REE electric truck gets US nod for by-wire steering, braking, driving

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Israeli startup REE Automotive on Thursday announced that its P7-C electric chassis-cab truck is the first vehicle with entirely by-wire controls to be certified for sale in the U.S.

Deliveries of the medium-duty commercial truck are now underway following following Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and EPA certification, REE said in a press release. The first vehicles are “demonstration” models going to dealers and fleets, the startup noted, adding that it expects P7-C trucks to qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $40,000 per vehicle, and over $100,000 in total incentives with state-level credits factored in.

REE P7-C electric truck

REE has developed a full skateboard chassis with steering, braking, and acceleration all controlled by-wire with no mechanical connection between the driver’s controls and the wheels. Some production vehicles have used by-wire controls for certain functions, but REE claims to be the first to get a fully by-wire vehicle certified in the U.S.

This potentially allows for a greater degree of flexibility in vehicle design. With all mechanical components contained in the chassis, there are fewer restrictions on the body designs that can be placed on top of it. The approach is similar to that used by Canoo—which has even shown its naked skateboard platform in action—but the startup has not delivered any production-spec vehicles yet.

REE P7-C electric truck

REE P7-C electric truck

While it’s not the first company to develop a skateboard platform, REE has been among the quickest to commercialize it. The startup showed three modular platforms in 2020, and that year Indian automaker Mahindra announced plans to use an REE platform for electric commercial vehicles.

REE may be a front-runner, but it’s not far ahead of a big industry shift. Kia, for instance, announced s PBV lineup this past week that will boast all those by-wire traits—plus potentially even more flexibility.

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