We first heard about tech startup REE earlier this year, when they released early footage of their skateboard-like electric platforms for vehicles. Since then they’ve signed a deal with Toyota, who will use the REE platforms as the underpinnings for their commercial Hino trucks. And if Toyota’s bought in, you can be sure REE is the real deal.
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This week the company released this video showing all three of their platforms, the P1, P2 and P4, in action on a test track:
REE’s engineering approach is simple in concept, difficult in execution, and brilliant overall. The car’s key workings have essentially been reduced to “corner units.” Forget about having a separate engine, transmission, drivetrain, steering, brakes, suspension system, et cetera; here everything has been crammed into the wheel. As New Atlas reports,
“Maintenance couldn’t be easier; jack the vehicle up, pull the corner module off, and either swap in a new one (very handy if you’re running a large fleet) or repair or replace individual components. Each module has its own preventative maintenance capabilities built in, with sensors constantly monitoring vibration, temperature, sound and other factors so it can alert you well in advance if something’s starting to go [wrong].”
What I’d like to see: For REE to release some perspective views of their platforms, specifically for designers to sketch over. I’d love to see a design competition where folks submitted top halves and interior features for a variety of vehicle styles built on all three platforms.