Making headlines this week with the Canoo Pickup, an unusually-designed truck that intentionally eschews the status-quo, the automaker now has three different EVs in its range, but hasn't started production on any of them.
Usually, that would be a recipe for incipient disaster. Canoo's argument is that while its trio of vehicles may look different, and serve very different markets, it's the similarities of what's underneath that counts. In fact, you could argue that the startup's whole point has been standardizing a single platform in order to unlock maximum flexibility.
The Canoo skateboard is the platform key
The automaker isn't alone in developing a modular platform for EVs. What sets Canoo's skateboard apart from others in the industry, though, is just how disconnected – mechanically, anyway – it is from the familiar controls inside. While from the driver's perspective the steering wheel and pedals may look normal, the way they're linked to what's going on at the asphalt is not.
It uses what's known as drive-by-wire: rather than a mechanical link between parts, there's an electronic one instead. In Canoo's case that's both steer-by-wire and brake-by-wire. Rather than turning a wheel and having that mechanical action join – via shafts, gears, and power-assistance – to the steering rack, you're basically telling an electric motor to swivel the wheels instead.