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Canoo unveils a cute electric pickup truck that’s ready for the outdoors

You still can’t buy an electric pickup truck, but the number of hopefuls in this crowded space continues to grow. The latest entrant is Canoo, the Los Angeles-based startup that already has plans for a delivery van and a minivan-like EV that will be offered through a subscription service. Canoo will start taking pre-orders for the truck later this year, but doesn’t plan to start deliveries until 2023.

Canoo’s main engineering distinction is a “skateboard” chassis that contains all mechanical components, including the battery pack, electric motor (or motors), steering, and suspension. That allows Canoo to easily place different bodies on the same basic chassis, creating new models at minimal additional cost.

That’s how this pickup truck came to be. Even the body resembles Canoo’s, first EV, albeit with a pickup bed in the back. That makes the Canoo truck look a bit like the pickup version of the classic Volkswagen Microbus. VW is planning its own modern, all-electric Microbus, but so far it’s only shown passenger and cargo van versions. After seeing this, perhaps VW will consider a pickup as well?

The styling also contrasts with the other electric pickups we’ve seen recently, most of which try to channel the look of conventional trucks. The snub nose also makes the Canoo much shorter than a Rivian R1T, but the two are closer in width and height. The Rivian, in turn, is close in size to current midsize pickups like the Ford Ranger.

Rivian and Bollinger Motors have shown off clever storage solutions that take advantage of their compact electric powertrains, but Canoo may have them beat. The California company’s truck sports fold-down front and side tables, a side step that slides out of the bed, and a pull-out bed extension and dividers. You can even get a camper shell that slots right into the bed.

Canoo plans to offer single-motor and dual-motor all-wheel-drive versions, the latter producing 600 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than you’ll get in many six-figure sports cars, let alone conventional trucks. The company also quotes a 200-mile range and 1,800-pound payload capacity but did not mention towing capacity.

While Canoo now has three vehicles — including the passenger van, delivery van, and pickup truck — it hasn’t delivered any to customers. It’s the same story with most of the other startups developing electric trucks, although the Rivian R1T is scheduled to start production in June. Ford and General Motors are planning electric trucks as well. GM’s GMC Hummer EV launches later this year, but with a $125,000 base price, while the Ford F-150 Electric isn’t expected until 2022.

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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