Is Canoo the Next Tesla?

Although it’s still an emerging segment, electric pickup trucks are popping up in the lineups of automakers big and small. One of the newest additions is EV startup Canoo, which hopes to debut its truck as early as 2023. The brand’s sleek designs and intense focus on producing an all-electric pickup have led many to compare Canoo to Tesla. But can this relatively young company really compete?

The story of Canoo

The Los Angeles-based Canoo says its goal is to defy “traditional ownership to put customers first.” The startup designs electric vehicles with a focus on spacious cabins. It claims its line will benefit consumers and businesses alike, thanks to a utilitarian design and excellent maneuverability. Before announcing the pickup, Canoo advertised designs for two vans. However, neither has gone into production yet, CNN reports.

The automaker employs just over 350 people and went public only last December, CNBC reports. But despite its small size, Canoo’s stock jumped 14 percent in March after announcing plans to release a fully electric pickup.

How does the young company compare to Tesla?

While automakers like Ford and General Motors are adding electric pickups to their lineups to try to stay ahead of competitors, Tesla and Canoo are jumping into the pickup truck market for the first time. It’s not hard to see the similarities between the unnamed Canoo pickup and Tesla’s Cybertruck. Both have sleek designs and make bold promises to attract customers who might otherwise stick with more established pickup manufacturers.

Canoo’s executive chairman, Tony Aquila, said his company’s truck “can change people’s lives” and “is designed to be exponentially more productive” than other pickups.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Canoo’s model and the Cybertruck is the range. Tesla claims the Cybertruck can travel over 250 to 500 miles on a full charge depending upon the number of motors. On the other hand, Canoo’s truck has a comparatively meager range of only 200 miles. Industry experts note this places Canoo’s pickup below many competitors and far below Tesla.

Even so, Tesla has continually pushed back the Cybertruck’s release date. CNBC points out CEO Elon Musk now expects the bulk of production to occur in 2022, with some deliveries at the end of 2021 “if we get lucky.”

If Canoo proves to be more predictable with its release dates, it may give the startup an edge over Tesla.

The future of the Canoo pickup truck

One couldn’t reasonably describe many trucks as cute, but the Canoo pickup pulls it off. It has no name yet, but it already stands out thanks to its distinctive rounded design that CNBC calls “bubbly.”

The buzz surrounding its appearance certainly helps it compete with Tesla — the Cybertruck might not be cute, but its appearance is definitely noteworthy.

Despite the many similarities between these two automakers, it’s hard to know how Canoo will fare once its vehicles hit the market. Its 14 percent jump in stock certainly bodes well, but the true test will come when the new pickup debuts and proves it can compete against Tesla.

The electric pickup market is still in its early days. As such, a small automaker like Canoo might be able to carve out a niche before the market becomes saturated. The bubbly electric pickup could flop — or it could be the underdog that wins the hearts of a new generation of truck buyers.

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