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Electric Vehicle Companies To Follow in 2020

Ben Parker

The Canoo by Canoo the first electric vehicle subscription service in the United States. With the subscription, you’re able to have access to the car 24/7 without any commitment you can cancel whenever you’d like. The car seats 7 people, is able to charge in 28 minutes and has a 250-mile range.

Credit Canoo

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It’s not news to anyone that it’s incredibly tough to break into the automotive market. However, it seems that times may be changing as many smaller new companies have successfully either been purchased or partnered with large carmakers. It was amazing to see how quickly Rivian has moved from obscurity to something that my dad is aware of. I don’t think that the (hopeful) success of companies like Rivian could happen without a bunch of other companies crashing, burning, or going through hell. I don’t really need to name names but Faraday Futures, Byton, the like. These companies have either failed or not yet succeeded because they outgrew themselves and they were looking for the money before they had a product. 


In the past few years, there has also been more of a culture of open-source. This has allowed for technology to progress more rapidly and the democratization of automotive manufacturing. Although the first few months of 2020 have left us all questioning what the future holds there are some projects that are exciting, not all are necessarily brand new, but are all companies to continue to watch in the coming year.

Rivian


You already know about this one. That’s the reason it’s number one on this list. Rivian’s approach has been to essentially make a Toyota Tacoma that is fully electric and from the year 2020. The Tacoma historically has been the truck for everyone who didn’t want to deal with mustering up the bravado of other truck owners. Basically normal people, like me. That’s why the Rivian has the same appeal, it feels familiar, and it feels approachable. 


They didn’t get too far away from the typical styling of a truck but enough that we feel like it’s the evolved form of the Tacoma Pokemon. But besides the truck why should Rivian be something to watch? It’s because of the people behind the company. For instance, Mark Vinnels, the engineer of the Mclaren 720s, is the Chief Engineer. I used to skateboard, so I’m also partial to the skateboard platform -- it’s pretty cool. The optimistic future for Rivian is hopefully the same route that companies like Volvo or Mercedes developed; in not only making consumer vehicles but producing high-quality commercial vehicles. Rivian already partnering with Amazon last year is definitely a sign of this.


Lightyear


The idea is this, what if the car was a solar panel? I remember growing up having so much fun with my dad building those tiny solar kit cars. I also remember seeing those first prototypes of electric cars, a lot of them actually used solar, and they were really really ugly. This one isn’t that ugly, in fact, it’s really not ugly. The car looks a little bit like a fish, which must mean that it’s aerodynamic. It’s not that fast, in fact it’s probably gonna lose to my wife’s Prius Prime; the car goes 10-60 in 10 seconds. 


The goal of the Lightyear One isn’t to be fast, to be a Tesla killer, or anything like that. The goal is really to be a Prius Killer, which is why the slower the better. If you’re a Prius owner like I guess I am, you know that your Prius will give your driving a score, and it always gives me a score of roughly 70 because it says I accelerate too quickly. Well perhaps with the Lightyear One I wouldn’t have that problem, which isn’t better for me but it is better for the environment. Lightyear has some pretty good claims as far as charging specs go. They say through fast-charging you can get up to 570km worth of charge in one hour. The range is 450 miles if you drive it right, where a Tesla will only get you 390. Their cars haven’t (at the time of writing this) gone into production yet, but you can pre-order one of these Gungan (star wars reference), land cruisers.


The R1S is Rivians SUV model starting at $72,500. This SUV has some pretty promising specs. One of which is that you can take this puppy into over 3 feet deep of water. The more useful specs are that it has a range of over 400 miles which is a big deal. The 0-60 time is supposedly under 3 seconds which to move an SUV that fast is astonishing.

Credit Tony Harmer 2019

The Lightyear One captures solar energy for its power. It has five square meters of solar cells that sit under a super strong safety glass. It was engineered to be light, so it’s mostly made of aluminum and carbon fiber. And as you can see from its profile it’s very aerodynamic. It has the lowest aerodynamic coefficient of any car on the market.

