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Canoo burns cash in race to hit $1B EV sales goal

Electric vehicle company Canoo’s second-quarter results, like its first-quarter results, show a pre-revenue company that’s burning through cash. However, last quarter, Canoo was warning it might not have enough cash to stay in business. Three months later, the EV startup-gone-SPAC is touting access to enough capital to see it through the rest of 2022.

“We are preparing for [standard operating procedure] readiness,” said Ramesh Murthy, chief accounting officer at Canoo, during Monday’s earnings call.We have customers. We have access to capital. We have a strategy that benefits our company and shareholders against the backdrop of this global economic condition. We are making it happen.”

Canoo says it has closed out the quarter with more than $1 billion in its sales pipeline. This is largely attributable to a recent deal with Walmart to purchase 4,500 units, with an option to buy up to 10,000 units. Canoo also scored a deal to supply its multi-purpose platform to the U.S. Army for analysis and demonstration, which could lead to sales in the future. The company also recently unveiled the EVs it’s making for NASA.

Like many EV SPACs, Canoo has had a tough time, and is likely still reeling from its past controversies, which include internal drama, legal issues, production delays and an SEC investigation. That said, there appears to be light at the end of this tunnel.

Canoo’s shares hiked almost 7% after the company released its Q2 results. Let’s dig in.

Canoo’s financial results

While Canoo does have quite a lot of potential money in the pipeline, the company has still not brought in any revenue since making its public debut in December 2020. Canoo saw a net loss of $164.4 million in the second quarter and $289.8 million in the first half of the year, compared to a loss of $112.6 million and $127.8 million in the same periods last year, respectively.

In Q1, Canoo was struggling to get the cash it needed. When the company announced its results in May, it still hadn’t realized the gains of the $300 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) investment from its SPAC. Canoo had also filed a $300 million universal shelf, all of which would be necessary to make it to the start of production. As a result of the delayed funds, Canoo issued a growing concern warning.

Today, Canoo is singing a different tune. The company closed out the quarter with access to $250 million, which includes about $220 million of unused capacity on its SEPA facility, and cash and cash equivalents of $33.8 million.

Additionally, as Canoo has previously mentioned, the company has secured more than $400 million in non-dilutive incentives from the states of Oklahoma — where Canoo is expanding operations at its first U.S. factory and establishing a technology hub and customer support and finance center — and Arkansas, where Canoo is setting up headquarters and another technology hub.

Walmart to the rescue

When Walmart agreed to buy 4,500 electric delivery vehicles from Canoo in July, no doubt the company and its investors all breathed a collective sigh of relief. Not only did that assure future revenue for Canoo, but it also gives the company another opportunity to go after additional non-dilutive and lower cost capital financing opportunities, said Murthy.

“The first agreement represents $300 million of potential revenue for us with an additional path of deeper partnership opportunities to generate revenue for us with our new partner,” said Tony Aquila, CEO of Canoo.

Presumably, having clout with Walmart will also lead to additional partnerships with other partners in the future, but per Walmart’s agreement with Canoo, rival Amazon will not be one of them.

Keeping lean and quick

Canoo spent $115.5 million on R&D in the second quarter, which probably helped the company figure out how to get its total parts used on its EV platform down to 1,600, as compared to 1,800 last quarter. This is also partly due to Canoo’s decision to prioritize domestic manufacturing, which the company says will lead to higher margin business wins with commercial fleet operators, as well as have a meaningful long-term impact on total cost of ownership.

“This approach has aided us in dealing with the inflationary and supply chain environments, which not only affect the first owner but every owner thereafter, allowing us to demonstrate that the future is about becoming a TEM not just an OEM,” said Aquila, nodding to Canoo’s tech-first approach.

Canoo said it was able to double the total number of Gamma properties it manufactured in the second quarter, bringing the total number up to 89 and more than doubling the number of vehicles since Canoo last reported. In fact, during the second quarter, Canoo was able to hand off its Gamma build for certification to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards requirements.

The result of having more vehicles at the ready is that Canoo now has $275 million in fixed assets as of June 30, which the company says can also be leveraged for additional non-dilutive financing.

Updated guidance

With a focus on SOP in Q4 2022, Canoo expects its operating expenses for the remainder of the year to be between $200 million and $245 million, excluding stock-based compensation and depreciation. That’s a 20% decrease in spending in the second half than the first because the company is completing its Gamma phase investments and moving closer to commercial production, according to Murthy.

Canoo expects capital expenditures of $100 million to $125 million, and Murthy said this is primarily related to facility readiness, machinery and equipment and production tooling.

“These investments will get our [Lifestyle Delivery Vehicle] in the hands of paying customers and support another milestone of 20,000 run rate in 2023,” said Murthy.

Spending in 2023 will continue on Canoo’s current pace in order to achieve 2023 production guidance, continued Murthy, noting that in order to achieve other long-term business aspirations, the company will need to tap additional capital.

Aquila mentioned a potential for an additional $85 million in the future, but didn’t go into details. He did seem optimistic that Canoo would have further access to capital since pulling forward some of its build-out programs.

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