An Israeli company that develops flat, space-saving platforms for electric cars and trucks is planning to create 200 jobs at a new $92 million UK design headquarters.
REE Automotive is opening a global engineering centre at the Horiba MIRA vehicle technology park, near Hinckley, which will help it gear up to mass production.
The site will help it design, develop and test its new, compact electric vehicle platforms.
It will support 15 component manufacturing centres the business is creating around the world, which will eventually supply a network of vehicle manufacturers in 30 countries.
REE’s REEcorner technology puts key components such as steering, braking, suspension, powertrain and control into the arch of the wheel – allowing a completely flat and adaptable electric chassis that provides the maximum amount of room for passengers and cargo.
The flexibility of the design means vehicle manufacturers will be able to use it to build electric and autonomous cars, vans and trucks “of any size or shape, for any application, and any target market”.
Demand for electric vehicles – and self-driving tech – is growing exponentially, with Jaguar Land Rover this week announcing that its new cars will be all-electric from 2025.
The new REE engineering headquarters will give it access to MIRA’s world-leading facilities such as a £26 million track to test driverless cars at speeds of up to 155mph and 5G technology to help vehicles communicate with each other and the world around them.
MIRA clients already include autonomous vehicle developers such as Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors, other newer self-driving and electric vehicle disruptors just like REE, and their suppliers.
Its technology is seen as having so much potential that it recently joined forces with US technology investor 10X Capital Venture Acquisition Corp.
The newly combined company – which is reported to have provided Tel Aviv-based Ree with about half a billion dollars – plans to go public on the NASDAQ with an estimated value of around $3.1 billion.
REE has also gained investment from global partners including future tech developer Koch Strategic Platforms, Indian electric vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra and Canadian automotive specialist Magna International, giving it the funds to push ahead with mass production.
Daniel Barel, REE’s co-founder and chief executive said investing in the new engineering centre, just off the A5 on the Leicestershire/Warwickshire border, was a “major milestone” towards bringing its technology and products to the global market.
He said the first platforms will be delivered to customers next year with mass production starting in 2023.
Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Kt, Minister for Investment at the Department for International Trade: “The UK is the most welcoming location for a pioneering automotive company like REE thanks to our leading position in both CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) and vehicle electrification.
“The Government’s multi-million ‘Driving the Electric Revolution’ program, which drives forward new solutions in automotive power electronics, motors and drives, has played a major role in bringing this exciting investment to the UK. I wish the company every success in its new home.”
Mike Charlton, REE’s chief operating officer, who is responsible for the launch, said: “A key driver in our decision to establish our presence in the UK is the UK government’s forward-thinking vision and zero-emissions policy that perfectly aligns with REE’s goal of heralding a more sustainable, greener future for our generation and those to come.”
Tim Nathan, managing director of MIRA Technology Park, said: “We are incredibly pleased to be welcoming REE to MIRA Technology Park, where they join a cluster of companies dedicated to delivering innovative automotive products for global markets.
“Located in the heart of the UK and supported by Horiba MIRA’s world-class attribute, vehicle engineering and testing services, REE are well-positioned to achieve their ambitious goals.”