Credit Lightyear One

Arrival



Arrival isn’t in the business of consumer road vehicles, but they do make it onto this list because the prospect of their success is exciting. Their goal is to solve infrastructure problems with electric vehicles for human transport, shipping, and other business solutions. I think this is a space where electric vehicles can really provide a lot of solutions for business as well as remove a huge amount of emissions from shipping. Earlier this year they received an over $100m investment.


Canoo

Canoo is the coolest version of a futuristic Honda Odyssey there is. I would never own a Honda Odyssey, but I would 100% own one of these. Canoo is one of the more exciting projects to me because the design of the vehicle has really evolved what it means to be comfortable in a car. How they put it is “the interior space of a large SUV atop the footprint of a compact car.” For me, who lives in LA that sounds like what I need. I’ve mentioned before, and I’m still not sure I’m for the subscription model yet, but Canoo offers their car on a subscription plan. The waitlist is open and I’m so close to pulling the trigger to getting on.


The interior of the Canoo. Perhaps one of the most interesting features of this car is that it has no real dashboard. It uses your phone combined with a concealed information panel on the windshield as a dashboard. So you bring your phone, plug it in, and there’s all your information.

Credit Canoo

Nuro


This makes the list because frankly I say so, but I’m aware that technically I’m not sure that this qualifies as an electric vehicle per se. Nuro is essentially a robot, hoping to solve the same or similar problems as Arrival just on a more direct to consumer level. Today I can drive to the grocery store, park my car and have someone walk out with my groceries and put them in my trunk, or I can from my phone have someone go shopping for me and bring it to me. Nuro can’t walk into the grocery store for you but the robot will pick up and drop off your groceries with no one in the driver’s seat -- because it doesn’t exist.

The Drako GTE boasts 1200 HP and a top speed of 206 mph. It has a quad motor setup, so each wheel has its own motor. Together the four motors make 8,800 Nm of torque.

Credit Drako

Lucid


Lucid has been around for a while and most people who have paid attention to the space will know about it. But Lucid I see as Mercedes Benz of fully electric, even though there already are electric Benzes. Lucid’s goal is to make a premiere car town car that feels luxurious and premium.  It’s hard to not feel like this is just another premium electric car, but I’d argue that of the available options Lucid is promising. 


Piech

Because I’ve used so many similes describing all of these cars I guess I’ll keep it up. Piech to me seems like an electrified Aston Martin mixed with a Fisker. They say the front end is inspired by a Ferrari 250 GTO, Jaguar E-Type, or Shelby Cobra which I like the figurative sound of (because it makes no sound). 500km range, and a supposed 0-60 in 3.2 seconds which is insane. The big kicker and their claim to future fame is a four-minute charging time to 80% charge. My favorite part of this car is the tail end. It’s not my favorite electric sports car, but it has garnered a lot of attention this year. Also, I use the name Piech to describe the car and the company because as of right now they only offer one car. 


Drako



Pretty high on my Christmas list, I maybe would take this over the new Roadster but that doesn’t say much when I tell you the price tag. Drako, another Silicon Valley-based startup is focused on producing “stunning, driver-focused supercars”. So this should be clear that unlike the rest of this list; this is a supercar. This thing has 1,200hp and each horse will cost you over $1k doing the mental math, that’s $1.25 million. I may have to sell the Prius. Another cool fact about this car is that the Drako name actually comes from the founder’s name, which we don’t see a lot of anymore with car brands.


Lynk & Co



Another subscription car company. Which you know by now I’m not particularly excited by about. But, Lynk & Co is collaborating with Cyan Racing which is the team, or at least the family of the team that is bringing us the Polestar 1, 2, and the Precept. In 2019 they did pretty well with one victory, three podium finishes, second place in the teams’ standings. So Cyan Racing is the real reason Lynk & Co has made this list. 


Neuron EV


You may have also heard about Neuron. What gets me excited about the technology that they’re working on is a modular platform for cars. This opens up a world of opportunity for people to build on if the quality of the product is good, and it seems to be.


These are 10 of so many more that are also very exciting. The goal was to show you one or two you maybe haven’t seen before. There’s a lot happening and I’m planning on making a master list at some point so we all can follow along.

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