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Watch Canoo Beat the Daylights Out of Its Electric Vans

It’s always attention-grabbing when a brand is willing to show you its vehicles in a vulnerable state, and the crash testing videos that Canoo just released are must-see. During the Leaseplan Virtual EV Summit in November, Gary Gumushian, Global Vice President of Canoo, repeated the automaker’s plans that we’ve covered before, but he also went into detail about the safety technology involved with making a vehicle like this come to life. It was an interesting portion of the summit and shed some light on what it takes to be an automaker now that EVs are starting to become mainstream.

“We can’t forget what it takes to bring a vehicle to market,” said Gumushian during a Zoom call in which his video background made it look like he was sitting in the back of one of the Lifestyle “Gamma” vehicles we recently drove.

To really drive home his point, he showed off the many crash tests Canoo has put its Lifestyle Vehicle through. Keep in mind, such development isn’t merely difficult for a startup—major OEMs put in just as much work testing their safety systems—it’s tough given the LV’s nearly forward-control design and semi-drive-by-wire systems. Nor were these your typical crash tests you’d see from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), either, as Gumushian stated, “These vehicles are aimed at five-star ratings.”

That explains why the video shows Lifestyle prototypes launching off ramps and landing hard on their battery cases; righting themselves after being launched off a roll over sled and into a dirt pit; driven off a steep embankment, driven at speed over an eight-inch curb; and even sent off a half ramp to test rollover resistance. Not only did the Canoo remain upright, but its battery pack never showed any catastrophic damage. “We’ve crashed these vehicles hundreds of times, we’ve put them through millions of miles,” Gumushian further elaborated, “every one of these crashes, the battery was not damaged.”

He credited the lack of pack damage to how Canoo packages its battery pack inside the Lifestyle Vehicle’s frame, ensuring the pack survives no matter what types of impacts it sees. “These tests are a remarkable testament to what our vehicle is able to do,” he said while also marveling at just how crash-survivable Canoo’s vehicles are. We’ll need to wait and see how the cars handle IIHS and NHTSA crash tests to see if all this work pays off.

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