Canoo confirms major order from Kingbee in the USA

Canoo has received a binding order for 9,300 electric vans from US vehicle rental company Kingbee. The agreement includes the option to double the order to 18,600 electric vehicles, and is the third deal Canoo has announced in around three months.

Kingbee will lease Canoo’s Lifestyle Delivery Vehicles (LDVs) to businesses in the US as part of fleet solutions. The company specialises in fleets for small and medium-sized businesses and says it has a growing customer base in 27 US states to date. Kingbee’s roots are in commercial vehicle equipment. For several years, however, the company has specialised in the conversion (“upfits”) of vans and light commercial vehicles.

The contract with Kingbee is the third major order for Canoo within a short period of time: In July, Walmart ordered 4,500 electric vehicles from the Californian start-up, with an option for 10,000 units. This was followed a few days ago by an agreement with fleet leasing provider Zeeba to buy 5,450 Canoo electric vehicles, with an initial binding commitment of 3,000 units by 2024.

On the new deal, Canoo does not give a timeline in its announcement. The only concrete fact is that 9,300 units of the LDV have been bindingly ordered. The LDV is the cargo variant of Canoo’s Lifestyle Vehicle (LV). Both vehicles are based on the same proprietary multi-purpose platform (MPP) architecture, use an 80 kWh battery pack and are designed for an urban environment – all-round visibility is said to be particularly good for the driver, and the turning circle is also said to be at the level of a small car. The LDV offers up to 120 cubic feet of cargo space (3.4 cubic metres), while the LV is a passenger and cargo van that has additional seating.

For Canoo, the large orders could be something of a lifeline, given the unit numbers mentioned in the announcement: The company is heavily in debt and had questioned its own future this May. Most recently, there were even rumours that Canoo could be a takeover candidate. The company was once founded as Evelocity to offer subscription EVs and to market its skateboarding platform under licence to other carmakers. After Tony Aquila joined as investor and chairman, the company has refocused its strategy and is now aiming to sell its vehicles without platform licences.

In any case, the negotiating position of the financially struggling start-up is likely to be even weaker. This is evidenced by the fact that Canoo had to swallow a few bucks for the large Walmart order in July. Walmart can take over up to a quarter of Canoo in the future, and Canoo is not allowed to sell vehicles to Amazon for the duration of the deal.


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