Pushing ahead with the buildup of its last-mile delivery fleet, Walmart plans to purchase 4,500 all-electric vehicles from EV designed Canoo, with the option to buy up to 10,000 units.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Canoo said yesterday that, in the coming weeks, the companies plan to initiate advanced deliveries to refine and finalize the configuration of its Lifestyle Delivery Vehicles (LDVs) in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. LDV production is expected to being in the fourth quarter, with the vehicles hitting the road in 2023.
A U.S.-made commercial EV, Canoo’s LDV is designed for sustainable, last-mile delivery use, with an optimized cabin and customized cargo space. The van-like vehicle is engineered for high-frequency, stop-and-go, small-package deliveries, along with faster vehicle-to-door drop-off, including grocery and food/meal delivery. The modular design and 120 cubic feet of cargo volume are adaptable to evolve with customer needs, enabling a decreasing per-unit investment over time, the company said.
Canoo noted that it employs “true steer by wire technology,” which reduces moving parts and cabin intrusion, yielding more usable interior space and improved driver ergonomics. The vehicle’s panoramic window also brings more road visibility.
The Canoo EVs will be driven by Walmart associates and used to deliver online orders, from groceries to general merchandise. In addition, the vehicles may be used for Walmart GoLocal, the retail giant’s delivery-as-a-service business.
“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,” David Guggina, senior vice president of innovation and automation at Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “Today, the closest Walmart to customers is right in their pockets — it’s the Walmart app. By continuing to expand our last-mile delivery fleet in a sustainable way, we’re able to provide customers and Walmart+ members with even more access to same-day deliveries while keeping costs low.”
Earlier this year, Walmart unveiled plans to extend the reach of its "food to fridge" InHome Delivery service from 6 million U.S. households to 30 million households by the end of 2022. To that end, the company said it aimed to add more than 3,000 associate delivery drivers this year and build out a fleet of 100% all-electric delivery vans. The latter includes an agreement to reserve 5,000 electric-powered vans from General Motors’ BrightDrop subsidiary.
To fulfill and deliver online orders, Walmart leverages dedicated fulfillment centers as well as 3,800 of its stores, which are located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. population. That’s achieved via a combination of Walmart associates, independent contractors participating in Walmart’s Spark Driver program, third-party delivery service providers and, in some locations, autonomous vehicles and drones. Through its fulfillment network, Walmart said it can reach 80% of the U.S. population with same-day delivery on an expanding assortment of items.
“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. This is the winning algorithm to seriously compete in the last-mile delivery race, globally,” stated Tony Aquila, chairman and CEO of Canoo. “Walmart’s massive store footprint provides a strategic advantage in today’s growing ‘need it now’ mindset and an unmatched opportunity for growing EV demand, especially at today’s gas prices.”
Last year, Canoo announced that it had selected Bentonville — where Walmart is based — as its headquarters and Pryor, Okla., as the site for its U.S. manufacturing.
Walmart’s Guggina commented, “We’re encouraged that by being located in close proximity to the Canoo headquarters, we have the advantage to collaborate and innovate in real time as well as the opportunity to aid in the creation of manufacturing and technology jobs here in our home state of Arkansas.”