January 16, 2021

E−Week – From Karma to Canoo – Why California is The Golden State for Electrification

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California has the perfect climate for innovation and electrification. From new automakers, such as Karma, Canoo and Alpha, to concerns for the environment and equity for all neighbourhoods, California is surfing the wave of electrification. As the Biden administration plans to build back better, the clean mobility movement in California acts as a blueprint for a cleaner greener future.

Good Karma from Karma Motor Company

As a premium luxury brand, California was the logical location for the Karma brand due to the affluent lifestyle buyers expect and it is a great place to recruit top talent from the tech sector, says Mikael Elley, Karma Chief of Staff at Karma Automotive.

“The regulatory environment is also very friendly to electric vehicle companies such as Karma. For these reasons we decided to locate our headquarters in Irvine and our manufacturing facility in Moreno Valley,” says Elley.

From the picturesque settings of Malibu and La Jolla offering dynamic ocean vistas; to the thickly forested areas throughout the Redwood State Park; to the lakes and mountains in Lake Tahoe and Big Bear, the team at Karma can draw from hundreds of areas to gather design inspiration, adds Elley.

He says a pure EV platform allows for more flexibility from a design standpoint. The battery pack and propulsion system are typically below the occupant cabin or in the centre spline that runs the length of the vehicle. It allows designers to create new luxury vehicle designs based on the E-Flex platform. The all-electric GSe-6 series is expected next year with lower price points.

Karma models are packed with new technology with original design elements are still very practical and safe to own.

EV’s are easy to maintain since they have fewer moving components compared with ICE vehicles. EV features can improve safety since they tend to have a lower centre of gravity that makes them less likely to roll over. The body construction and durability of EVs may make them safer in a collision. EVs are also quieter than internal combustion vehicles, which means less noise pollution, notes Elley.

Canoo Zen

Another automaker based in Southern California is Canoo. Canoos have a large open interior and ability to hold standing bicycles, a small kayak or canoe and up to 13,435 ripe organic avocados. Canoos have enough space to create safe social distancing between the driver and a passenger. An available wellness package offers anti-microbial filtration.

Recently, Canoo announced a canvas wrap program to enable users to use the vehicle as a canvas for individuality. The canoo reflects its birthplace, Silicon Beach.

“The canoo is a good representation of our Californian environment – the intersection of technology, engineering, and lifestyle. The Silicon Beach area location has drawn a lot of design and engineering talent in the tech and automotive spaces, which has been helpful for the company as it continues to grow,” says Ulrich Kranz, CEO of Canoo.

“What’s special about Canoo is that we’re not building luxurious supercars for the wealthy or far-fetched concept cars that will never see the road. We are building high-quality, everyday electric vehicles for the average American. They are affordable, stress-free, and fully-equipped with everything the modern driver needs,” says Kranz.

The interior of the canoo is not your typical back seat but more like a yoga studio, meditation retreat or living room.

“We were inspired to create a minimalist design that is zen-like. We wanted our first vehicle to feel more like your living room than a car. That’s why we designed the seats of the canoo to take inspiration from mid-century modern furniture. We like to refer to our first vehicle as a loft on wheels,” says Richard Kim, Design & Brand, Canoo, who is a California native from San Jose, California.

Electrification is the single most influential factor in the design of Canoo’s vehicles. There is no longer a need for a traditional hood, a grill, or a segmented interior because all of that architecture can now be contained in a flat skateboard at the bottom of the vehicle, says Kim.

Electrification offers many advantages over traditional gas-powered vehicles. “Electric vehicles are not only better for the environment, but they are also just better. Period. Faster, more reliable, better integrated with autonomous technology, better cost of ownership. We hope that providing a friendly, approachable option will help more Americans understand that they don’t have to be afraid to go electric,” adds Krantz.

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