If you’ve been to Japan, you’ve undoubtedly seen fleets of small trucks spinning back and forth. Their size seems almost unbelievable compared to the beefy midsize trucks that dominate the American market. These Japanese mini trucks – or Keitora (軽 ト ラ, “light truck”) – are remarkably compact and embodied on four wheels. Designed for navigating the tight quarters of Japanese city life, they are powerful enough to use the pallet to move loads of several hundred pounds. great beds. Which leads us to Canoo’s newly unveiled electric pickup, a sort of “big boy” version of the kei truck that comes with a range of features designed for American life, both as an outdoor adventurer and for Domestic trips to the hardware and garden center.
The Canoo truck is classified as a “purpose-built electric vehicle” and is designed for both a single engine and a twin engine configuration. The latter offer over 200 miles of range and up to 600 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. That’s all fine and good, but Canoo is going to win some hearts without mentioning a spec thanks to its charming, blunt, cab-forward profile. It’s a slightly fun looking design, somewhat reminiscent of a beluga whale, if a whale has a penchant for the industrial goth aesthetic (or as my wife noted, “It looks like your slide sandals!), But we love it for its daring Confidence to take a completely different path than the competition.
Everything about the truck is designed to maximize a surprising amount of modular storage and supply options hidden throughout its body. A frunk at the front offers storage space for smaller items such as tools with an expandable and illuminated work surface. Extra points for the logo-free front.
Canoo seems to be fully aware that those likely to be interested in electric vehicle design will be just as interested in features for urban and suburban living as the #vanlife adventures its adaptable for Modularity advertises.
The loading area can be extended by a further two feet for a length of up to eight feet, with the rear flap of the barn door split in the middle being interrupted or separated with taillights in order to secure payloads of different sizes and shapes. The inclusion of indoor plants in the company’s advertising therefore shows great awareness of the intended market [raises hand].
Charging ports and integrated LED lighting also show a certain degree of foresight as to how truck use has evolved beyond mere transportation, and provide lighting and power for more leisure activities.
An optional roof rack provides additional storage space above, with a pull-out side step and a storage unit that helps with reaching into the bed or over the roof. My little mother, who hates my big truck, would approve of that.
All work and no play makes for a boring truck, and so Canoo also shows the ways their pickup takes on an adventurous weekender personality. Equipped with a motorhome shell and a solar panel, this optional accessory transforms the truck into a stockier, more muscular, van-like vehicle.
As a current truck owner, Canoo’s promise to have a truck with a really medium-sized footprint with great truck adaptability and electrical efficiency is an extremely exciting proposition. The Los Angeles-based electric vehicle company plans to begin pre-sales by the end of the year. Production is planned for 2023. The pricing is still unknown. But with many other electric vehicles on the horizon, including the angular Tesla Cybertruck and the confident Rivian R1T, we’re excited about another option that comes with a wholesome helping of “weird and wonderful” serving alongside the benefit of a traditional truck.