EV startup Canoo moves headquarters from California to Walmart’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas – although it did not announce a deal with the retail giant. Canoo said it would open a new production facility in Bentonville, but did not say much about what will be done there or who will build it. The startup also said Monday that it is moving up the timeline for making its first electric vehicles to “before Q4 2022.”
Canoo CEO Tony Aquila said they will use the Arkansas facility to create “unique use vehicles” and accelerate pre-production testing. It still plans to build a factory outside Tulsa, Oklahoma, as it announced in June. Going forward, Canoo said it will have parts of 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 retain engineering and vehicle design staff in California.
Monday̵[ads1]7;s announcement is just the last chapter in the recent innovation of Canoo, which started when Aquila took over as CEO in late 2020 before the stock exchange debut. Aquila has since refocused the company on making electric vehicles for small businesses, abolished an agreement with Hyundai, signed a contract manufacturer and opened new offices all over the sun belt (including in Dallas, Texas). He has also grown the start-up to around 800 employees.
Canoo was founded in 2017 and was originally called Evelozcity. It was started by a handful of executives and employees who left the other EV start-up company Faraday Future, which at the time had a severe cash crisis. Canoo was originally focused on making an electric van that it planned to sell on a subscription model, and was at one point in talks with Apple about an acquisition.
Canoo said Monday that it lost $ 81 million in the third quarter of 2021, and has $ 414 million in the bank. It expects to spend between $ 95 million and $ 115 million on operating expenses in the last quarter. In addition, an investigation is underway from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company shared in a stock exchange file. “We provide the requested information and cooperate fully with the SEC investigation.”
Aquila said at a conference call that Canoo will be able to make its electric vehicles earlier than expected despite the fact that they decided to “reprioritize” the relationship with the contract manufacturer it signed, VDL Nedcar. Inflation, shipping and tax problems in Europe (and VDL’s home country, the Netherlands) led Canoo to decide to refocus on making its first vehicles in the United States, Aquila said.
“We got a slap in the face,” Aquila said in announcing that VDL Nedcar would build the first Canoo cars. “We did it because it was the right thing for us to do and communicate to the market while we trained and reduced risk and found our state partners.”
VDL Nedcar was also hit by a cyber attack in October. Canoo said on Monday in the stock exchange archive that they “have not yet been able to determine whether the proprietary information and intellectual property we have shared with VDL Nedcar pending final agreements was opened, compromised or misused in the incident.”