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EV startup Evelozcity rebrands as Canoo, plans subscription-only sales

Canoo plans to launch four electric cars by 2021.

Canoo electric vehicle platform
Canoo says reusing the same "skateboard" chassis for multiple vehicle types will save development cost and time.

An electric-car startup called Evelozcity has rebranded itself as Canoo and announced a new business model that will involve only offering vehicles through subscriptions, rather than traditional sales. The Los Angeles-based company announced Monday that it will offer four different vehicles starting in 2021.

Canoo's four vehicles will all be built upon the company's own skateboard-style electric-car platform, which is claimed to return up to 300 miles of range per charge. Like many other electric vehicles, including Volkswagen Group's MEB platform, Canoo's strategy is to have all of the power electronics and other components integrated into the chassis so that multiple body types can be offered.

Specifically, Canoo plans to offer a "lifestyle vehicle" claimed to have the interior room of an SUV in the exterior dimensions of a compact car; a vehicle specifically designed for last-mile deliveries; a ride-hailing vehicle; and a "personal commuter" vehicle. Few details have been offered, though Canoo hints drivers will use their own phone to operate the car's infotainment system, providing "a lean user interface that easily connects with the user's own existing digital life."

To cut down on capital expenditures, Canoo will outsource the manufacturing of its cars to companies in the US and China. It also plans a direct-sales model without dealerships, and rather than one-time sales, Canoo says it will offer subscriptions to its vehicles. The subscription lengths are variable from as little as 24 hours to a much longer period, the company says.

The company now known as Canoo was founded in 2017 and now has more than 300 employees. The new name was chosen because "it sounds distinctive, looks cool and creates a feeling of both relaxation and movement," Canoo head Stefan Krause said in a statement. Hopefully we'll learn more about the company's four new electric cars between now and their planned launch in 2021.