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article imageOp-Ed: The first flat pack chassis achieves critical auto design needs

By Paul Wallis     Oct 11, 2020 in Technology
Tel Aviv - The first "flat pack vehicle"? Flat chassis designs and theories have been around for while, but – The new Hyper Skateboard Look disguises a level of design flexibility like nothing before it. This is good news for drivers, costs, environment, and more.
An Israeli company called Ree has come up with a licensed manufacturer’s dream. As you can see from the video, these aren’t just any old chassis. These versions drive themselves with onboard power. They can do a lot of things conventional vehicles desperately need to do – Manage space, turn tight, and they’re fully scalable to any size.
That rather useful collection of capabilities also just happens to be the wish list for vehicle manufacturers. Conventional chassis are complex, bitsy, and expensive. The one-piece chassis is ideal for so many design needs.
Driving themselves has other uses, too. You could use them for forklifts, mobility scooters, etc., as easily as for conventional cars and trucks. You simply add the superstructure to the chassis. That’s a very poised version of the core principles of manufacturing. These chassis are effectively “modular”, with the chassis as a separate module.
The chassis in the video are effectively the first generation of these very useful ideas. Ree has achieved what global manufacturers are trying to achieve – A simple base structure for a range of vehicles. It’s not quite inventing the wheel, but it’s very much like finding a practical new use for it.
What can you do with a one-piece chassis? Guess.
These early models are just a hint. Fully scaled, a one-piece chassis is the answer to a lot of issues, notably stress loads, performance, and handling. You can customize these things to hell and back, for any type of vehicle.
This also means your superstructure, engine/EV, and onboard facilities can be made to measure. You could create a specialist field vehicle, quite literally made to specifications like a blueprint car design.
There’s no real limit to “put your vehicle on top of this” as a design asset. For an EV heavy-duty vehicle, you could design the chassis to take a power plant, for example. You can use high-stress materials as a chassis for other types of performance vehicles, too. It’s not out of the question that an Indy 500 car could be built on top of one of the current basic chassis designs.
Then, there’s the physical handling of vehicles for maintenance angle. With a one-piece chassis, managing the vehicle gets a lot easier. This is a really excellent way of managing the time/cost/sanity of working with vehicles at a baseline level. This is a sort of LEGO option with critical structural design features. In theory, you can take a car apart and put it back together in minutes. Car maintenance could become a lot more efficient, very quickly, using this design concept.
Ree have hit the practical jackpot with these designs. They’re clearly able to deliver performance, backed up by plenty of room for evolution. With new classes of vehicles coming on the market, these chassis are exactly what’s needed.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Ree Israel, onepiece flat vehicle chassis, auto structural design, Indy 500, core auto design values
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