle, just like the Atlis XT pickup truck. Canoo tries to ensure that it will be a safe solution by stating it is a “fully redundant” system, which implies that there are safeguard if the major steering system fails. We’ll try to discover how that works.
In the meantime, we will check the multi-purpose delivery vehicle Canoo has to present to us and wait for the original Canoo to be on the market with its circular economy subscription model. When that happens, American customers will start asking about the "Techno Truck." We have just anticipated that with this article.