Toyota’s Hino Motors Partners With Israeli Startup REE Automotive on Electric Trucks and Buses

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, Ree Auto

Hino Motors, a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation, is teaming up with Israeli startup REE Automotive to develop electric trucks, buses and commercial vehicles. 

In an announcement Tuesday, the companies said they expect to develop their first hardware prototypes by 2022 but did not say when commercial vehicles from the partnership may hit the streets.

According to the companies, the relationship seeks to combine Hino’s expertise as a commercial vehicle manufacturer with REE’s specialty of developing and manufacturing modular EV platforms for businesses.

The two aim to develop a version of the REEBoard, a mobility service module, that will carry goods, passengers and services to the customers who currently buy Hino’s vehicles, the companies said.

Those modules, they said, can be detached from the EV and then serve as an independent vehicle that can carry out its own deliveries.

A version of the module, called the FlatFormer, was developed by REE and Hino during their first partnership in 2019 and displayed at that year’s Tokyo Motor Show.

Hino chief executive officer Yoshio Shimo said it “received an excellent response” at the show and that he is “delighted to see this FlatFormer concept come closer to reality.”

"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 Shimo.

"This business alliance is a unique opportunity in terms of its global reach and scale," REE chief executive officer Daniel Barel said. "It can position us as a strong leader in the commercial and mobility-as-a-service segments."

In February, REE agreed to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company 10x Capital Venture Acquisition Corp (Nasdaq: VCVC). 

The transaction would potentially value REE at $3.1 billion and is expected to provide $500 million in capital. 

Analysts believe the commercial EV market could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars over the next five years and is already attracting major carmakers like General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co, as well as startups such as Rivian and Arrival, according to Reuters. 
 

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