US-based eMobility startup Canoo and Dutch company VDL have terminated their talks about the planned contract manufacturing of Canoo’s debut electric Lifestyle Vehicle in the Netherlands. Canoo has now officially confirmed this.
The background to this is presumably that Rivian could not only use the Dutch production plant VDL NedCar for production itself in future, but take it over completely. According to the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Rivian is said to be considering the location as its European plant – instead of Bristol in the UK, which was long considered the favourite. As of early December, however, the talks are still ongoing.
However, the negotiations have apparently already had a first consequence. The contract production envisaged by the US eMobility startup at the VDL NedCar production plant will not take place. Originally, its debut model was to be built in the Netherlands from 2022. But earlier this month, Canoo told the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it “does not currently expect to enter into a definitive framework agreement or contract manufacturing agreement with VDL Nedcar due to developments at VDL Nedcar”.
In a now published statement, however, Canoo sells this move differently: “We appreciate the months of effort VDL Nedcar invested to provide us with a contract manufacturing option, but we have concluded that building in America is better aligned with our mission and current focus to invest in the communities and states that are investing in hi-tech manufacturing alongside us, creating American jobs and innovation,” Tony Aquila, Canoo’s investor, chairman and CEO, is quoted as saying in an official statement. They will now “explore a continuing partnership with as we evaluate the best way and timing to expand Canoo into Europe with less risk and take advantage of advanced manufacturing technologies”.
VDL Nedcar also has its say in the announcement: “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Tony and the Canoo team, as we explore new opportunities together,” said Willem van der Leegte, president and CEO of the company. “We see electric vehicles as a significant economic driver. We are pleased to invest in Canoo and look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”
Meanwhile, in the wake of the collapsed deal for contract manufacturing in the Netherlands, Canoo is announcing an increase in its production in the US. The planned manufacturing facilities in Arkansas and Oklahoma will now build between 3,000 and 6,000 electric vehicles in 2022 instead of the 500 to 1,000 units previously announced. In 2023, production in the US will increase to between 14,000 and 17,000, 40,000 to 50,000 in 2024 and 70,000 to 80,000 vehicles in 2025, according to the company’s headquarters.
The startup currently has offices in California and Texas. Canoo’s core business so far has been the development of an electric skateboard with different body styles. According to Aquila’s strategy, Canoo no longer wants to sell these to other carmakers, but will in future focus primarily on selling its own vehicles to fleet operators. The first model will be a van called Lifestyle Vehicle, whose market launch is planned for the fourth quarter of 2022. Canoo has not yet released final data on the drive system. As “expected specifications”, the company continues to give 220 kW of power, 450 Nm of torque and a range of 400 kilometres. The energy content of the battery is known: it is supposed to be 80 kWh.
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