Canoo wants to connect owners to all of their vehicles — not just Canoo’s

Electric vehicle startup Canoo detailed some of the features that may be on its app on Thursday, foremost of which is a one-stop shop functionality that customers could use for their Canoo vehicles — and all their other cars, as well.

This unusual approach to its branded vehicle app could potentially pay off big-time for Canoo in terms of user data and revenue via sales on services like tire replacements and insurance. If the average Canoo driver owns two other vehicles, that could mean that 50,000 sold Canoos could yield data on up to 150,000 vehicles total, Canoo’s senior VP of global customer journey and aftersales Christian Treiber said.

“Let’s think about the opportunity overall,” he said. “The Canoo ecosystem, but for the entire customer garage.”

For all vehicles — Canoo or not — that are hooked into the app, the driver will be able to see details on range and battery life for their EVs, as well as the odometer, miles per gallon and total range for their internal combustion engine vehicles. Treiber said this could be accomplished simply using an ODB connector.

“We know how to translate data in cars, we know how to take that metadata and put in service maintenance, repair and asset information, because that’s what we’ve done, we’ve built a multibillion dollar business doing this,” Canoo CEO Tony Aquila told TechCrunch. “So we can take that data and do that for you. It’s nothing for us on our platform. It’s just an OBD dongle. OEMs spend money on stupid stuff, we’d rather give you a dongle for your second car. If you want to connect it, you can run it all off the same app.”

Aquila took the helm at Canoo in April, after co-founders Stefan Krause and Ulrich Kranz departed in June 2020 and April, respectively. (Kranz was hired by Apple to help with the development of its first car.) Aquila founded Solera Holdings in 2005, a risk management and asset protection software company.

Canoo’s hoping to use its app to drive revenue in other ways as well. For Canoo cars, drivers can access the Maintenance and Upgrades section to instantly upgrade the horsepower of their vehicle, schedule a service appointment or check for software updates. Up to 94% of the electronic control units will have wireless updating capability. The app will also make predictive wear and tear reminders for when you’ll likely need new tires — and it will push special offers for these services in advance.

Drivers will also be able to order other vehicle upgrades for the Canoo, like a roof rack or floor or seat protection.

Much of these features — especially the services for non-Canoo vehicles — will likely come together through partnerships with service providers, insurance companies and vehicle detailers. Trieber hinted at other potential partnerships as well, such as using the Canoo app as a digital wallet to pay for a meal at a restaurant, for example.

“The single greatest opportunity for the automotive industry is monetizing data, and we want to be part of it, and we will be part of it,” he said.

The news was announced during the company’s investor day presentation Thursday, where Aquila also revealed Oklahoma as the site for its first factory. That location is expected to open in 2023. Canoo’s debut lifestyle vehicle, which is expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2022, will be manufactured by Netherlands-based contract manufacturer VDL Nedcar while the factory is being built.