The electric car developer Canoo may be happy about a large order from Walmart, but it must accept some reins in return: The startup is not allowed to do business with Amazon for an extended period of time.
Actually, Canoo doesn’t have much room to maneuver. The company had to publicly acknowledge in May that it was facing a cash crunch. Already last year, Canoo relocated its headquarters from California to Bentonville, Arkansas. That is also where Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has its headquarters.
Founded in 2017, Canoo was the brainchild of Ulrich Kranz, among others, who was formerly in charge of electric vehicle development at BWM. In the meantime, Canoo has dropped its original plan not to sell vehicles, but rather to rent them out by subscription only. Former BMW top man Kranz has moved on to Apple.
For now, Walmart will purchase 4500 electric vans from Canoo. The supermarket group also gets an option on another 5500 vehicles, making a total of up to 10,000 delivery vans. The production at Canoo is to start before the end of the year.
In addition, Walmart has secured an option to purchase up to 20 percent of Canoo’s shares. This is valid for ten years. So Walmart can watch for that long whether Canoo thrives or not.
Apple refused, Amazon may not step in
Canoo and Hyundai announced collaboration two years ago, promising the startup would supply chassis. The same year, Canoo was trying to interest Apple in an investment, but it didn’t come to anything. Now, investments from, cooperation with, or deliveries to Amazon are forbidden by the contract signed with Walmart.
Canoo’s proposed MPDV multi-purpose electric delivery vehicle will start at $33,000 and be available initially in two versions. MPDV1 is to have 6.5 m3 of cargo volume and nearly 150 kW of engine power, will be equipped with batteries with capacities of 40, 60 or 80 kWh, and can travel a maximum of 370 km.
The MPDV2 version will have 14 m3 of cargo volume, three different battery versions and a maximum driving range of 400 km. Engine power will remain the same. Furthermore, Canoo is planning an even larger MPDV3 as an electric truck.