The Hino Motors logo is exhibited at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013 in Tokyo, Japan.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Hino Motors, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor, is working with an Israeli electric vehicle start-up to develop electric vehicles, buses and commercial vehicles.
Tel Aviv-based REE Automotive takes a different approach to electric vehicle development, which involves technology packages built into the vehicle’s wheels that allow customers to create unique vehicle cabin layouts.
For Hino, the option to develop commercial vehicles with specific layouts and capabilities could be critical to attracting customers in a commercial vehicle market that is highly competitive for electric vehicles.
Almost every automaker – including General Motors, Ford, and Volkswagen – is targeting commercial vehicles to expand their EV platforms.
Hino and REE expect to develop their first prototypes by next year. It is unclear when commercial vehicles from the partnership will actually drive 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 rise to the challenge of creating new value in commercial mobility,” said Yoshio Shimo, CEO of Hino.
REE, which merged with 10x Capital Venture Acquisition Corp through a SPAC 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 by using its technology between the wheel and the chassis, the floor of its commercial vehicles and trucks is completely flat. This allows for greater design flexibility and can be customized to meet specific specifications.
“This business alliance is a unique opportunity in terms of its global reach and size,” said Daniel Barel, CEO of REE. “It can position us as a strong market leader in the areas of trade and mobility as a service.”