Canoo sends its EV pickup truck to the US Army for testing

Canoo, the beleaguered EV startup-turned-SPAC, has delivered its first “Light Tactical Vehicle” to the U.S. Army for a demonstration project aimed at showing how its modular electric platform can support mission-specific configurations for less money.

Canoo has landed orders for its customizable platforms with a variety of customers, ranging from NASA to Walmart. The U.S. Army, which aims to incorporate scalable vehicles into its operations, awarded the company a contract in July to supply a vehicle for analysis and demonstration.

The contract itself is just $67,500 — not exactly a material amount. If Canoo’s vehicle meets or exceeds the Army’s expectation, it could lead to a much more fruitful relationship down the road. It’s this possibility that appears to have assuaged investors. Canoo shares popped more than 4% following the announcement.

Canoo said the purpose-built vehicle for the Army is designed to be durable in extreme environments, with a focus on passenger and battery safety. The company describes the LTV as a “jack-of-all-trades” with a convertible flatbed platform that can carry standard-sized plywood, tactical equipment and construction and oversized materials.

“The LTV is another milestone proving the power of our technology and how it can be used, even in tactical situations,” Canoo Chairman and CEO Tony Aquila said in a statement. “This is a winning algorithm for our customers and company.”

The startup faltered after going public in a 2020 SPAC merger with Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp., being investigated by the SEC while burning through cash, but appears for now to have overcome the stumbling blocks that have thwarted competitors.

Earlier this month, the EV maker said it planned to acquire a vehicle manufacturing facility in Oklahoma City to bring its battery-electric Lifestyle Delivery Vehicle (LDV) and Lifestyle Vehicle (LV) SUV to market in 2023. It also said it will build an EV battery module manufacturing facility in Pryor, Oklahoma.

The 600-horsepower, all-wheel-drive LTV for the Army uses high-strength, lightweight Carbon Kevlar and incorporates air-springs, a raised suspension and 32-inch all-terrain tires to increase ground clearance suitable on extreme or rugged terrain.

The LTV can be converted from a pickup into a flatbed truck or cargo vehicle. NASA chose Canoo’s multi-purpose platform to transport astronauts to the Artemis launch site for lunar missions that will help establish the first long-term presence on the moon.