The Last Word: Canoo CEO Tony Aquila on the EV Maker’s Electric Delivery Vehicles Coming to DFW Walmart Locations

“This is the winning algorithm to seriously compete in the last mile delivery race, globally.

Tony Aquila
CEO and Executive Chairman 
Canoo
.…on Walmart ordering 4,500 of his company’s purpose-built electric delivery vehicles, which will be piloted in DFW.

Walmart has ordered 4,500 all-electric Lifestyle Delivery Vehicles from Canoo, with the first pre-production test models to roll out in Dallas-Fort Worth in the coming weeks for a pilot. The retail giant will be the first to receive the Canoo LDVs and plans to use them for last-mile deliveries in support of its growing e-commerce business.

Canoo anticipates the LDVs will officially hit the road for Walmart deliveries in 2023. 

Tony Aquila

As part of the agreement announced earlier this week, Walmart signed an option to buy up to 10,000 units of Canoo’s LDV s to advance its goal to achieve zero-emissions by 2040.

Aquila, the former CEO of Westlake’s Solera Holdings, says Walmart has the assets to really leverage Canoo’s EVs.

“Walmart’s massive store footprint provides a strategic advantage in today’s growing ‘Need it now’ mindset and an unmatched opportunity for growing EV demand, especially at today’s gas prices,” he said in a statement.

The vehicles will be used to deliver online orders in a sustainable way, Canoo said, which will also contribute to Walmart’s goal to achieve zero emissions by 2040.

The DFW pilot will “refine and finalize vehicle configuration” in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Commercial EVs optimized for last-mile delivery

Canoo says its American-made commercial EVs are optimized for sustainable last mile delivery use cases. Like its other vehicles, the company’s proprietary multi-purpose platform integrates critical driving components, such as the motors and battery. The LDV, which reduces moving parts, has customized cargo space to increase usable interior space and added a panoramic window to improve road visibility, among other things.

Engineering for high-frequency stop-and-go deliveries is key for competitive per-stop economics, the company noted. The LDVs have a modular design and 120 cubic feet of cargo volume that’s “adaptable to evolve with customer needs which contributes to a decreasing per unit investment over time,” the company said.

“Walmart’s massive store footprint provides a strategic advantage in today’s growing ‘Need it now’ mindset and an unmatched opportunity for growing EV demand, especially at today’s gas prices,” Aquila said.

Local and last-mile deliveries

The fleet could also be used for Walmart GoLocal, the retailer’s delivery-as-a-service business, the companies said.

Beyond its fulfillment centers, Walmart uses nearly 4,000 of its stores to fulfill online orders. The retailer uses a combination of Walmart associates, independent contractors driving on the Spark Driver Network, and third-party delivery service providers. In some locations, autonomous vehicles and drones also make deliveries.

The retailer says with its “expansive last mile delivery network” it reaches 80% of the U.S. population with same-day delivery on a growing assortment of items. In May, the retail announced drone delivery to 4 million households in partnership with DroneUp. Walmart said the service would be available in select neighborhoods in six states, including Texas. 

Both Walmart and Canoo are based in Bentonville, Arkansas, since Canoo moved its HQ there from Dallas-Fort Worth last year.

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This report was updated with additional details about the agreement and Walmart’s last-mile use case on July 16, 2022, at 12:15 p.m.

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