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Jay Leno reviews Canoo the subscription based EV company


Average guy who loves autonomous vehicles
Aug 3, 2017
Terre Haute, IN USA
Jay Leno visited the HQ of Canoo, a company building a city EV that will be subscription based. Essentially, you will not buy or lease the vehicle. You will pay a month to month fee which will include everything including registration, charging, repairs and insurance. The vehicle itself is basically a futuristic minivan. It does seat about 7 people. It is all electric with a range around 235 mi. Obviously, the vehicle is not designed to be exciting or sporty. It is purely utilitarian, to get you from A to B.

The subscription model is intriguing. I like that it is pay-as-you-go with no long term commitments. It could potentially be a lot cheaper than buying, depending on how long you keep the vehicle. The fact that the fee includes everything including registration, charging, repairs and insurance could mean huge savings. That's the biggest advantage going for Canoo, I think.

But I feel like Canoo will basically fill the "car rental" niche. It will work for people who need to rent a car for a short period of time. But I am not sure it will work for people who need a permanent vehicle. And of course, the car is not sexy at all. So it definitely won't appeal to people who like to own cars for their looks or performance.

I think the biggest weakness of the Canoo EV might be that it won't be fully autonomous. I think that is a real missed opportunity. A robotaxi would be more useful as you could send it off to pick up the kids from school while you do something else. A subscription based robotaxi could really work. But a subscription based car that you still need to drive yourself is more limited IMO.


May 11, 2020
Spokane, WA
Fisker's Ocean is planning to offer a subscription based service as well that they promise to be price competitive. Its certainly an intriguing idea, and for EV vehicles, with little to no maintenance costs, from the manufacturer the difference between offering a subscription service and a lease seem minor; and from the buyer it seems like nothing but a positive (no big down payment, no taxes and registration, no long term commitment).

Though Fisker strikes me as a vehicle I might like to drive. Canoo is such a peculiar vehicle that its appeal is really going to be how dirt cheap the subscription service is, given how its layout and use cases really seem directly aimed at 20-somethings. Layout is too odd for a family vehicle while on the other hand feeling like maybe too much for someone who is using it as a daily driver for just themselves. It seems like it'd be the perfect vehicle for someone who wants to be an uber or a car service, but with it being aimed towards personal use I don't know if a subscription model would have mileage limits or terms preventing commercial use.

And it still feels like very much a concept vehicle, so may be more development and refinement of it to com; for instant I don't know how viable those side seats are and I'd be very curious if a steer by wire system with no mechanical backup would allowed by NHTSA (I can't imagine they would have gotten this far into development if it wasn't, but still seems like it might be shaky).
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Jun 14, 2016
New England
Cadillac started a subscription service in select markets about three years ago. It was called "Book by Cadillac" and for a monthly fee gave customers access to various Cadillac models. Registration, insurance, maintenance, etc. were all covered in the monthly fee. The service was discontinued, at least as far as accepting new members, at the end of 2018 but plans were for it to return in 2020. That has not happened yet, perhaps due to COVID-19.
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