U.S. electric vehicle startup Canoo said on Thursday it plans to build an plant in Oklahoma to assemble the pod-shaped vans it calls “lifestyle vehicles” beginning in 2023. The company also said it has a deal to contract out near-term manufacturing to VDL Nedcar in Netherlands until the Oklahoma plant is ready.
The Oklahoma plant will be on about 400 acres of land in Pryor, in the northeast part of the state, Chief Executive Tony Aquila said at Canoo’s investor relations meeting in Dallas. The plant will employ over 2,000 people and will include assembly as well as a body shop and paint shop.
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“We have picked the awesome state of Oklahoma to manufacture,” said Aquila, who previously opened offices in Dallas. The plant, at full capacity, will be able to build over 150,000 vehicles a year, he said in an interview. Canoo’s investment in the facility will come in stages, and depending on demand could ultimately range from $500 million to $1 billion, he said, adding that the state is providing Canoo more than $300 million in tax incentives.
Until the Oklahoma plant opens, VDL will build Canoo’s seven-seat vehicle for the U.S. and European markets, he said, allowing Canoo to meet its commitment to start production in the fourth quarter of 2022. VDL is scheduled to build up to 1,000 vehicles next year, with a target of 15,000 in 2023, Canoo said. Canoo also has plans to introduce a multipurpose delivery vehicle and pickup truck.
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In December, Canoo went public through a reverse merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). In April, it changed CEOs, with Aquila, a former software executive and one of Canoo’s largest shareholders, taking over. Canoo developed a “skateboard”, or a low-rise platform that bundles batteries and electric motors with such chassis components as steering, brakes and wheels, on which a variety of vehicle body types can be built.
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