The megatrend of vehicle electrification continues to accelerate as the global auto industry continues to plow billions of dollars into all facets of technology for electric vehicles (EVs). One of the more innovative examples is from a startup working to revolutionize the industry by producing what it claims is the world’s first truly flat skateboard chassis. In July, REE emerged from stealth with its pioneering flat and modular skateboard chassis for a more efficient, reliable, and scalable electric future. By integrating all of the components formerly found under the hood of the car into the wheel, REE intends to offer optimal freedom of design, multiple body configurations on a single platform, reduced vehicle size and weight, and increased energy and operational efficiency. The company’s approach places the motor, steering, suspension, drivetrain, sensing, braking, thermal systems, and electronics into the wheel, creating a “truly flat” platform. The design provides many claimed benefits including a low center of gravity to support the vehicle’s agility and stability, a reduction in vehicle footprint and weight, and improved energy efficiency and performance—aspects the company says are crucial to the electric and autonomous vehicle revolution. REE’s platform—aimed at automakers, mobility providers, and delivery companies—is based on a quad-motor system and includes active height-leveling suspension, steer-by-wire, and a smart quad gearbox. The platform can enable a high-performance car able to do 0-60 mph in less than 3 s, an off-road SUV with advanced active suspension technology, and can also be used as the base of a robotaxi or a 10-ton cross country truck. REE believes that adaptation of its universal framework could replace multiple platforms for OEMs, resulting in substantial savings. The company is collaborating with OEMs and suppliers including Mitsubishi, Musashi, Linamar, Tenneco, and NXP.
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Check out the March 2020 issue of AVT. This issue features infrastructure solutions for an autonomous and greener future, the road to U.S. government policy regulating autonomous vehicle technology, a preview of the new mobility tech in Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, and autonomous off-highway vehicles.