Canoo: A Bauhaus Inspired, Subscription-Based Electric Vehicle

10.18.19 | By
Canoo: A Bauhaus Inspired, Subscription-Based Electric Vehicle

With an approximate range of 250 miles per charge and a fast charging system capable of reaching 80% charge in less than 30 minutes, Los Angeles-based electric vehicle maker Canoo is hoping to convince car owners to ditch their gas-operated vehicles for a monthly subscription-based, seven seat electric-powered vehicle engineered to offer the spacious comforts of a SUV with the compact footprint of a compact car.

The blunt-nosed, pill bug-shaped exterior conceived by BMW and Faraday Future alum Richard Kim has the appearance of a vehicle that could drive one way or the other, with dimensions prioritizing optimal interior space. The emphasis upon a low stance, high-mounted cabin also mirrors Kim’s previous work for the BMW i3 (and to a lesser extent, the aggressively low i8), enveloping riders in glass and with large uninterrupted surfaces to optimize view and extend perceptible space.

At the heart of Canoo’s plans are a monthly subscription model purporting to offer everything one might need from a daily driver affordably (price TBD), covering services such as registration, maintenance, insurance management, and charging in a single price (all reviewable by app, of course.)

…we came up with this loft-inspired vehicle. We implemented the Bauhaus philosophy, which is centered around minimalism and functionality, and started with the reduction to the absolute minimal need. Next, we applied that approach to the seamless connectivity with the personal devices customers care most about – their phones.

– Richard Kim, Design at Canoo

The interior of the Canoo is equally decluttered, presenting a minimalist and spacious environment for riders to relax en route. Rather than forcing riders to use a proprietary in-dash infotainment and nav system, occupants are invited to engage with the vehicle’s non-driving features – navigation, music, or heating – using their own phone or tablet.

As electric vehicles take foothold, automotive design will evolve to offer more spacious living room-like atmospheres, the product of EV platform’s “skateboard” architecture liberating space previously necessary for vehicles built upon fossil fuel operated drivetrains. The Canoo is designed upon a completely flat skateboard platform with the option for dual, front, or rear motor configurations, enabling optimal passenger space, most notably represented by the vehicle’s wraparound sofa-like seating.

Curiously, the Canoo’s skateboard design is a self-contained unit, which means any variety of cabin designs placed on top for future customization or design updates.

Canoo is slated to launch in Los Angeles in 2021, but will make an earlier public appearance this month at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena’s The Car Classic on October 20th.

Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at