REE's original 'P1' platform concept had great potential, but since its reveal back in May the company hasn't been resting. It has instead expanded its range to include two new platforms which can form the basis for new, heavier vehicles.
REE is looking at the small to medium commercial sectors thanks to the continuing increase in the popularity of e-commerce, expedited this year by the global pandemic. Co-Founder and CEO of REE Automotive, Daniel Barel, said: “EVs, particularly e-delivery vehicles, are in huge demand, with growth drivers including global carbon-emission regulatory policies coupled with a boom e-commerce. There is also a rapid rise in ‘mobility as a service’ (MaaS). Our modular platform is set to revolutionize electric mobility and as we shared today, the journey is well underway.”
The original P1 platform was designed for a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 1.3 tons – perfect for final mile delivery, especially in urban areas. Utilising the REEcorner concept – which integrates steering, braking, suspension and drive into the arch of the wheel – and the REEboard completely flat floor, the company has now developed the P2 and P4 platforms.
P2 is deigned to scale for vehicles up to 2.5 tons GVW with both passenger and cargo application in mind. P4 will be able to scale to up to 4.5 tons GVW and is specifically designed for the North American delivery segment – so think UPS vans in suburban settings delivering mail-order parcels.
In the video, REE demonstrates not only the hardware, but its readiness for autonomous operation. All three platforms are built to be able to accept ADAS interfaces and autonomous control systems thanks to the fact that the REEcorner system is 'X-by-wire' controlled, which essentially means that all control inputs (braking, steering and drive) are done electronically rather than by mechanical linkages.
The aim is a simple one: to be able to 'white label' the platforms and allow OEMs, delivery/logistics companies or any other end user to spec their vehicle to their needs.
Barel said: “Our platform provides the perfect blank canvas for our customers on which to build EVs tailored to their needs, whether it’s a fully autonomous last-mile delivery vehicle, a spacious yet compact urban shuttle or a flexible delivery truck with higher load capability on a smaller footprint.”
One of REE Automotive's boasts when it first came out with its platform was the interest and investment that it had received from big industry players. Its most recent memorandum of understanding (MOA) was signed in August with Mahindra – an Indian OEM which operates in over 100 countries, predominantly in the consumer and commercial automotive sectors.
Within the MOA, REE and Mahindra are agreeing to collaborate on the development and production of an initial 250,000 EVs aimed at the commercial market. This is on top of its existing partnerships with the likes of Mitsubishi, NSK (steering) and KYB (suspension).
Update 16.02.21: REE has opened a new Engineering Centre of Excellence at the MIRA Technology Park. It will spearhead the REEcorner (integrates all critical vehicle components) and EV platform design, validation and testing, as well as homologation for on-the-road applications. Placed in the heartlands of the UK’s car industry, which has significant expertise in EV development, you can understand the rationale behind setting up at MIRA.
As well as local expertise, according to Mike Charlton, REE’s COO: “A key driver in our decision to establish a presence in the UK is the government’s forward-thinking vision for net-zero emissions that perfectly aligns with REE’s goal of heralding a more sustainable, greener future for our generation and those to come.”
You can watch the video of the new platforms below.