Hino Motors Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp., and REE Automotive Ltd., a company that specializes in e-mobility, have signed a strategic business alliance agreement to realize their shared vision of “providing new value to society through next-generation commercial mobility.”
With the backdrop of advancements in CASE – connected, autonomous, shared and electric vehicles (EVs) – the automotive industry is entering a major transformation phase. Hino and REE say their next-generation electric commercial mobility solutions are geared to improve quality of life on a global scale by lowering carbon emissions, minimizing strain on infrastructure, reducing congestion and allowing companies to better allocate resources. The two companies say they will combine their expertise to realize this vision – Hino’s knowledge and technologies as a commercial vehicle manufacturer closely attuned to customer needs with REE’s proprietary REEcorner EV technologies – and take on initiatives to create new value through next-generation commercial mobility solutions.
The next-generation commercial mobility solution to be jointly developed by Hino and REE will comprise a modular platform (powered by REE) that will carry a customized Mobility Service Module on top. The Mobility Service Module – which will carry passengers, goods and deliver services – would address a wide variety of current and future applications aligned with customer requirements, aimed to provide new value to society, and will be enhanced with data-driven services.
“The starting point of this collaboration is the FlatFormer concept we showcased at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show,” says Yoshio Shimo, CEO of Hino. “It received an excellent response, and I am delighted to see this FlatFormer concept come closer to reality. 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 to harmonize with future society.”
In addition, the Mobility Service Module can be easily detached from the EV platform and can serve as an independent, stand-alone unit – making services and goods easily accessible to society, leaving the platform to be operated separately and continue on its next mission. This will not only be applied toward mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) and delivery segments but this modular design could also offer solutions for completely new applications. Leveraging the REEcorner modules, the flat chassis and the detachable module will meet the diverse needs of consumers while contributing to more efficient utilization of customers’ business resources. The specialized EV chassis to be jointly developed by Hino and REE will leverage REEcorner technology, which packs critical vehicle components into a single system positioned between the wheel and the chassis. The solution will have a low-floor, full-flat design that flexibly meets customer needs and also supports autonomous driving.
The companies will first work to develop hardware prototypes by FY 2022, while evaluating business models, engaging potential customers and conducting demonstrations in parallel.