EVs are simpler machines compared to internal combustion cars. REE puts that idea on steroids. The company goes even further than today’s electric-car skateboard design. REE’s motor, steering, suspension, drivetrain, sensing, braking, and electronics all go into the wheels.
REE was working in stealth mode until July. But it had a coming-out party at the recent Tokyo Motor Show a few weeks ago. The company showed off technology developed in partnership with Hino Motors, Toyota’s truck-making subsidiary.
Hino’s FlatFormer modular concept allows for plug-and-play body configurations to optimize internal vehicle space. You could also utilize available space to increase the size of a battery pack.
Meanwhile, in another vote of confidence for in-wheel motors, National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), Saab’s all-electric successor, in June acquired Protean Electric, a leading developer of in-wheel motor technology. NEVS is backed by the Evergrande Group, which invested a mind-boggling $23 billion in June to build three EV plants.
The Lightyear One, a solar-powered electric car, also uses in-wheel motors. Ex-Tesla employees are involved.
The appeal of the motor-in-wheel architecture is its ability to take on many different vehicle types, from small robotic vehicles to large people movers. REE’s Co-Founders Daniel Barel and Ahishay Sardes started down its path with SoftWheel, aimed at bicycles and wheelchairs.
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