This isn’t just an EV story, it’s a business story.
That’s because when Walmart announces it is buying 4,500 delivery vans from a small, struggling and little-known EV company, investors flocked to the EV company and the stock nearly doubled instantly, saving the troubled little EV company from potential shut-down or bankruptcy.
We Know Who Walmart Is. So Who is Canoo?
Canoo recently relocated its headquarters from Oklahoma to Bentonville, the small Arkansas town Walmart put on the world map as its headquarters.
The EV deal comes less than a year after Canoo announced plans to establish its headquarters and an advanced manufacturing industrialized facility in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Canoo’s decision to relocate to Bentonville is no an accident. Walmart has a history of encouraging suppliers, vendors and even startups it invests in to set up shop in Bentonville. It’s a good thing to do business with your neighbors!
Canoo has marketed itself as a “lifestyle” EV company, marketing its vehicles jointly to consumers as a family SUV and to small businesses as a compact delivery van.
The family-version has lots of windows, a panoramic sunroof, and comfortable wrap-around seating in the rear.
The business version has fewer windows, no panoramic sunroof, and the interior can be adapted for specific needs.
For Walmart, that likely means there’s no second-row seating, to make more space for delivery boxes.
The Canoo website claims a 250-mile battery range between charges and up to 350hp.
Where the Walmart Canoo EV Will Deliver
According to TechCrunch, initially, Walmart will use some pre-production EVs to deliver online orders in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.
Canoo reportedly will use this as a test bed to refine and finalize vehicle configuration.
The Canoo EVs will be used to deliver online orders, especially groceries and small packages.
The EVs may also be used for Walmart GoLocal, the retailer’s delivery-as-a-service business, according to the companies.
More About the Canoo EV
Both the personal SUV and the LDV – or Lifestyle Delivery Vehicle – are built on the same platform architecture, which integrates the motors, battery module and other driving components.
There’s around 120 cubic feet of cargo space, and steer by wire technology that reduces moving parts and cabin intrusion.
The Canoo website says “Drivers inside the vehicle will immediately notice the lack of a traditional steering column”.
This is totally misleading, since Canoo only has replaced the traditional circular steering wheel with a stylized one that resembles a square. So it’s a steering square instead of steering wheel. It’s not unique – several manufacturers have similar designs.
You can reserve a Canoo EV for a $100 deposit. According to its website, the company anticipates starting production of the Lifestyle Delivery Vehicles beginning in Q4, 2022.
Why Canoo Matters to Last Mile Delivery
Canoo is just one potential piece of Walmart’s increasingly complex delivery system that leverages independent contractors, its own employees, third-party delivery services as well as more futuristic tech like AVs and drones to respond to consumer demands for immediate access to goods.
Walmart has pilot programs with AV startup Gatik to use autonomous box trucks to deliver goods from its fulfillment centers to its neighborhood stores. The retail giant is also working with drone companies Zipline and DroneUp.
The upshot: Walmart says it can now reach 80% of the U.S. population with same-day delivery “on a growing assortment of items.”
Canoo’s decision to locate in Bentonville isn’t an accident. Walmart has a history of encouraging suppliers, vendors and even startups it invests in to set up shop in Bentonville.
“We’re encouraged that by being located in close proximity to the Canoo headquarters, we have the advantage to collaborate and innovate in real-time as well as the opportunity to aid in the creation of manufacturing and technology jobs here in our home state of Arkansas,” David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation, Walmart U.S., said in a statement.
Walmart agrees to order 4,500 Canoo EVs for last-mile delivery
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