EV startup Canoo has ceased contract manufacturing discussions with the Netherlands' VDL Nedcar, opting instead to build EVs at its own United States facilities starting in 2022.
In a press release published last week, Canoo confirmed that production will start at a recently-announced Arkansas facility next year, before moving to a planned "Mega Micro" factory in Pryor, Oklahoma, in late 2023.
Last month the company announced it's selected Bentonville, Arkansas, as a new headquarters, with an R&D center and low-volume production facility there—which will now assume initial production before the Oklahoma factory is finished.
Canoo MPDV electric van
The Oklahoma factory was announced in June, but at the time Canoo said it planned to use VDL Nedcar as its contract manufacturing partner until that facility was ready. The change of plans allows Canoo to access incentives from Arkansas and Oklahoma earlier, according to the release confirming the end of discussions with the Dutch firm.
Canoo also cited reduced supply chain vulnerabilities, increased speed to market, and eliminating costs from tariffs and overseas shipping as other reasons for shuffling its manufacturing plans. However, the company indicated that it's still seeking a partnership with VDL Nedcar parent company VDL Group.
"While we decided not to move forward with VDL Nedcar, we also concluded that VDL Group and the [VDL-founding] Van der Leegte family are the people we want to 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," a company statement said.
Canoo Lifestyle Vehicle
Company-issued guidance forecasts production volumes of 3,000 to 6,000 vehicles in 2022, ramping up to 14,000 to 17,000 vehicles in 2023. Canoo also said it's aiming for 40,000 to 50,000 vehicles annually for 2024 and 70,000 to 80,000 units for 2025, but noted that these are "targets" rather than guidance.
This isn't the first time Canoo has abruptly changed plans. The company hasn't recently mentioned the subscription model that was talked up as one of its distinguishing features in 2019.
Canoo has teased a whole lineup of vehicles, including a pickup truck and a line of commercial vans, sharing a skateboard platform and structural battery approach that's different than Tesla's. The $34,750 Lifestyle Vehicle is still due to arrive first. Canoo said earlier this year that it will launch in 2022, with other models following after that.