By on August 18, 2020


Canoo Holdings Ltd., creator of highly configurable electric vehicles built atop its proprietary “skateboard” platform, plans to merge with a blank-check firm in order to seek investor cash. If past examples of EV startups going public are any indication, Canoo will soon be valued at eleventy bazillion dollars, give or take a few bucks.

On Tuesday, the company announced a tie-up with Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp. IV, a special purpose acquisition company, in order to get itself a listing on the Nasdaq.

Once formalized, the merger will see the startup gain the name Canoo Inc, with its Nasdaq listing appearing as “CNOO.”

Valued at $2.4 billion after all the papers are signed, Canoo expects the initial share offering to rake in $600 million — proceeds that are necessary to get its vehicles into production. Already, the company has partnered with Hyundai to co-develop an electric vehicle platform for that automaker.


Canoo’s skateboard architecture is said to be the slimmest in the industry, incorporating a steer-by-wire system and capable of carrying any number of bodystyles atop it. The company envisions vehicles boasting loft-like interior space for the purpose of carrying passengers or consumer goods for household deliveries.

“Today marks an important milestone of Canoo’s effort to reinvent the development, production and go-to-market model of the electric vehicle industry,” said Canoo CEO Ulrich Kranz in a statement. “Our technology allows for rapid and cost-effective vehicle development through the world’s flattest skateboard architecture, and we believe our subscription model will transform the consumer ownership experience.”

Currently, Canoo is testing a subscription-only electric van that appears to have driven out of a 1930s Central European futurist’s dreams.

[Images: Canoo]

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14 Comments on “Another EV Startup to Go Public As Canoo Merges With Blank-check Firm...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    If it can carry a 4×8 sheet of plywood inside, I’m in.

    As for the “electric van that appears to have driven out of a 1930s Central European futurist’s dreams”, maybe you’re thinking of the American Dymaxion:

  • avatar

    “we believe our subscription model will transform the consumer ownership experience.”

    Yeah, it will nickel and dime the owner(?) to death. However, they do get point for using the gratuitous “experience” buzz/cutesy word. Of course, it could also just say, “…will transform ownership,” with no loss of meaning whatsoever.

  • avatar

    What in the almighty he— is that THING in the top picture?!

    Good grief, somebody at this company hit themselves with a paddle upside the head about ten times too many! ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      That is the push-me pull-you van. The inherent advantage to the design is that the driver never has to back up. There are operator controls in both ends — so just walk to the other end and… What’s amazing about the picture is that it isn’t at all believable that the real van (if it were ever to happen…) would look like this, but, also, it doesn’t look at all like the current fashion in artists renderings of prototype vehicles.

      It seems like a lot of these EV startups are nothing more than some kind of financial scam riding the wave of eco-cutesy.

      • 0 avatar

        “The real van…” You know they’ve built at least one physical prototype, right?

        I believe TTAC did a post on the music video it was featured in.

        • 0 avatar

          This would never make it through any kind of collision testing. There is no room for crumple zones.

          I absolutely hate the idea of everything being controlled by voice from a stupid smart phone. Dreadful. “Unlock my f##cking door, Siri, or else!” “I’m afraid I can’t unlock your door until your pulse is under 110.” (in the usual infuriating “pleasant” female voice) Etc., etc…

  • avatar

    “incorporating a steer-by-wire system”

    I don’t know if I am strictly comfortable without a physical connection between the steering controls and the wheels. I know we are already at throttle by wire and shift by wire, but steer by wire seems a step too far. There would be no ability to steer the vehicle in the event of a dead battery or power failure due to a collision. I’m more thinking about moving a vehicle for service or clearing off a road etc.

    • 0 avatar

      Steer by wire and brake by wire are a jobs program for tort attorneys.
      Be sure your kids get a little physics edjumacation on the way to law school.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Guilia each have brake-by-wire. I didn’t know this when I drove the Stelvio, until the salesman told me, and even then I didn’t believe him. It had very unpredictable, weird brakes.

      • 0 avatar

        Uh, I looked at the system description and I’m going to go with “it’s kinda-sorta-brake-by-wire”. It still uses hydraulic calipers.
        And apparently, if power assist is lost, the force of the driver’s foot pressing the pedal does in fact generate hydraulic pressure at the calipers.

        This explains it in a little more detail:

        To me, it seems remarkably similar to the Teves Mark II system from 1987, except that I don’t see a hydraulic accumulator. It looks like, instead of doing that, the MKC1 or IBS has a fast-reacting pump and motor that are intended to ramp up power assist quickly in response to the driver’s demands.

        I suspect that the goofy pedal feel is an artifact of this “just-in-time” generation of hydraulic pressure. It sounds like the pump and motor can almost keep up with driver demand, but not quite. They came up against a limitation of a system without a pressure accumulator, and the driver can feel that variation in pressure. Continental and Alfa Romeo would like to pretend the limitation doesn’t exist, but it still sort of does.

        My next thought is that, surely Teves thought about doing this back in 1987, because why would they incorporate an expensive accumulator system unless it was necessary for some reason? One thought is that maybe the pumps and electrical systems have gotten better and stronger in the intervening years.

        One other suspicion I have is that back in the 1980s, they thought pedal feel was a serious concern in a performance car. But now they figure all new cars drive sort of spooky, so who cares?

        The accumulator on the Teves II system was also supposed to give enough braking assist to stop the car at least once without excessive pedal pressure. Having owned multiple cars with that system, I will admit that in practice, it didn’t work quite that cleanly, so maybe safety factors are a wash against the newer system. But it is possible to stop a Teves II car without power assist, it’s just a leg workout.

        Final thought is that Teves is AKA Continental Teves, meaning it looks to me like this is in fact a successor to the 1987 system in more than just concept. I would not be surprised to see that this system references the company’s own patents from that era.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Leno did a segment on these. They did not appear ready for actual traffic speeds in the review.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “we believe our subscription model will transform the consumer ownership experience.”

    Perfect example of corporate speak. George Orwell would be proud.

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