Electric vehicle start-up Canoo announced Wednesday that it plans to build its own EV battery module manufacturing facility at the Mid-America Industrial Park in Pryor.
“We are accelerating our hiring plans at Pryor with the establishment of our EV battery module manufacturing facility, which will produce our proprietary battery modules, energy management system and thermal control technology for our MPP (multipurpose platform) platform,” Canoo Chairman and CEO Tony Aquila said in a statement .
Aquila said the facility is the first building block in the company’s production ramp-up strategy. Canoo announced a year ago that it intends to create at least 1,500 jobs by building a more than 3 million square foot factory at MAIP. Aquila said earlier this year that MAIP could commission a facility capable of producing 300,000 vehicles annually by 2024.
MAIP CEO David Stewart said the battery facility will create about 200 jobs.
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“The location (of the battery facility) was strategically chosen due to its proximity to our battery cell partner Panasonic and our future mega micro-factory,” Aquila said. “In addition, we will be the first EV company to produce our battery modules using hydroelectric power from the Grand River Dam Authority. We will work closely with and hire from the surrounding communities to create an EV ecosystem in the region.”
In July, Panasonic Energy announced it would invest $4 billion in an electric vehicle battery factory in De Soto, Kansas, to supply high-performance batteries for Tesla. Canoo had previously announced Panasonic as a supplier of battery cells.
The most basic component of the battery system, the battery module contains the energy-storing battery cells. Once online, the Pryor battery facility will have approximately 320 MWh (megawatt hours) of battery module production capacity.
“We are very excited that Canoo’s vision begins with this facility at the park,” Stewart said over the phone.
Canoo will soon begin renovating a 100,000-square-foot building it leases from the park on a 10-acre campus. Delivery of the secured manufacturing facilities is expected in the first quarter of 2023. The site will produce proprietary battery modules on high-capacity assembly lines with state-of-the-art, automated machinery.
“It’ll ramp up quickly,” Stewart said. “They are now beginning the renovation of the facility to accommodate office space. The equipment is scheduled to be installed in the first quarter. We expect them to begin hiring and onboarding in the first quarter, which is key to preparing for the ultimate manufacturing facility they will build here.”
According to reports, Central America remains in play for an electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility.
The Wall Street Journal reported in late August, citing people familiar with the matter, that Oklahoma is being considered for such a facility. Panasonic Holdings, a supplier to electric car maker Tesla, is in negotiations to build the factory at a cost of around $4 billion, the newspaper reported.
MAIP was a finalist for the Kansas factory and had offered millions of dollars in incentives to land economic development in a project dubbed “Project Ocean.”
“We have one of the best megasites in the country,” Stewart said. “It is very workable. We keep improving it to prepare for a big company. We are very optimistic.”
The battery campus, announced Wednesday, will be powered by hydroelectric power from the Grand River Dam Authority. The project will deliver workforce training programs in partnership with the Cherokee Nation, Mid-America and other local training partners.
“GRDA continues to support advanced manufacturing and the jobs they bring to the Mid-America Industrial Park,” said Daniel Sullivan, GRDA CEO, in a statement. “GRDA has been committed to employment and industrial growth in Oklahoma for more than 80 years.
“Canoo is a valued customer and we are excited to be a part of the positive impact they will have on our Oklahoma economy.”