Startup Canoo Will Build Radical EVs in Arkansas and Oklahoma

2023 canoo pickup concept

    • The EV startup Canoo has shown off three podlike vehicles—a pickup truck, a delivery van, and a minivan—and said it will now build them in the United States starting next year.
    • Canoo has canceled its original plan for contracting production to VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands, in part to avoid supply-chain issues.
    • The electric pods will instead be built at a factory in Arkansas in 2022 before an Oklahoma facility begins production in 2023.

      American electric-vehicle startup Canoo has shown off three radically styled vehicles over the past few years and is now solidifying plans to put its podlike designs into production. Although Canoo had originally planned to outsource production of its vehicles to VDL Nedcar, a Dutch contract manufacturer, those plans have been scrapped. Instead, Canoo aims to build its first vehicles next year at a new plant in Arkansas—where it recently moved its headquarters—before a factory in Pryor, Oklahoma, goes online in late 2023.

      Canoo said the decision to switch manufacturing facilities from the Netherlands to the U.S. will help avoid major supply-chain complications and reduce shipping and tariff costs. The Arkansas plant was initially meant to build the company’s electric delivery vans, but it will now also produce the Lifestyle Vehicle, a seven-seat compact minivan.

    canoo delivery vehicle

    The new plans come with revised production targets. For 2022, Canoo is aiming to build between 3000 and 6000 units, up from its previous goal of 1000 cars. 2023 sees those targets rise to up to 17,000 units, versus the originally planned 15,000 vehicles. By 2024, Canoo aims to make at least 40,000 EVs and is targeting production of at least 70,000 Canoos in 2025.

    Canoo and VDL Groep (the parent company of VDL Nedcar) are still discussing a partnership in the future for the European market. VDL Nedcar is returning Canoo’s prepayment of $30.4 million from the prior production plans, but VDL Groep will also now buy $8.4 million in Canoo stock. The move to produce Canoos in the United States will help Canoo bring its vehicles to market more quickly while investing in high-tech manufacturing jobs for Americans, and still allows for the possibility of European production at a later date.