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Canoo & U.S. Department of Defense Expand Partnership

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Canoo popped onto the scene with its easy, clean, all-purpose vehicle design in early 2019. We’ve had plenty of stories about the EV startup since then, but it hasn’t exactly produced a mass-market EV yet. The good news is that it’s alive, growing, and getting new contracts. — including from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Rewinding a bit, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) had already established a partnership with Canoo. The news in recent days is that it is expanding that partnership. Here’s the news of what this means in Canoo’s own words: “The company says it has leveraged it advanced commercial battery and integration expertise to deliver to the Department of Defense partners a technologically advanced battery pack that can be scaled for use on operational military platforms and will set the stage for standardization of energy dense lithium batteries for the U.S. Navy.  This follows DIU’s testing and analysis of Canoo’s proprietary technology since February 2023.”

As if we didn’t have enough acronyms in this story, they note that this furthers the goals of DIU’s Jumpstart for Advanced Battery Standardization (JABS) program. “JABS accelerates ‘form-fit-function battery standards for defense’ by using proven and protected commercial EV battery technologies for military use.” Well, one thing we know is that it’s very hard to get military contracts, but once you do, you may well be set for life. So, whatever else happens with Canoo, one has to think this is a significant step forward for the company and it has a stable footing to now grow from. Everyone at Canoo must be jumping for joy.

“We are honored to deepen our collaboration with the Department of Defense,” says Tony Aquila. Chairman and CEO, Canoo.  “We are inspired by their leadership and focus on encouraging American innovation.  A core value to our re-founding is to invent and leverage our technology to contribute to our nation’s leadership in defense technology.  We are guided by our commitment to continuously innovating our patented technologies to better equip our partners to win whether it be in commercial or consumer markets, or in aiding our nation’s defense.”

As you may recall from one of the many articles we (and others) have written about Canoo, it uses a modular battery system, which means it can be applied easily to different vehicle bodies and needs. This seems to have been a selling point for Canoo in landing this expanded contract with the DOD.

Of course, stepping back a bit, electric vehicles are helpful for eliminating fossil energy dependence and the handicaps that come with that. “Canoo’s agreement with DIU will be instrumental in achieving strategic energy resilience,” the company says. “The DIU partnership expansion further validates Canoo’s technological and operational reliability as a select partner for some of the U.S. government’s most demanding projects, such as:  Delivering the Light Tactical Vehicle (LTV) to the U.S. Army and supplying Crew Transportation Vehicles (CTVs) to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the Artemis lunar landing missions.”

Other benefits of this expanded partnership are that it’s a job creator in Cherokee Nation and production is mostly powered by clean, zero-emission, renewable energy. “Canoo has a battery module manufacturing facility at MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor, Oklahoma, within the Cherokee Nation.  In phase one, the new facility will create over 200 advanced manufacturing jobs.  In addition, Canoo will be the first technology company to produce battery modules and packs primarily using hydro and wind power sources from the Grand River Dam Authority based in Oklahoma, Aquila notes.”

Congratulations to Canoo for winning the expanded contract, and kudos to the DOD for moving more and more into EVs. Let’s see how big this partnership can get.

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