The existing facility in Oklahoma City will initially employ 500 workers.
EV startup automaker Canoo has announced a deal has been made for it to enter a long-term lease agreement with AFV Partners that will see it occupy a nearly 500,000 square-foot facility in Oklahoma City where it will build its long-delayed Lifestyle Vehicles. The facility itself already exists and, very conveniently, AFV Partners is also run by Canoo CEO Tony Aquila.
"One of the reasons we picked Oklahoma is because it has one of the most amazing workforces in America. They have proven themselves across many industries, including aviation and aero defense, which is why we are excited to announce our second manufacturing facility in Oklahoma City, following our Vehicle Module Manufacturing Facility event on April 5, in Pryor, OK," said Aquila. "I want to thank Mayor Holt and the people of Oklahoma City for welcoming us."
Canoo will initially occupy 500,000 square feet of the 630,000 square-foot space that's already located within easy proximity to road, rail, and waterways. That facility also has the capability to incorporate renewable energy. During phase 1, Canoo says it will employ 500 people and this is expected to increase in "the coming months."
Canoo was founded back in 2011 and only a few years later entered into an agreement with Hyundai Motor Group to jointly develop its skateboard platform. Hyundai, initially keen on using that platform for its own future EVs, later left the agreement for unspecified reasons.
Canoo was left struggling financially for the next few years and yet it somehow hung on for dear life. It went public in 2020 as part of a SPAC merger, which was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over possible improprieties. This past February, Canoo saw its shares drop after deciding to sell discounted shares to raise $52.5 million, money badly need to get production started.
A little over a year ago, the company received a life-saving $15 million offer from the state of Oklahoma to provide assistance in setting up operations there. At the time, Canoo said it planned to spend around $560 million to expand its facilities. Oklahoma clearly wanted Canoo to come to the state, especially after losing out to Texas for the new Gigafactory that will build the Cybertruck.
Last July, Canoo signed an agreement with the United States Army for a new Light Tactical Vehicle (LTV) specifically for "analysis and demonstration." The LTV demo model was delivered late last year. Also last year, Canoo and NASA inked an agreement for one of its vehicles to take Artemis moon astronauts to the launch pad. Walmart also ordered 4,500 units of the Canoo delivery vehicle and the first examples are set to be delivered sometime this year. The new factory and the long-term lease agreement will hopefully enable Canoo to meet its business obligations.
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