Canoo backs Dutch manufacturer for EVs

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Based in the Netherlands, VDL Nedcar will manufacture the Lifestyle Vehicle for the US & EU markets while Canoo builds a US-based mega microfactory. The company plans to start production and deliver vehicles in Q4, 2022.

The deal is a marker in the shift of electric car making to contract manufacturers rather than vertically integrated brands largerly as a result of the icreased amount of electronics involved.

“We conducted an exhaustive search, invested significant amounts of time and resources that span the globe, in our search for our Phase 1 contract manufacturer. VDL Nedcar is the right partner,” said Tony Aquila, Investor, Chairman and CEO of Canoo. “They are the top trusted European manufacturer building high quality products for leading OEMs, and they significantly outcompeted the other contenders. VDL is also independently owned by the van der Leegte family of entrepreneurs – which aligns with our commitment to support businesses that form the backbone of communities. This strategic partnership will enable us to deliver vehicles to market while we build our Phase 2 factory in Oklahoma. It also strongly positions us for geographic expansion in Europe and builds a lasting relationship with VDL Groep of companies. Our investment will help us scale quickly and fulfill our mission to bring affordable, purpose-built EVs to Everyone.”

Canoo and VDL have been working together on vehicle manufacturability and production planning to successfully lay the groundwork for Canoo’s US manufacturing operations, which will be based in Oklahoma. The Nedcar facility is slated to build up to 1000 units for both the US and European markets in 2022 with a target of 15,000 units in 2023.

VDL Nedcar is part of the E4bn VDL Groep, based in Eindhoven. VDL Groep is a major tier 2 supplier with subcontracting and semi-finished products, and also manufactures its own finished products, such as suspension systems, automated car plant systems, heat exchangers and container handling equipment. With VDL Nedcar in Born, it has the only car plant in the Netherlands where serial assembly for third parties takes place.

“Canoo’s bold approach to designing and building electric vehicles makes them an ideal partner as we work together to shape the future of mobility,” said John van Soerland, CEO of VDL Nedcar. “This partnership advances our strategic vision to provide a contract manufacturing solution and expand our expertise in the EV arena.”

Canoo is entering its ‘gamma’ phase of development and is on track for start of production. The company expects to launch its Lifestyle Vehicle in Q4 2022 followed by the Multi-Purpose Delivery Vehicle and Pickup Truck.

The company has had a chequered path, having a technology deal with Hyundai that fell through and negotiations with Apple, ending up with a membership programme for shared vehicles. It went public in 2018 via a special acquisition company called Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp in a $2.4bn deal but is now worth slightly less.;

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