New Truck

Canoo's new pickup truck is a quirky little people and package transporter

The Canoo pickup truck is coming to market in a few years.

Photo courtesy of Canoo

Rivian has designed their all-electric truck to be big and beefy, with traditional truck-like aesthetics. Tesla went the other direction with the Cybertruck. Canoo's new pickup has looks more like a lorry you might find in Southeast Asia than an American pickup.

Canoo is a company developing purpose-built electric vehicles (EVs) using their own platform and architecture. Their fully-electric pickup debuted this week and the company was quick to point out its unique features.

Each Canoo pickup is moved by a single rear motor or dual front-rear motor combination. With the dual motors, the truck delivers up to 600 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque. It has a 1,800-pound payload capacity and offers 200+ miles of all-electric range.

Canoo pickup truck profileThe truck is shorter than a Ford Ranger but has about the same cargo capacity in the bed.Photo courtesy of Canoo

Canoo pickup truck profile

The truck is about 21 inches shorter than a Ford Ranger. A lot of that can be chalked up to its stubby nose in replacement of the engine bay. Because there's no engine, the Canoo pickup truck is able to make full use of its front via an installed cargo storage area and a fold-down work table that is complete with electrical outlets. The sides of the truck also feature fold-down tables with two expandable depths that allow it to become a work bench.

At 76 inches, it's four inches taller than the Ranger. They are the same width. Canoo has given the model a 64x72-inch bed that has a depth of 21 inches.

Like a. traditional SUV, Canoo's truck bed features a modular space divider that keeps items separate and secure. There are modular wheel chocks in the bed well that can be used to help secure bikes. Tie downs allow for secure storage of work materials like ladders and large equipment.

The truck's bed is six feet long and can be extended to eight feet via a pull out, which means hat a 4x8-foot sheet of plywood can fit inside. The pull-handle bed extension can help with loading and unloading, and serves as a license plate holder. When the bed is extended, a second layer of tailgate doors can be swiveled out and it houses secondary taillights for legal road use.

The pickup features two skid plates to protect from off-road terrain.Photo courtesy of Canoo

A hidden step on the vehicle allows for easy access to the truck bed. A flexible storage area below the step allows for additional cargo space. A third brake light doubles as an overhead light to see inside the cargo bed at night. Perimeter lighting on all sides of the bed wall adds interior visibility.

The flat-bed, electric body design of Canoo's truck allows for exportable power on all sides of the vehicle. Canoo says that utilizing the outlets with tools and devices has as little as a 10 percent impact on vehicle range.

Canoo is showing the truck wearing 18-inch wheels. It has metal skid plates n the front and rear as well as integrated tow hooks and fog lamps. Buyers can spec their model with roof racks or a camper shell.

Canoo pickup truck features: roof rack

Canoo pickup truck features: roof rack

Photo courtesy of Canoo

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The extended cab truck has two seats in the front while the rear compartment can be customized to fit two additional seats or for purpose-built use-case configurability. A tow hitch receiver, and steer-by-wire, and brake-by-wire technology are standard. Full specification options will be available closer to the truck's on sale date.

The production version of the pickup truck will open for preorders in the second quarter of 2021, with deliveries beginning as early as 2023.

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The Sakura is Nissan's newest EV.

Nissan

It's no secret that the Japanese get all manner of quirky, cool cars that we don't see here in the States. Sure, there's the Nissan Skyline and Mitsubishi Delica van, but tiny vehicles like kei cars and "minivehicles" are popular imports for Americans looking to diversify their drives. Pint-sized kei cars are ripe for electrification, and Nissan did just that with its new Sakura EV, which comes almost a year after the automaker announced it was working with Mitsubishi to develop tiny electric models. It's one of dozens of new EVs slated to come from the Mitsubishi-Nissan-Renaul Alliance this decade.

Though tiny, the Sakura offers a decent top speed of 80 mph, and its range of around 112 miles could make it an ideal urban runabout for many. That said, there's little chance the car will come to the United States. Japan's minivehicles and kei cars are far smaller than anything currently on sale here. For example, the Sakura's 133.6-inch length makes it almost 18 inches shorter than a Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback, a car that Americans would consider minuscule.

Nissan SakuraThe Sakura borrows features from the Nissan Leaf, including its battery.Nissan

Nissan borrowed the Sakura's 20-kWh battery from the Leaf and says it can be used to provide power for external devices or even power a home for up to a day. The car comes with three driving modes to change the behavior of things like regenerative braking and throttle response, and Nissan says it took further guidance from the Leaf to give the Sakura the quietest cabin in its class.

The Sakura's upright shape likely helps with headroom, but it certainly doesn't increase cargo space, as Nissan claims just 107 liters (4 cubic feet) of room. That said, the car features small-item storage spaces for gear like a smartphone or wallet. Buyers can opt for black, beige, or blue-grey interior colors, and an upgrade package is available that brings a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

There are a surprising number of features packed into the minute Nissan's cabin. A 7-inch digital gauge cluster comes standard, and a 9-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard. Nissan says the car's displays are oriented to reduce distraction and keep the driver's eyes on the road, and ProPilot safety systems are standard, including a new parking assist feature. ProPilot is a stepping stone toward Nissan's goal of debuting autonomous driving tech by 2030.

Nissan SakuraThe Sakura isn't destined for the U.S. - yet, anyway. Nissan

The Sakura goes on sale in Japan this summer. It's priced at 1.78 million yen, or around $14,000. The car will be available for purchase online, and Nissan says it will offer video chats and other resources to help buyers with the process. Buyers will be able to opt for a full in-person buying experience, a completely virtual experience, or anything in between.

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New electric SUV

Honda teases its first EV

The Prologue will go on sale as a 2024 model.

Honda

Honda is nearing the unveiling of its first electric vehicle, the Prologue, and today the automaker gave us our first glimps of the new vehicle. It's just a sketch, but Honda did share some production details and information on its product roadmap.

Honda DealerHonda plans to sell half a million EVs by the end of the decade. Honda

Honda says the Prologue will be an adventure-ready SUV "capable of satisfying everyday driving and weekend getaways with a strong hint of the well-received Honda e in the front fascia." The SUV was developed in Honda's Design Studio in Los Angeles, and was designed with an eye on Honda's global EV models. Honda said it focused on aerodynamics and fine-tuning the body to reducelines and improve range.

The Japanese automaker developed the Prologue alongside GM, but it has other EVs coming to market by 2026. By 2030, Honda says it will release 30 new EVs globally with a production volume of two million units. The co-developed vehicle is the first, but the rest will be built on Honda e:Architecture. In 2027, the automaker will begin building and selling a line of affordable EVs using the architecture developed with General Motors. Honda says it plans to sell half a million EVs in North America by the end of hte decade.

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