Mike Preston: State Remains 'Optimistic' About Canoo in Arkansas


Mike Preston: State Remains 'Optimistic' About Canoo in Arkansas
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That first-quarter report last week by Canoo Inc., the electric vehicle maker moving its headquarters and a low-volume production plant to Bentonville, left more questions than answers.

The biggest: Will the manufacturer be able to access the hundreds of millions of dollars in capital it needs to continue as a “going concern,” as Canoo executives warned they may not.

But there were others. First, CEO Tony Aquila said Canoo this quarter “expects to move a 1,000-vehicle order from the state of Arkansas from Stage 2 to Stage 3.” Has Arkansas bought a fleet of Canoo EVs?

According to Arkansas Commerce Secretary Mike Preston, not yet. While “Canoo is in discussions with the state about next steps required to become a fleet vendor, … no orders have been placed and any purchases would be subject to state procurement and budgetary requirements.”

Next: Has Arkansas reached a deal on incentives for Canoo? When the company announced plans in November to move to northwest Arkansas, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said it was working on performance-based incentives for the company “conditioned on job creation and targeted wages.”

Fast-forward to last week, and Preston said there are still “no signed incentive agreements in place, and no incentive payments have been made to Canoo.” He also said that “all proposed financial incentives with Canoo have safeguards in place to ensure that the company meets performance measures for both job creation and wage rates before receiving any incentive payments from the state.”

Finally: Given Canoo’s statement last week that it might not be able to meet financial obligations, does the state still have confidence in the company’s prospects? Preston said the state “remain[s] optimistic about their future in Arkansas. Overall, the electric vehicle sector is building momentum and there is certainly opportunity for EV companies like Canoo to make strides in the automotive industry.”


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