Skateboard-platform EV

EV maker to turn skateboard platform into light duty vehicles at reduced costs

Canoo Holdings Ltd, the manufacturer of Canoo, the world’s first subscription-only electric vehicle (EV), is also a company developing breakthrough EVs with a proprietary and highly versatile skateboard chassis for personal and business use. Recently, Canoo released a video showcasing the performance of its self-contained skateboard platform for the first time. Canoo transformed its skateboard into a cabin-less “skatekart”. Professional racing driver Sara Price was tapped to test the platform’s performance, which will serve as the backbone of all Canoo vehicles.

“I was blown away by how fun it was to drive,” said Price. “The overall performance was impressive. The skateboard felt powerful, with smooth and dynamic handling, especially during high speed cornering. The drive-by-wire steering was something new for me and it felt like it was built for the track.”

Canoo developed a complete set of proprietary high-performance powertrain systems ideally suited for its modular skateboard platform. The powertrain systems were explicitly produced entirely in-house to offer class-competitive performance across its full range of vehicles. The skateboard supports dual, front, or rear motor configurations and can achieve up to 500 horsepower and over 300 miles (480 km) of range with dual motors.

The rear primary unit is designed to deliver a maximum 300 horsepower and 450 Nm of maximum torque. The front unit is designed to provide a maximum of 200 horsepower and 320 Nm of torque. The motors’ efficiency is designed to peak at 97%, optimized for urban driving environments.

Canoo’s skateboard platform includes the industry’s first accurate steer-by-wire system, inspired by performance race cars, to provide a highly responsive driving experience and versatility for Canoo’s future line up. By eliminating the mechanical steering connections between the cabin and the skateboard, Canoo can demonstrate for the first time how the steering wheel can be moved to suit any cabin design or driver positioning. This versatility is well suited to accommodate full autonomy once commercially available and for right-hand drive and Canoo’s future delivery vehicles.

 The variable-ratio, speed-sensitive by-wire electronic power steering also introduces an opportunity to leverage software to customize the driving experience depending on user preferences and use cases, such as changing the lock-to-lock ratio to provide more precision driving.

Unlike other platforms on the market, Canoo’s skateboard is uniquely modular. It offers a genuinely self-contained, fully functional rolling chassis, so much so that it can be driven entirely independently. The skateboard architecture directly houses all of the most critical components of an electric vehicle. Aside from its industry-leading steer-by-wire platform, there is a transverse composite leaf spring suspension system, an advanced fully electric drivetrain, a proprietary battery compartment and battery thermal management systems, power electronics, vehicle controls, crash absorption structures, and autonomous driving components, among others.

Each component system has been engineered for optimal performance and efficient packaging into Canoo’s compact platform, emphasizing functional integration. “We wanted to showcase our skateboard’s performance and prove that our rolling chassis is a truly self-contained unit with everything needed to drive built inside,” said Ulrich Kranz, In Charge of Canoo.

“We have revolutionized the platform design concept with a chassis that can be easily married with different cabins, with little adjustment, enabling us to get new vehicles on the road faster and cheaper. By keeping the most critical and expensive part of the vehicle uniform in all our models, it allows us to rapidly and cost effectively bring to market a full lineup of EVs,” Kranz added.

Canoo’s core technological backbone is its skateboard vehicle platform that is common to all its vehicles. Utilizing a common platform, Canoo will rapidly scale subsequent vehicle programs at a significantly lower capital cost because it reduces expenses in research and development, testing, and manufacturing. Canoo’s skateboard provides a significant advancement in automotive technology. With the company’s skateboard, along with an efficient design and proprietary production process, Canoo anticipates new vehicle models can be developed in as little as 18 to 24 months, significantly faster than the average estimated timeframe across the automotive industry.

Canoo’s skateboard dimensions were deliberately selected to suit the needs of more than 75% of the most common passenger and light duty commercial vehicles on the road today.

Canoo has developed the world’s flattest skateboard platform, enabling class-leading passenger and cargo volume on a small vehicle footprint. For example, the Canoo will offer a large SUV interior space but on the exterior impression of a compact car. How was it achieved? The vehicle’s suspension utilizes a double-wishbone with two fiberglass leaf springs, mounted transversely in the platform’s front and rear. The dampers are mounted to the frame, eliminating the need for large shock towers that take up vital cabin space. The entire suspension system is incorporated into the skateboard and sits below the height of the tires.

The Canoo is slated to be introduced in 2022, followed by a series of delivery vehicles set to launch in 2023 and a sport vehicle to come after that.

Canoo’s in-house design team worked with Porch House to create the film shot in California’s Rabbit Dry Lake. The piece is directed by Cody Autterson, produced by Andrew Schneider with Jared Fadel as the Director of Photography. Still photography is by Jack Schroeder, and Jenna Norman captured the behind the scenes photos. (Story and photo courtesy of Canoo).

See the video here: