A potentially revolutionary, completely flat skateboard platform was released on Tuesday (US time) that could change the way car makers approach electric vehicle manufacture.
The platform, which has been developed by Israeli startup Ree, combines standard auto components commonly found under the bonnet into a flat chassis, a design which founders Daniel Barel and Ahishay Sardes say will greatly improve the efficiency of electric vehicles.
Breaking cover after a six-year development phase, as Barel puts it, the company has done the electric vehicle equivalent of reinventing the wheel.
“The concepts of the past are limited and restrict the ability of the automotive industry to realize the electric and autonomous reality they are striving for. Until now, the industry has operated by making incremental improvements on the traditional design of the automotive vehicle.
At Ree, we believe that in order to hasten the automotive revolution we need to reinvent the wheel – quite literally,” said Barel in a note by email.
Essentially, the system involves four electric motors, along with steer-by-wire technology and a smart gear box able to handle the four motors, and encases them in a flat chassis, freeing up space by up to 67% according to Barel.
Along with active height-levelling suspension, Ree says its technology “provides the basis of any type of vehicle from a high performance car able to do 0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds to an off-road SUV with advanced active suspension technology”.
According to the founders, it is so versatile it could be used in a wide variety of applications from robotaxis to a ten-ton truck.
Already in talks with a number of OEMs – including Japanese auto giant Mitsubishi – Ree says its technology could potentially save automakers billions in R&D costs.
“REE’s modular chassis, which is the world’s first truly and fully flat skateboard chassis, serves all EV (electric vehicle) configurations – big or small, fast or heavy, without any compromise on performance, safety, serviceability, or comfort, meeting and beating all of today’s industry standards,” Ree told Interesting Engineering in an exclusive interview.
“When you consider the breaking functions, the suspension and steering in vehicles that are built with similar designs to the past,” Barel said.
“At Ree we are pioneering a fundamental and radical shift to ensure the vehicle of today and tomorrow meets today’s and tomorrow’s needs.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.