LONDON, England: Israeli startup REE Automotive has announced that it will build an assembly plant for electric vehicles (EVs) in the British city of Coventry, to supply customers in Europe.
The Israeli-based startup, which develops rolling chassis for commercial EVs, said the highly-automated assembly plant will be built this year, in partnership with Rockwell Automation and Expert Technologies, and will have an annual production capacity of 10,000 chassis for electric vehicles.
Chief Executive Daniel Barel said the plant's high level of automation means it could be run by only seven staff members, though the company has not disclosed the size of its investment or how many jobs will be created.
In an interview with Reuters, Barel said, "This is asset-light assembly using cloud-based infrastructure."
By replicating that highly-automated cloud-based system, REE already plans another plant in Austin, Texas in 2023, doubling its manufacturing capacity to 20,000 EV chassis annually.
According to the company, its Coventry plant will initially focus on manufacturing chassis for electric vehicles for commercial use, such as delivery vans, buses and recreational vehicles.
It also plans to manufacture an electric delivery van and a people carrier in 2023.
Instead of traditional axles, REE's electric vehicle platform uses four separate wheels with their own steering, braking, suspension, powertrain and control, allowing the vehicles to have flatter bottoms and creating more cargo space.
While traditional automakers are producing more electric vans and trucks, startups are focusing on finding a competitive or technological edge to take on their larger rivals.