Walmart eyes an electric future in Canoo's Lifestyle Delivery Vehicle
Drones, driverless trucks and zippy little cargo pods could all feature as part of Walmart's future delivery services, and a new agreement with EV outfit Canoo brings another next-gen vehicle into the mix. The retailer has committed to buying thousands of the startup's electric Lifestyle Delivery Vehicles (LDVs), with plans to put them to use in last-mile applications next year.
Canoo launched its US$35,000 Lifestyle Vehicle in May last year, bringing to life a multipurpose electric van with a spacious interior that can be configured for different purposes through a variety of trim options. This could be seating a family of seven inside the Premium version for a weekend excursion, or gearing up for some off-road exploration with the greater ground clearance offered in the Adventure variant.
Walmart's interest in Canoo unsurprisingly centers on the Delivery version of the Lifestyle Vehicle. This two-seat vehicle has a 250-mile (400-km) range and a 120-cu-ft (3.3-cu-m) interior customized for small package delivery, and is engineered for high frequency, stop-and-go deliveries.
"Our LDV has the turning radius of a small passenger vehicle on a parking friendly, compact footprint, yet the payload and cargo space of a commercial delivery vehicle," said Tony Aquila, CEO of Canoo. "This is the winning algorithm to seriously compete in the last mile delivery race, globally."
The agreement calls for the purchase of 4,500 Canoo LDVs, which will be driven by Walmart staff as they fulfill online orders, with an option to purchase up to 10,000. While they aren't expected to begin operation until 2023, Walmart and Canoo will be working to finalize the vehicle configuration through trials in Dallas-Forth Worth that kick off in the coming weeks. Production is then slated to begin in 2022.
“We’re thrilled to continue diversifying our last mile delivery fleet with Canoo’s unique and sustainably focused all-electric technology which will provide our associates with safe, ergonomic delivery vehicles,” said David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation, Walmart US.