An electric vehicle startup will build its first manufacturing plant in Pryor, Oklahoma, bringing more than 2,000 jobs to the area, state officials announced Thursday.

Canoo, a Los Angeles-based company, plans to build its factory on a 400-acre site at Pryor’s MidAmerica Industrial Park. The company, which doesn’t have any vehicles on the market currently, said the factory is slated to open in 2023. It will include a paint and body shop along with a general assembly plant.

Canoo’s complex also will include a technology innovation hub, customer support, vocational training and a finance center.

The company was promised state and local incentives, but state officials Thursday weren’t commenting on the package, said Stefanie Appleton, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. A spokeswoman for MidAmerica Industrial Park referred comment on the incentive package back to the state.

“We aren’t able to disclose the exact incentives due to confidentiality and competitive reasons, but the governor is grateful to the Legislature for having the foresight to authorize a number of incentive packages via statute to help recruit companies like Canoo,” said Charlie Hannema, a spokesman for Gov. Kevin Stitt.

He said some of those legislative incentives include a property tax exemption, a new jobs tax credit and an automotive engineer workforce tax credit.

Tony Aquila, Canoo’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement that his company ran a multi-state competition and invested millions of dollars to find the right manufacturing site.

“Oklahoma was head and shoulders above the other contenders because of its leadership, energy-forward initiatives, strategic location and the hardworking ethic of its people,” Aquila said. “… Our investment in this manufacturing and technology center means we will deliver vehicles faster at scale — and fulfill our mission to bring affordable, purpose-built (electric vehicles) to everyone. We’re proud be American made and to bring more than 2,000 jobs to Oklahoma”

Stitt said in a statement that the partnership with Canoo shows that Oklahoma is an innovation leader in electric vehicle technology. The partnership will provide high-paying jobs for Oklahomans, but no details about wages were released.

Canoo plans to market its first vehicle at the end of 2022, partnerning initially with a Netherlands automotive manufacturing company while its Oklahoma factory is constructed.

“It will be a significant investment into the state,” said David Stewart, CEO of MidAmerica Industrial Park.

He said the factory will take about 12 to 13 months to build once construction begins later this year.

“Canoo’s presence in the Tulsa region positions us for long-term growth in emerging industries and technologies, and the creation of 2,000 jobs is a testament to our highly skilled workforce,” said Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Pryor Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Barbara Hawkins said the Canoo manufacturing operation will have a regional impact on many nearby communities, including Clarmore, which is 17 miles away.

“When something like this happens, it’s a huge economic development, and not just for Pryor, but I think for all Northeast Oklahoma. And (all of) Oklahoma for that matter,” she said.

Hawkins said that with MidAmerica as a partner, the community has been working on its schools, housing and developing its commercial center.

“We have learned in the community that much of our job is to build the best community that we can build,” she said. “So we can be prepared in a time like this, when something happens bringing this many wonderful jobs in the community and area.”

Hawkins said approximately 10,000 people live within the city limits, and Mayes County had a 3.6% unemployment rate in April.

“We’ve been incredibly blessed by these investments,” she said.

Janelle Stecklein covers the Oklahoma Statehouse for CNHI's newspapers and websites. Reach her at jstecklein@cnhinews.com.

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