By: Daniel Barel
Co-Founder and CEO of REE
The automotive industry is changing faster than ever done before. Major OEMs are investing enormous amounts of money in electric vehicles and many new, non-traditional players are emerging. The exponential growth in e-commerce is just the beginning of a major shift in shopping and service habits that are transcending into a new approach: ‘mobility as a service’ (Maas). The future is electric, but we live in a strange era where, for the first time in a century, we cannot foresee what a car will look like or what service it mightl provide as we are on the verge of an explosion in the types of vehicles required to fulfil a wide range of uses.
But is the electric car flexible enough to meet these new demands? And if not, is there another way? If you look at current EVs, you can see that concept wise, they are still mostly based on century old concepts. And by this, I mean the platform they sit on. Do we want to build the future of mobility on aged concepts?
For an OEM, the platform is often the single biggest technical investment they make – billions are spent designing and developing these architectures to carry only a handful of body styles at best. But even the latest OEM EV still has its legacy in the ICE layout, with electric components placed between the wheels, taking up valuable space. The battery may be flat and located in the centre floor of the platform, but versatility is limited to this area due to legacy thinking, because the automotive world is used to thinking in incremental changes rather than implementing daring disruption.
What if you could start from a blank sheet of paper and totally redesign it? What if you could come up with a truly modular and scalable platform that could support not just today’s requirements for electric vehicles, but for the next century?
At REE, that is exactly what we have done. We have designed the next-generation EV platform, packaging all traditional vehicle components (steering, braking, suspension, drive, thermal and power management) into the wheel housing – the REEcorner. Why would we do such a thing? Well, if all drive components are placed out of the chassis and into the wheel housing, all that is left is to attach a big, completely flat and scalable battery: the REEboard.
The benefits are enormous. Having a completely flat platform takes away most body design limitations, bringing total design freedom; from passenger EVs to sports cars, robo-taxis, last mile delivery vehicles, autonomous vehicles (REE is autonomous-ready) and even larger trucks, REE can carry any type of design. Finally, there is no need to compromise on functionality or capability for the sake of efficiency. Finally it is possible to create mission-specific electric vehicles that are purpose-built in a way that would be impossible using current thinking – and all that without breaking the bank!
Let’s imagine the example of a global delivery company. Right now, its fleet is made up of traditional vans of various sizes, makes and kinds which deliver packages all over the city. But in the very near future, zero emission zones will mean it will need an entire EV fleet. It doesn’t make sense to build a fresh EV fleet from so many different vehicles and components, which do not perfectly match its ultimate usage. It doesn’t make sense to buy custom-made vehicles when you can build a fleet of tailor-made vehicles at a fraction of the cost.
Using existing technology, the global delivery company in our example would need to go to multiple manufacturers to create such a fleet – but even assuming its needs could be satisfied the result would be higher costs per package and no ability to scale the business quickly. The solution is a single platform that can truly do everything.
And compared to existing architecture, REE has a 67 percent smaller footprint for the same interior space. REE vehicles take up less room on our crowded roads, while more capacity means fewer journeys. Fewer journeys means reduced overheads, with less need to recharge the vehicle, reducing energy requirements, saving our planet’s precious resources.
Maintenance is also reduced and downtime slashed because each REEcorner can be replaced in less than 20 minutes. Overall costs are dramatically lower too, because REE can be built faster and more efficiently.
We have already partnered with many leading OEMs and Tier 1s, around the world to insure global capacity with access to over 300 global production lines.
Carrying the future of e-mobility is a worthy goal that requires a revolutionary approach. in order to drive a deep disruption in e-mobility you have to be able to flow and take any shape. That is REE.
If you want to read more about our technology: https://ree.auto/technology/