Canoo CEO—Oklahoma is a happening place

EV start-up Canoo unveils new vehicle ahead of Nasdaq debut


The CEO of EV startup Canoo, the firm that picked Pryor for its manufacturing site in northeast Oklahoma had high praise for Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and the state’s high-tech abilities.

Interviewed Monday on Fox Business News with Stuart Varney, Tony Aquila called Oklahoma a “happening place.”

“It’s very similar to what we saw when we moved here to Texas in 2008 and 2009 so I think the environments there in Oklahoma and Arkansas are very, you know on the uptick for advanced manufacturing activity,” he said.

He expressed confidence in finishing construction of the plant and able to turn out the first EV mini-van by early 2023 or late 2022.

“Yes, we’re on target and we’re you know, we have an over-under strategy to ensure we deliver on time and you know factories can take 13 to 18 months depending on a set of factors —” added Aquila.

He also was confident of creating a strong work force for the plant by offering more than a $15 minimum wage that is encouraged by groups nationally.

“We’re gonna be nicely above that,” said Aquila as he went on to point out, “So I think if you want a great work force, you gotta motivate them and you gotta put ’em in a place where they can own homes, they can raise their children, have  great schools and this was a big part of the way we picked these states.”

The plant, to be located on a 400-acre site at Pryor’s MidAmerica Industrial Park, will employ nearly 2,000 workers.

Tony Aquila, Executive Chairman, Canoo

Aquila was complimentary of what the state of Oklahoma through Gov. Stitt offered as an enticement to CANOO.

“The state of Oklahoma–they brought so much. Governor Stitt…you know he’s an entrepreneur—and he’s got a great window and platform to make Oklahoma production and high-tech environment and they’re producing at the two universities tremendous amount of engineers. so I think we made all the right decisions. Pretty excited about it.”

Aquila showed his abilities at political correctness when Varney asked if he would ever consider building an EV plant in a Blue state or one run by a Democratic governor.

“Certainly we looked at some. One of them was a Democratic state that had a very forward looking Governor but the majority of the states that actually had the potential to create more jobs was disproportionately Republican states, that’s true.”

Click here for video of Aquila interview.