Israeli electric start-up REE is building a factory in the UK to complement its development centre in Warwickshire.
The company dubs the new facility a ‘launch integration centre’ that will serve as a pilot factory for the production of REE’s innovative ‘corners’, which bundle suspension, wheel and electric drivetrain into a single package to free up space in electric commercial vehicles, CEO Daniel Barel told Autocar.
The plant will have the capacity to assemble 200,000 corners when it comes fully on stream. REE hasn’t said where the facility will be, only that it will be in the Midlands. The factory will start work from spring next year.
The ‘practice factory’ will still build commercially ready corners, but at a slower rate than its full-pace assembly centres, with the first planned for Austin, Texas.
“If you want to produce X amount a day, it takes some time before you craft it so that it works seamlessly,” Barel said. “If you run at half capacity, that’s still a fine product. It’s just the work you're doing is inefficient.”
REE would then ‘upload’ the settings honed by the UK plant to other facilities, enabling faster production at a rate that is more cost effective for the company. “All the robotics are there, everything is there and we time it, we make sure that it's worked perfectly. We then synchronize it and then we just plug and play it to all of our centres across the world,” Barel said.
The new UK assembly facility will employ 58 people, Barel said.
REE was handed £12.4 million in August by the government funded Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to further develop its electric corners at a newly established facility based near the MIRA vehicle test centre in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.