Automotive

REE starts testing a radically modular EV chassis for trucks and buses

REE starts testing a radically...
REE has built several P7 chassis prototypes, which will carry up to 7.5 tonnes of cargo or 30 passengers when somebody puts a truck or bus body on top of them
REE has built several P7 chassis prototypes, which will carry up to 7.5 tonnes of cargo or 30 passengers when somebody puts a truck or bus body on top of them
View 3 Images
REE has built several P7 chassis prototypes, which will carry up to 7.5 tonnes of cargo or 30 passengers when somebody puts a truck or bus body on top of them
1/3
REE has built several P7 chassis prototypes, which will carry up to 7.5 tonnes of cargo or 30 passengers when somebody puts a truck or bus body on top of them
REE's chassis is full of battery and as flat as they come, with the wheels, motors, steering, suspension and braking systems all integrated into bolt-on corner modules
2/3
REE's chassis is full of battery and as flat as they come, with the wheels, motors, steering, suspension and braking systems all integrated into bolt-on corner modules
Corner modules can be specified for a huge range of different purposes, totally changing the character and capabilities of a vehicle
3/3
Corner modules can be specified for a huge range of different purposes, totally changing the character and capabilities of a vehicle
View gallery - 3 images

REE's hyper-modular EV chassis looks like little more than a flat-bed trailer, but it's the entire guts of an electric vehicle in a single, radically modular package. It stores a surprising amount of energy in a super-thin skateboard, and squeezes the motors, brakes, suspension, and steering into extraordinarily compact "corner units" that bolt on behind the wheels. As such, this Israeli company doesn't make vehicles per se – it makes the flattest, most spacious EV chassis on the market, and offers it to manufacturers, who can then build more or less any kind of vehicle they like on top of it.

These drive-by-wire, brake-by-wire, steer-by-wire, everything-by-wire vehicles are fully electronically controlled, so they don't much care whether you plonk a driver's seat and steering wheel in them, or hand the reins to an autonomous pilot. And their ridiculously compact architecture means that whatever you put on top, you've got more room for cargo, passengers or whatever else you're designing your vehicle to carry, than just about anything else available – and the wild ability to simply pull off a corner unit and replace it with a spare if it needs maintenance.

They promise a radical drop in development, crash testing and homologation costs, since all the working parts of a vehicle can be pre-approved, or at least that risk can be shared among a number of manufacturers. You just need to tell REE what drive configuration you want, what range and performance figures you're shooting for, what kind of suspension and brakes, two or four wheel steering, that kind of thing, and then go away and build a garbage truck, or municipal bus, or delivery van, or sports car, or ice cream van, or autonomous delivery pod to stick on the back of it.

REE's chassis is full of battery and as flat as they come, with the wheels, motors, steering, suspension and braking systems all integrated into bolt-on corner modules
REE's chassis is full of battery and as flat as they come, with the wheels, motors, steering, suspension and braking systems all integrated into bolt-on corner modules

REE has landed some big fish with this bait, including Toyota, which is using this modular chassis for an entire range of electric Hino trucks, and India's Mahindra, which is also looking at commercial vehicles. Indeed, the benefits of this approach are perhaps most readily apparent in the commercial world, where cargo or passenger capacity often correlates directly with an operator's bottom line.

To ram the point home, REE has built a demonstration prototype, targeted specifically at delivery fleet operators looking to electrify their operations in the coming years. The new P7 platform, reads a press release, is "based on specifications from one of the world's largest delivery companies," and is capable of carrying up to 8,600 lb (3,900 kg) of payload. That's some 35 percent more, says REE, than "comparable commercial vehicles" can carry now, with plenty of space for up to 30 seats if you decide to spec the top half as a bus instead of a van.

Range from a 120-kWh battery pack is targeted at an impressive 370 miles (600 km), depending greatly on aerodynamics, with a max speed of 80 mph (129 km/h). Each wheel can have its own motor, up to 100 kW – or be free-spinning. At 7.6m long and 2.4m wide (25 x 7.9 ft), it'll offer "the greatest interior space and volumetric efficiency for vehicles in classes 3-5," says REE. All-wheel steering will give these things exceptional maneuverability and a turning radius as tight as 40 ft (12.2 m), and the load floor will sit just 20 in (50.8 cm) off the ground.

Corner modules can be specified for a huge range of different purposes, totally changing the character and capabilities of a vehicle
Corner modules can be specified for a huge range of different purposes, totally changing the character and capabilities of a vehicle

Prototypes are beginning testing, decked out with specially-designed Brembo brakes and American Axle motors among the components in their corner modules. REE will begin showing them off in the next couple of months to further potential customers, both in Tel Aviv, Israel, and at the company's new development center in Coventry, England.

Check out a render video below, which demonstrates some of the crazy flexibility possible with this kind of chassis, including a steering wheel and pedal unit that can slide to either side of the cabin, or sit right in the middle.

P7 Electric Modular Platform for Delivery Fleets

Source: REE

View gallery - 3 images
9 comments
9 comments
PAV
I'd like the equivalent 15 passenger Sprinter but with captain seating in the back.
guzmanchinky
Seems like this is the future for all vehicles. Simple platform underneath, build what you need on top.
Pete0097
Looks good as an RV. How long does it take to charge?
ChairmanLMAO
First thing I would mount is a diesel generator and a diesel heater. I like this setup. Tons of variables.
Eddy
I guess you would shut off / idle the two front motors when traveling empty to conserve range if that works out in current draw.
pete-y
The 4 wheel steer capability will certainly be a benefit for urban use.
Tight turning with the option of scuttling crabwise into tight spaces.
vince
"One chassis to move them all". Just make them in different lengths and widths to accommodate ANY vehicle whether it's a fire truck, a bus, a truck, a race car, a pickup truck, etc.
Aross
The only thing missing is quick swap batteries. As someone who does a lot of long distance driving and driving to remote locations with limited charging capabilities I need a vehicle that can run all day and be charged overnight or one that can have the used battery(s) easily and quickly swapped out for fully charged ones at on-route locations.
ljaques
A low entry price would ensure that they sold hundreds of millions of these excellent skateboards. What a great concept!
We of Kek agree: Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!