California’s Canoo released a video Thursday showing its bare skateboard platform being driven around like a giant go-kart. The EV startup also released more details of its platform and powertrain in an accompanying press release.
The skateboard platform can be driven around without bodywork because it contains all of a vehicle’s mechanical components—including the motors, battery pack, steering gear, and suspension. This helps free up passenger space, and makes it easier for Canoo to launch different models by simply placing a new body atop the skateboard.
Canoo said the platform can accommodate front, rear, or dual-motor powertrains, with all components developed in-house.
The dual-motor powertrain can produce over 500 horsepower, with over 300 miles of range, according to Canoo. Output is split between a rear “primary unit” with 300 hp and 331 pound-feet of torque, and a front motor with 200 hp and 236 lb-ft. Motors peak at 97% efficiency, which Canoo said is optimal for the urban driving cycles its vehicles are designed for.
A steer-by-wire system eliminates the physical connection between the steering wheel and the road, but also the need for a steering rack that would protrude above the chassis. It also allows for greater flexibility in cabin design and driver positioning, as well as right-hand-drive configurations for delivery vehicles.
The steering system features speed-sensitive power assist, and the number of turns lock-to-lock can be customized depending on driver preferences and use cases.
Suspension is a double-wishbone setup, with two fiberglass transverse leaf springs, and dampers mounted to the frame. Again, this is due to packaging considerations. It eliminates the need for shock towers, keeping the entire suspension system below the height of the tires.
Founded by former Faraday Future staff in 2017, Canoo plans to offer its electric cars exclusively through a subscription service, starting in Los Angeles in 2021. Its first model is a van-like vehicle with a single, rear-mounted motor, 300 hp, and a 250-mile range. Canoo plans to follow that up with three other models, including a delivery van and a sporty car.