Hino Motors, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor, is teaming up with an Israeli electric vehicle start-up to develop electric trucks, buses and commercial vehicles.
Tel Aviv-based REE Automotive takes a different approach to developing electric vehicles that focuses on technology packages built into the vehicle’s wheels that allow customers to create unique layouts for vehicle cabs.
For Hino, the option of developing commercial vehicles with special layouts and features can be critical to winning over customers in a commercial vehicle market that has become highly competitive for electric vehicles.
Almost all automakers – including General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen – target commercial vehicles for the growth of their EV platforms.
Hino and REE hope to develop their first prototypes next year. It is unclear when the partnership’s commercial vehicles may actually be on public roads in the future.
“REE is a visionary company and I am confident that this business alliance will become a driving force for Hino as we take on the challenge of generating new value in commercial mobility,” said Hino CEO Yoshio Shimo.
REE, which merged through a SPAC with 10x Capital Venture Acquisition Corp in March, hopes to disrupt the automotive industry by offering drive-by-wire systems for vehicles. Drive-by-wire technology uses electronic systems to replace traditional mechanical controls.
The company believes that placing its technology between the wheel and the chassis allows the floor of its commercial vans and trucks to be completely flat. This allows for greater design flexibility and can be adjusted to meet unique specifications.
“This business alliance is a unique opportunity in terms of global reach and scale,” said REE CEO Daniel Barel. “This can position us as a strong leader in the commercial and mobility as a service segments.”