Canoo to build its first plant in Oklahoma

American electric vehicle startup Canoo has chosen a place to site its first plant and it is no other than the state Tesla passed over: Oklahoma.

Canoo will build its factory in Pryor, northeast of the state, about 40 minutes’ drive from Tulsa, on a piece of land about 400 acres in size. There, it will assemble its pod-like vans. It targets a 2023 commissioning. 2000 people will work there in the body shop, paint shop and general assembly section. At full capacity, the plant will roll out more than 150,000 vehicles per year.

The site is conveniently near the manufacturing and logistic business that Canoo will depend on. “It’s a hub that we think is going to grow like crazy,” Aquila said at the event. “In addition to that, it puts you dead center for logistics and movement across North America, so you can get anywhere, same day and back is pretty important.”

Prior to operating the Pryor factory, VDL Nedcar in Netherlands will build the vans for Canoo. This will enable it meet its planned production commence in 2022. It wants to start selling it eye-catching electric vans, which it is calling “lifestyle vehicles”, in its home country and Europe from next year.

image source: Canoo

VDL will build 1000 vehicles next year and 15,000 the following year.

Canoo is being cautious in the funds to be invested in the plant. Based on demand, the startup could spend between $500 million and $1 billion. But it can count on more than $300 million in tax incentives from the government of Oklahoma.

There are more vehicles to come as Canoo is looking to release delivery vehicles and pickup vans. They will be built on the electric vehicle platform that it has developed in-house. It has all the essential components, including batteries, electric motors, steering and braking systems and wheels. It is versatile enough to support different body types of vehicles.

image source: Canoo

The company recently changed CEOs, with the major shareholder Aquila taking charge.

“We have made electric vehicle manufacturing a top priority in our recruitment efforts as we work to further diversify Oklahoma’s economy,” Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development Scott Mueller said. “Governor Stitt and I were able to work closely with Tony and his team over the last several months and showed the entire Canoo team the many merits of doing business in Oklahoma, including the value of the collaborative effort between great leaders like Tony and the senior leadership of our state.”

Tesla famously failed to be persuaded to come to Oklahoma, after the state waged an intense meme inspired effort to get its attention. Instead, Tesla settled for Austin in Texas, where it will build its upcoming Cybertruck, Model Y and bestselling Model 3 for sale on the East Coast.