Tel Aviv-based REE Automotive and the Indian company Mahindra & Mahindra will examine a joint production of an electric commercial vehicle based on REE’s modular vehicle platform. The two companies announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore the prospects of producing 200-250 thousand electric vehicles. “Having a partner like Mahindra joining our growing OEM partners network will allow us to drive our EV technology faster and at scale,” said REE’s CEO and co-founder Daniel Barel.
Mahindra manufactures approximately 40,000 internal combustion engine cars per month. The MOU is a part of its strategic shift toward EV. REE has developed a concept of a chassis in which the subsystems – suspension, engine, steering system, brakes, sensors, control systems and all of the electronic systems – are integrated within the wheels themselves. The battery occupies the center of the vehicle along its entire length and width.
This allowed developing a flat and modular platform that reduces costs and gives considerably more freedom in designing the vehicle. It can be adapted to different types of vehicles, with a low center of gravity that gives the vehicle increased stability. In September 2019, Japanese auto-maker Musashi Seimitsu unveiled a new electric vehicle platform which was developed based on REE’s technology.
Electrifying the Automotive Industry
REE was founded by the founders of SoftWheel, Daniel Barel and Avishai Sardes. SoftWheel began operating in 2011 and has developed a smart wheel for wheelchairs and bicycles, which includes 3 suspension arms instead of the traditional spokes. However, the company’s real goal was to design a new wheel for the automotive industry. In September 2018, SoftWheel raised $25 million in a funding valuing the company of approximately $140 million. Both Musashi and Mitsubishi participated in the funding round.
In June 2019, the wheels operations were spin-off from SoftWheel’s into REE. Along with a possible collaboration with Mahindra (an industrial conglomerate worth more than $20 billion) and the existing collaboration with Musashi, REE has to date also reported on additional agreements with Mitsubishi and the American automotive manufacturer Tenneco.
The electric vehicle market is growing. The research firm Allied Market Research estimates that electric vehicle sales in 2019 totaled at about $162 billionm and it expected to grow at an annual rate of 22.6% to reach $803 billion in 2027.