EV startup Canoo is moving its headquarters from California to Walmart’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas — though it didn’t announce any deal with the retail giant. Canoo said it will open a new manufacturing facility in Bentonville but didn’t say much about what will be done there or who will build it. The startup also said Monday that it is moving up its timeline for making its first electric vehicles to “before Q4 2022.”
Canoo CEO Tony Aquila said it will use the Arkansas facility to make “vehicles for unique use cases” and accelerate its pre-production testing program. It still plans on building a factory in Oklahoma outside of Tulsa. This was announced by Canoo in June. Moving forward, Canoo said it will have parts of its R&D, software development, customer support, and finance teams in Oklahoma, and will place more R&D employees in Arkansas along with the new facility. It will keep Californian engineers and vehicle design workers.
Monday’s announcement is just the latest chapter in the recent remaking of Canoo, which started when Aquila took over as executive chairman in late 2020 ahead of its stock exchange debut. Aquila has since refocused his company on electric vehicles for small business, dropped a Hyundai deal and signed a contract maker. He also opened new offices in the sun belt, including Dallas, Texas. He has also helped to grow the startup to 800 employees.
Canoo was founded in 2017 and used to be known as Evelozcity. It was founded in 2017 by a few executives, employees and former employees of Faraday Future EV startup. Faraday Future was facing severe cash crunch at that time. Canoo initially planned to create an electric van and sell it on a subscription basis. At one point, Canoo was in talks with Apple about an acquisition.
Monday’s Canoo statement stated that Canoo lost $81 million during the third quarter 2021 and that the bank has $414 million. It expects to spend between $95 and $115 million on its operating expenses in the last quarter. The company also shared that an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission is ongoing. “We are providing the requested information and cooperating fully with the SEC investigation.”
Aquila said on a conference call that Canoo is going to be able to make its electric vehicles earlier than expected despite deciding to “reprioritize” its relationship with the contract manufacturer it signed on, VDL Nedcar. Inflation, shipping, and tax issues in Europe (and VDL’s home country, the Netherlands) made Canoo decide to refocus on making its first vehicles in the US, Aquila said.
“We took a bit of a punch in the face,” Aquila said about announcing that VDL Nedcar would build the first Canoo vehicles. “We did that because that was the right thing for us to do and relay to the market while we were working out and mitigating risk and finding our state partners.”
VDL Nedcar was also attacked in cyberspace in October. Canoo said Monday in the stock exchange filing that it has “not yet been able to determine if the proprietary information and intellectual property we have shared with VDL Nedcar in anticipation of entering into definitive agreements, was accessed, compromised or misappropriated in the incident.”
Source: The Verge