Canoo’s MPDV Commercial Van Is Flexible Design on a No-Nonsense Electric Platform

You will not believe how many configurations this thing has.

byPeter Holderith|
Electric Vehicles photo


Still in their infancy, commercial EVs are hitting the ground running. Rivian's Amazon delivery van has been previewed and spotted testing, Ford already has electric vans based on their gasoline-powered ones, and now Canoo, a lesser-known EV startup, has unveiled what they think is the future of electric commercial vehicles. 

Angular inside and out, the Canoo MPDV—which stands for Multi-Purpose Delivery Vehicle—is designed to be functional through and through. It has numerous configurations including ones for florists, food truck operators, mail carriers and seemingly endless others. Whatever the intended use is, it seems like Canoo figured out a way to make its van ready for it.


Its features go way beyond just different size configurations. There are also interior layouts and even convertible structures that can exist inside or outside the vehicle. In fact, there's so many features and configurations that it's really best explained with a video, which Canoo thankfully provided. 

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The video doesn't really go into the details of the MPDV's drivetrain, but the setup is somewhat interesting for an EV. Utilizing a 200-horsepower, 236 lb-ft electric motor driving the front wheels, it clearly prioritizes range and cargo capacity over outright power. Certainly, when Tesla unveils its commercial vehicle, it will have 600 hp and Elon Musk will say, "Don't you want your electric delivery van to have 600 horsepower?" Canoo seems to be run by slightly more practical and utilitarian people.

The MPDV's range depends on which battery pack size you choose and what size vehicle you desire. All MPDVs get 40, 60 or 80-kilowatt-hour packs, with the smallest MPDV1 allegedly getting 300 miles of range max out of the 80-kWh pack. The larger MPDV2 will only get 250 miles, but it also has 450 cubic feet of storage volume behind the driver's seat. Canoo claims the smaller 40-kWh and 60-kWh battery packs deliver 170 miles and 250 miles in the MPDV1, respectively.

If these vans look heavy to you, well, they're about as heavy as similar vans from Canoo's competitors. Sitting on a 195-section tire, the lightest MPDV weighs 3,750 pounds. The heaviest MPDV, which rides on a slightly wider 215-section tire, weighs 4,410 lbs. Interestingly, due to the immense weight of the batteries and the singular motor option, the MPDV with the shortest range actually has the largest payload, at 1,980 pounds.

The interior of the MPDV is spartan, with a few comfort features for the driver including two 120-volt outlets and cupholders located to the left of the driver's seat. There's also a spot to house as many as three smartphones, as using multiple phones is a common practice for delivery drivers and others whose business revolves around their vehicles. The seats don't look super comfortable to be honest, but if your last name is SquarePants that shouldn't be a problem.

This truck is so boxy that we can't imagine it lacking utility when these things eventually hit the streets. Combine its massive cargo volume with its plethora of features and configurations, and it promises to be a competitive player in the segment. It will be especially competitive considering its base price, too. At $33,000, it's set to be one of the cheapest electric vehicles out there. Savings on fuel and maintenance will no doubt be attractive for fleets as well. If you're super excited about it, you can even reserve one for a refundable $100 deposit on the company's website, with limited availability beginning in 2022.

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