By 2023, we’ll have several electric pickup trucks to choose from, including the Tesla Cybertruck, Ford’s electric F-150, and even an electric Hummer pickup. It’s probably safe to say this model by California electric vehicle startup Canoo will be the cutest of them all with its toy-like silhouette, but that doesn’t make it any less serious of a contender. The Canoo Pickup Truck is also a highly functional vehicle loaded with clever features designed to entice people who need practical cars for work or recreation.
Part of what’s so satisfying about the Canoo is the fact that it finally nudges vehicular design into the future after decades of minimal aesthetic changes. The electric Ford F-150 looks more or less the same as it always has, and Tesla’s Cybertruck goes so far in the other direction, it’s been the butt of countless online jokes. Like its self-driving van, Canoo’s truck falls somewhere in the middle, which is right where most people want it to be.
Unveiled ahead of an Automobility LA event in March, Canoo’s truck is about the size of a Ford Ranger and features a rounded nose, an oversized bubble-shaped windshield, and far more cargo capacity that you might think. Though it has a small footprint, its cab is generously sized, placing the driver almost right over its front wheels, and its six-foot-long cargo bed offers a pull-out extension for eight feet in total available length. A second layer of tailgate doors swivel out to the edges of the extension to protect whatever you’re transporting.
The coolest parts of the design are a series of fold-out “secret compartments” that make the truck feel kind of like a Transformer. The first is a fold-down work table and storage compartment right between the headlights, which holds extra gear. The work surface has two sliding components that stretch it the full width of the truck, and electrical outlets on either side are available to power tools and gadgets.
Flip-down side tables on either side of the cargo area also become work benches with their own multi-functional power sources, and a hidden side step makes it easy to step into the truck bed. Beneath that step is yet another storage area for a first aid kit, a cooler, and lockable laptop storage. The bed itself is modular, too, with a space divider system that keeps items from sliding around while you’re in motion. Optional roof racks expand storage options, and the bed is designed to accommodate a variety of different camper shells.
The company explains that “the pickup truck is the third vehicle that will be based on the company’s proprietary multi-purpose platform architecture, enabling the accelerated development timeline. Canoo’s EV platform functionally integrates all the critical components of an electric powertrain to be as flat and efficient as possible. Traditional EV platforms have power units, shock towers, and mechanical steering columns that protrude into the vehicle and take up space.”
“By incorporating steer-by-wire and other space-saving technologies, Canoo’s thin platform, with no need for an engine compartment, allows the company to offer a flatbed size comparable to America’s best-selling pickup truck on a smaller footprint. This makes the vehicle easier to maneuver and more convenient to drive and park in any terrain.”
With more than 200 miles of battery range, 600 horsepower, and a payload capacity of 1800 pounds, Canoo’s truck is equipped to meet the needs of both workers and adventure seekers. GM, Tesla, Rivian, and Lordstown expect to introduce their electric pickups later in 2021, with Ford following in mid-2022 and the Canoo truck hitting the market the following year.