Clarification: The story has added language that clarifies the state’s contract and why no competitive bids are necessary.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Details of a contract the Governor’s Office inked with an electric car company are turning heads at the capitol, specifically the waiving of the government bidding process.
Millions in tax breaks are already in place, if and when Canoo breaks ground on a proposed factory in Northeastern Oklahoma. But now some are asking why the state inked a contract where it could buy vehicles from the electric car maker without taking competitive bids.
“The state really wants to be in the electric vehicle industry,” said Brianna Bailey.
The managing editor of The Frontier is talking about a contract, potentially worth tens of millions, that Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office inked with Arkansas-based electric car maker Canoo.
“What’s really interesting to me about this contract is that it was awarded without any competitive bidding. The State of Oklahoma waived that requirement, a potentially large contract to an unproven company,” said Bailey.
The Frontier is running an article saying Canoo is facing an SEC investigation and lacks product.
“This company doesn’t actually have a vehicle on the market yet,” said Bailey.
But the State of Oklahoma has a reported five-year contract to buy up to 1,000 vehicles from Canoo that could be worth up to $50 million.
Carly Atchison of the Governor’s Office issued the following statement:
“This contract a part of a much larger deal landing a huge job provider for the state.
Our intent and vision is to attract high-paying quality jobs for the people of Oklahoma. Canoo is estimated to provide 2,000 jobs to the state. Just last week Northern Data announced they’re also coming to MidAmerica paying salaries between 80-140k. And we are making sure that we’re doing all of this in a way that’s fiscally responsible and protect taxpayer dollars.
There are no cash handouts. To date, not one dollar or one credit has been given to Canoo. Incentives and tax credits have strict performance metrics that must be met in order to qualify for the incentive or credit. Governor Stitt is committed to protecting taxpayer dollars while attracting high-paying, quality jobs and making Oklahoma the most business-friendly state in the nation.”CARLY ATCHISON, GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
Reportedly there is language in state law for some state agencies to be able to waive bidding requirements when it “furthers the best interest of the state.
Canoo is slated to make the vehicles in Oklahoma after building a yet-to-be-started factory near Pryor. But if the timeline doesn’t work out, some of those first vehicles could come from their Arkansas plant. That doesn’t sit well with some lawmakers
“If he wants to take his own money and go invest in Canoo, absolutely go do that. This is not the Governor’s money. This is the taxpayers money,” said Rep. Andy Fugate of Del City.
Canoo Investor, CEO & Chairman Tony Aquila issued the following statement:
“Re: the fulfillment of our purchase agreement with the state:
• The state has contracted with Canoo to buy “Made in Oklahoma” vehicles, which will be produced in our Mega Microfactory facility in Pryor at Mid-America Industrial Park [announced last year]. We believe that we are the only supplier that is committed to building vehicles in Oklahoma.
Re: clarification on the bidding process:
• The State of Oklahoma procures vehicles competitively from multiple suppliers and in ways that best deliver value for taxpayer dollars. Canoo is honored to join eight other vendors already qualified to sell vehicles to the state. Oklahoma state agencies now have the opportunity to improve productivity and sharply lower fuel and maintenance costs by purchasing Canoo’s electric vehicles.
• Our electric vehicles are not only Made in Oklahoma, but they will pay itself within ~2 years. We believe, even if you include charging infrastructure investment, that for every dollar that the state of OK invests into a Canoo vehicle, they return $1.45 given the fuel savings (which OK spends ~80-100M a year on), and maintenance (which OK spends ~20M a year on).
• We believe that states and municipalities would benefit by accelerating the transition of fleets from ICE engine to electric, and also incentivize the adoption of electric vehicles in the state of OK. If all vehicles in OK were electric, 3,000 lives would be saved due to lower CO2 emissions over 10 years, and ~$2,000 of annual disposable income would shift to Oklahoman families and improve their day to day lives.“TONY AQUILA, CANOO INVESTOR, CEO AND CHAIRMAN
The Governor’s Office said there are currently about 10,000 vehicles in the state fleet. All told, the contract and tax incentives could reportedly be worth up to $300 million for Canoo.