Hino to build e-truck with Israelis who ‘REE-invented’ the wheel
Hino Motors, Toyota’s truck division, announced on Monday it would build a truck using the all-in-one REECorner technology of Israeli start-up REE Automotive. It is a revolutionary concept for electric vehicles of any size, incorporating steering, braking, suspension, powertrain, and electronic controls all into the wheel’s arch.
The REECorner wheels can be attached with only four bolts to a REEBoard, a completely flat, skateboard EV platform with batteries or fuel cells that is scalable and modular, enabling limitless body configurations.
It’s all ‘by-wire’ – driving, steering, and braking – making all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering a piece of cake. And in case of a failure, it can be ‘swapped’ in 15 minutes.
Each REECorner is completely independent and powered by its own ECU, controlling all corner level functions, the company says. It utilizes CANopen standards and supports any ADAS interface, allowing integrating all kinds of driver aid systems.
The system uses artificial intelligence (AI) to constantly monitor potential failures and can be updated over the air (OTA). If a failure can’t be fixed on the fly, the whole REEcorner can be swapped for a new one in under an hour while the old one is repaired. The latter can save fleet owners lots of money as the truck isn’t immobilized for long.
Fully flat EV platforms
The REECorners can be attached at different flat REEBoards, holding the batteries or fuel cell systems. These boards are sized for different loads from 1,8 to 7 tons. The same idea was used by Hino Motors building on REECorner technology in the development of its FlatFormer platform that was showcased at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show.
According to co-founder and CEO Daniel Barel, the REE concept was born eight years ago out of the idea to create a really fully flat and modular EV platform on which designers would have the complete freedom of developing the body shape they need and to build mission-specific EVs.
From cars to trucks
This could be anything from a classic passenger car to autonomous shuttles and taxis to last-mile delivery vans and complete trucks. “There is no limit to who we can serve, as REE is unbound in its capabilities and opportunities,” Barel says.
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Ahishay Sardes is the second pillar REE Automotive is built on. Prior he used to be CTO at SoftWheel, a Tel-Aviv-based industrial engineering company where he led the development of an adaptive in-wheel suspension system for wheelchairs, among others.
REE Automotive has no intention to build cars and trucks themselves. It rather focuses on being “a truly horizontally integrated player to provide a full system solution across most market segments in all classes.”
REE doesn’t want to compete with vertically integrated OEMs building complete vehicles, saying it embraces traditional Tier 1 suppliers and their global manufacturing capacity instead of directly competing with them.
A message picked up by some big names like long-term strategic investors including Koch Strategic Platforms, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mitsubishi Corporation, Magna International, and Toyota’s Hino Motors.
REE Automotive, headquartered in Tel-Aviv (Israel), is preparing its IPO on the Nasdaq in a merger with SPAC-company 10X Capital Venture Acquisition Corp it announced in February.