Oklahoma is giving electric vehicle manufacturer Canoo $15 million from the state’s “Quick Action Closing Fund” as part of an incentive package valued at $300 million intended to bring thousands of new tech and manufacturing jobs to the state.
The $15-million Quick Action Closing Fund incentive is the largest the state has ever awarded since the program was created under Gov. Mary Fallin in 2011. The fund is intended to allow the governor to lure new employers to the state with cash payments. Gov. Kevin Stitt has ramped up his use of the Quick Action Closing Fund since taking office and the Oklahoma Legislature appropriated $20 million to the program last year at his request.
Canoo CEO Tony Aquila said in an earnings call Monday that Oklahoma is providing the incentive money to create new jobs and build infrastructure for the company.
Oklahoma has also agreed to purchase 1,000 of Canoo’s electric vehicles, Aquila said.
Canoo is already hiring engineers and other positions for a Tulsa hub, but some of the jobs can be done remotely. The company has also begun clearing land for a factory at MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor that could eventually employ as many as 2,000 people.
But Canoo is still a startup that has yet to generate a profit. It remains unclear how many jobs the company will ultimately create in Oklahoma. Canoo is also one of a handful of electric vehicle manufacturers under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after going public through deals with blank-check investment vehicles known as special purpose acquisition companies.
Stitt praised Canoo as an example of new job creation and the success of his business-friendly policies during his State of the State address on Feb. 7. Aquila looked on from the gallery during the governor’s remarks.
“Tony, thank you for believing in Oklahoma. And for helping to pioneer the future of our state’s economy,” Stitt said during his speech.
The Frontier reported last year that a $300-million incentive package Oklahoma offered Canoo
included land valued at $16 million and a $15-million cash incentive for infrastructure, but the terms of the deals had yet to be finalized.
Many of the details of Canoo’s plans, dubbed “Project Ragnarök” were subject to a confidentiality agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
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