Only a handful of small players are proposing anything different. Hyundai is the first major to partner up with a vision ready to challenge the status quo.
One could argue that companies like, say, Rivian is poised to make a difference but, in reality, they just made a pick-up truck. Rimac comes to mind, but they are making a supercar. Electric, yes, but just a supercar. Perhaps one could even say Tesla, but for everything they are revolutionizing, their cars are still very much of the present. That is seats in the front, seats in the back, a boot, and doors.
Hyundai Motor Group has engaged Canoo to jointly develop an electric vehicle (EV) platform based on Canoo’s proprietary skateboard design for upcoming Hyundai models. This particular design emphasizes an economy of structural elements and an extraordinary modularity to interior decoration and space.
When we say skateboard technology, what I think they really mean is that the floor, integrating battery, motors and suspension, is the actual chassis, and that the body and interior are placed on top of it. This is NOT the challenge to the status quo I mentioned. This architecture, hip as it may sound, is still very present in the F150, the Land Rover Defender or the Jeep Wrangler.
No, the challenge is that this is one of the first EVs that seem designed as a living space. As an extension of a house or as a moving room that takes you somewhere. Even the integration of the cockpit seems designed to eventually disappear. Assume in favor of chest of drawers, a TV or a rear facing sofa-bed.
We are used to plenty of “Concept Cars” at every international motor show. I can only think of another player, the French Company Navya with a product mildly similar. Their solution is clearly aimed at some sort of semi-public transportation rather than personal, but the concept is similar.
Short on details though
“We have been working diligently to develop a bold new electric vehicle and partnering with a global leader like Hyundai is a validating moment for our young company,” said Ulrich Kranz, In Charge of Canoo. “It is a real honor for us to help Hyundai explore EV architecture concepts for their future models.”
“We were highly impressed by the speed and efficiency in which Canoo developed their innovative EV architecture, making them the perfect engineering partner for us as we transition to become a front runner in the future mobility industry,” said Albert Biermann, Head of Research & Development, Hyundai Motor Group. “We will collaborate with Canoo engineers to develop a cost-effective Hyundai platform concept that is autonomous ready and suitable for mass adoption.”
Details of the extent of the cooperation are still to come. As are the potential investment in Canoo or the actual plans for model roll-out. However, for such a young company to gain access to such a potential customer base is certainly a testament to their prowess and forward thinking.
Canoo, however, is betting on a 80kWh battery pack with a weight of 2 tons. Supposedly good for 400Km of range. Supposedly capable of fast charging to 80% in 28 minutes. The important take away of these figures is that the turnaround for a family, and potential usage as small passenger vehicle could certainly change what non-drivers look at in a car. Truly interesting.