Automotive

Unique flat EV chassis maker REE to open large facility in the UK

Unique flat EV chassis maker R...
The entire base of the remarkable REE chassis is the battery, and the compact, removable corner modules contain the entire drivetrain, including the wheels, motors, brakes, steering, suspension and more
The entire base of the remarkable REE chassis is the battery, and the compact, removable corner modules contain the entire drivetrain, including the wheels, motors, brakes, steering, suspension and more
View 4 Images
The entire base of the remarkable REE chassis is the battery, and the compact, removable corner modules contain the entire drivetrain, including the wheels, motors, brakes, steering, suspension and more
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The entire base of the remarkable REE chassis is the battery, and the compact, removable corner modules contain the entire drivetrain, including the wheels, motors, brakes, steering, suspension and more
REE is opening a new "Engineering Center of Excellence" in the Mira technology park near Hinckley in the UK
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REE is opening a new "Engineering Center of Excellence" in the Mira technology park near Hinckley in the UK
The corner modules
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REE's disruptive idea is this corner module, which stuffs an entire electronic drivetrain – steering, suspension, braking, motors and wheels, in myriad potential configurations – into a bolt-on unit that can be easily removed, repaired or replaced
The flattest skateboard chassis in the business; REE's chassis can be configured for anything from an autonomous delivery van to a human-driven sports car, 4WD or larger truck. What an automaker chooses to build on top is limited only by imagination.
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The flattest skateboard chassis in the business; REE's chassis can be configured for anything from an autonomous delivery van to a human-driven sports car, 4WD or larger truck. What an automaker chooses to build on top is limited only by imagination.
View gallery - 4 images

We've written about Israeli company REE Automotive and its remarkable super-flat modular EV chassis several times before. The company has a drastically disruptive offer for automakers; we'll build you a skateboard electric vehicle chassis full of batteries, as well as your entire electric drivetrain, with more or less whatever characteristics you want in the motors, brakes, suspension, transmission and steering, using tier one suppliers. All you have to do is build the rest of the vehicle on top of it, however you like.

Not only that, the entire drivetrain is fully electronically controlled, and built into "REEcorner" modules that bolt on and off behind the wheels. Maintenance is a breeze, fleet owners can simply swap out faulty units for fresh ones. And the vehicles in question, which could range from tiny delivery pods through passenger cars, vans, 4WDs and all the way up to large electric trucks, can be driven equally well by humans, remote control units or autonomous systems. The platform doesn't care; it's everything-by-wire, the REEcorner units will accept electronic inputs from anywhere you like.

It's a heck of a pitch; once a chassis is crash tested and homologated it can provide the underpinnings of a range of different vehicles, with a vast reduction in development cost. And it's landing; Toyota's trucking subsidiary Hino is using the REE chassis as the basis for its new FlatFormer range, for one, and Indian automotive manufacturing giant Mahindra has signed on to a strategic collaboration based around electric commercial vehicles.

REE is opening a new "Engineering Center of Excellence" in the Mira technology park near Hinckley in the UK
REE is opening a new "Engineering Center of Excellence" in the Mira technology park near Hinckley in the UK

And now, after announcing it's going public on the NASDAQ through a SPAC merger, REE has announced it's investing US$92 million over three years in a "new state-of-the-art Engineering Center of Excellence" in the UK, where up to 200 employees will work to "accelerate our validation, verification and testing as well as product homologation," says REE co-founder and CEO Daniel Barel in a press release.

The location is key; REE's new facility is in the MIRA Technology Park, near Hinckley in the British midlands, a haven for the UK automotive industry. Other MIRA tenants include Aston Martin, Bentley, Bosch, Continental, Goodyear, Jaguar Land Rover, Michelin, Pirelli, Toyota, Triumph, Royal Enfield, Bridgestone and many other supply companies. REE will be exceptionally well placed to source talent and develop relationships both with component suppliers and potential customers.

The company is also planning to establish 15 integration centers where it will assemble the REEcorner modules designed in partnership with component suppliers. The first, it says, will be opened in the USA this year, with REEcorner unit deliveries starting in 2022 and mass production starting in 2023 to start filling some 250,000 platform orders for which the company says it has "signed indications of interest," if not solid orders as yet.

The flattest skateboard chassis in the business; REE's chassis can be configured for anything from an autonomous delivery van to a human-driven sports car, 4WD or larger truck. What an automaker chooses to build on top is limited only by imagination.
The flattest skateboard chassis in the business; REE's chassis can be configured for anything from an autonomous delivery van to a human-driven sports car, 4WD or larger truck. What an automaker chooses to build on top is limited only by imagination.

The REE model represents an absolute upending of the automotive business in which automakers can more or less outsource the expensive platform and powertrain development process and concentrate on customer experience, interior and exterior development.

The proposition borders on offensive; this cuts right to the heart of what it means to be an automaker, but then, it raises the question: how much does proprietary motor and chassis technology even matter in the electric future? Surely not as much as it has in the ICE age. And when customers have the ability to do drive-in, drive-out corner unit replacements to fix nearly any motor, chassis or drivetrain issue – or heck, even swap out the commuter units for long-travel suspension and four-wheel-drive modules for a week on the trails, will that be a more compelling offer?

Interesting times ahead, and a fascinating company to follow.

Source: REE

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14 comments
guzmanchinky
Very cool concept! I'll take one as a convertible sports car, please.
paul314
In some ways, this returns the automobile industry to its roots, before the big semi-monopolies gobbled up all the component manufacturers in their quest for vertical integration. Carmakers even used to advertise based on which coachbuilder or engine company they contracted with.

With modern engineering and inventory control methods, the old justifications for bringing major-component design and manufacture into one corporate entity have been weakened.
michael_dowling
I would like to see one these skateboard units with variable ground clearance,which I assume could be easily engineered. Reason being winter where I live can have pretty deep snow drifts at times,and you need a vehicle that ideally offers high ground clearance for things like deep snow/mud,and a low ground clearance for maximum mileage per charge on the highway.
Darrell Hartin
Have any studies been done on the effects of salt brine placed on roadways in the winter on these electric vehicles? Here in Maine it causes lots of grief to our vehicles.
Darrell Hartin
Here in Maine salt brine used for ice control on the roadways is a huge problem. Eats the metal and corrodes wiring. Any studies done on these electric vehicles concerning the effects of these chemicals?
Bob Flint
Looks like a cooling air intake on the front "Bumper" hope those batteries are well protected and not part of the crumple zone, maybe the chassis will carry some of the brunt of the loads, but the skate needs to be able to with stand it's load and total impact.
ljaques
What a SKATEBOARD! I hope the price comes down some day. (When they don't print it in the articles, you know it's unreal.)
Jinpa
What different battery models are available? How many of which batteries, for what Kwh capacity? What cost for a replacement battery?
paleochocolate
What even is the point in investing in the Uk?
bkwanab
I want one. Just one. So I can take the body from my TR7 Spider and convert it to electric power now before gasoline availability gets difficult as the oil industry shuts down. You know it will. We just don't know when. What are we going to do with all the worthless gasoline and diesel powered vehicles then?