Canoo spent twice its annual revenue on CEO’s private jets last year


Canoo spent twice its annual revenue on CEO’s private jets last year

EV startup Canoo paid $1.7 million for CEO Tony Aquila’s private jet bills, twice its total revenue last year. According to its earnings report released this week, Canoo lost $302 million in 2023 – but it’s apparently been champagne and caviar for its top executive.

Canoo, which hasn’t turned a profit as a public company, brought in $886,000 last year in revenue, according to its full-year earnings report filed Monday. But, as TechCrunch first cited, Aquila’s hefty travel bill included “air travel expenses for either, at our option, first-class airfare or the business use of his private jet,” the company said in the filing.

Aquila, who is also the company’s chairman, owns about 14% of  Canoo. In 2022, Canoo spent $1.3 million on his air travel.

Certainly, the EV maker is burning through cash as it attempts to ramp up volume production with its commercial vehicles and avoid the fate of fallen EV startups such as Arrival, Lordstown Motors, and Proterra. Launched in 2017, the Texas-based company makes passenger vans, delivery vans for Walmart, and crew transport vehicles for NASA. Last year, Canoo started its first commercial fleet customer deliveries from its Oklahoma City manufacturing facility with a 20,000-unit run-rate production target.

In January, Canoo revealed that USPS will purchase six of its LDV 190 delivery vans. The move is part of USPS’s $40 billion investment plan to upgrade the network.

Just last month, Canoo initiated a 1-for-23 reverse stock split to avoid being delisted on NASDAQ, and its stock surged after it received “Foreign Trade Zone” approval for its Oklahoma facility. At that facility, Canoo’s rugged new EV pickup dubbed American Bulldog was spotted being tested.

Canoo’s American Bulldog EV pickup/Source: Canoo

The EV maker sources over 90% of its parts in the US and free trade partners, with about 70% from North America.

Electrek’s Take

Well, all that lavish private jet spending is certainly not a great look for an EV company committed to a greener future, and Canoo has been struggling for a while now. After reporting an annual loss of $302 million on Monday, its stock dropped as much as 38% during extended trading hours. Business Insider reports that the company will need to rely on investors to make it through the year – and heavy expenditures on private jets can be seen as a red flag, particularly for a company in trouble.

Canoo reacted to all the bad press about its earning this week, sparked by a Reuters post, with a LinkedIn post saying that they were “more than a little disappointed” that they hadn’t been asked to comment – and particularly didn’t like that Reuters had connected the bad results to a slowdown in the consumer EV market, considering Canoo is all about commercial vehicles.

“Had Reuters called Canoo for comment we would have told them that we raised $324 million in 2022, and $288 million in 2023 and we are currently in discussions with several entities and individuals about investing in the company this year,” the company wrote. “We would have also told them that we have begun manufacturing, expect to step up our manufacturing effort this year, and have a backlog of orders. And, that we are not in the consumer market, we are in the commercial market.”

Not sure if we can blame a Reuters’ oversight on their problems, but the company is certainly feeling the heat.

Photo: Canoo

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