The Hino Motors logo is displayed at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013 in Tokyo, Japan.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
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.
REE Automotive, which is based in Tel Aviv, has a different approach to developing electric vehicles which centers around technology packs built into the wheels of the vehicle, that allow customers to come up with unique layouts for the vehicle cabins.
For Hino, the option to develop commercial vehicles with special layouts and capabilities could be critical to winning over customers in a commercial vehicle market that has become highly competitive for electric vehicles.
Nearly every automaker — including General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen — is targeting commercial vehicles for growing their EV platforms.
Hino and REE expect to develop their first prototypes by next year. It is unclear when commercial vehicles from the partnership may actually be on public streets 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 via 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 putting its technology between the wheel and the chassis enables the floor of its commercial vans and trucks to be completely flat. This allows for greater flexibility in design and can be adjusted to meet unique specifications.
“This business alliance is a unique opportunity in terms of its global reach and scale,” said REE CEO Daniel Barel. “It can position us as a strong leader in the commercial and mobility-as-a-service segments.”