REE Automotive conducted a shareholder fireside chat with CEO and co-founder Daniel Barel on November 2, 2023. REE leveraged the Say Technologies’ Q&A platform to enable shareholders to submit and upvote questions.
A full transcript of the video is provided below.
KIM: Hello everyone and thank you for joining us for a fireside chat with our CEO and Co-founder Daniel Barel. My name is Kim Mathers and I am the VP of Strategy at REE.
Before we start, I would like to remind you that this fireside chat may include forward-looking statements. Any statements describing beliefs, goals, plans, strategies, expectations, projections, forecasts and assumptions are forward-looking statements. Please note that the company’s actual results may be different from anticipated by such forward-looking statements for a variety of reasons, many of which are beyond the company’s control. Please refer to the company’s Form 20-F filed on March 28, 2023, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which identifies principal risks and uncertainties that could affect our business, prospects and future results. The company assumes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, except as required by law.
It is really important for us to have a dialogue with you, our investors and not only share with you our achievements and financial reporting every quarter but to also answer your important questions. We received dozens on the Say Technologies platform as well as our website and via email – so a big thanks for those. We’ve gone through to pull out the most popular questions you asked, as well as some of the key themes so we can get through as many as possible today.
We want to keep the conversation going too, so please do continue to ask and we will continue to answer.
All right Daniel, let’s kick this off.
DANIEL: Thanks Kim and hello to everybody from REE’s Zion campus in Herzliya, Israel.
I’d like to start by thanking you all for the countless messages we’ve received from our partners, customers, suppliers, investors, and people around the world over the recent horrible events in Israel. We cannot thank you enough for the support and well wishes. At this time all our REE employees are accounted for. The REE team is united and strong and we are all committed to continue delivering no matter what and to do good.
The AMAs, Ask me Anything, it a very important for me, personally because it allows us to have a direct conversation with you, our investors. And I’m excited to see what you’ve got for me today, so let’s start with your first question.
KIM: Thanks, Daniel. Now, our first topic is questions about our customers and order book. Can you please share the current status of REE’s order book and when can we expect to see revenue?
DANIEL: Sure, so the current status of our order book is that we have recently announced that we doubled the initial order book value since August, which was our last earnings call. And its now reaching approximately 40 million dollars, which is very good news. Now, it’s worth mentioning I think that we only opened our order book less than a year ago for binding orders. And you know, some of our listeners here today and investors may ask us why only less than a year ago. And the reason is we all here believe that it is very important to bring to the market a ready product, especially when you are talking about work trucks. Right? You have to put them to work and you need to make sure they are ready. So, only less than a year ago we reached the point where we felt that it is the right time to bring that product to the market. And ever since we have seen a steady and strong growth in our order book. And also a steady growth in our authorized dealer network that now covers the whole US and parts of Canada. For revenue, the revenue question, we aim to start delivering the first P7 as we also said this year. So we expect to report income but that income will be recorded according to relevant accounting requirements. So, first deliveries, still on track by the end of this year of first P7s.
KIM: That leads us to the next question which is why does REE choose to go through dealers and not directly to the end user?
Daniel: It’s a fair question and I think the reason that we chose to go through the dealership model and create a dealership network is linked very tightly to our core philosophy of complete not compete. And we have said it so many times in the past. We always would prefer to complete an offering instead of competing without it. Why? Because, a lot of our partners like our dealers are very very good in what they do. And it’s the same for the supply chain, the componentry, the top hat, or the dealers. They are very very good at what they do. So if we combine forces together it allows us to bring our customers, the end customers, a much better product or service. Now, if you look at the North American, or US, mid-sized mid-duty truck segment class 3 – 5. The vast majority, more than 70% of commercial vehicles in that segmant actually sold through dealers. So it makes a lot of sense to complete and not compete. Now, since electrifying a fleet is not replacing apples for apples and its not easy to replace an ICE vehicle with an EV. We need to very very carefully choose the dealer partner that we bring into our network that have those capabilities. Now, having doing that and having the right partners of course benefits the customer significantly, but also it saves a lot of money for REE that otherwise we would have to spend on huge sales teams and go to market penetration instead of concentrating on P7 line. Now our dealers, just to put things in perspective, I don’t have formal numbers right but from conversations that we’ve held with our dealers. Those conversations suggest that they have sold over 50,000 commercial vehicles last year generating over a billion dollars. Right, so those 16 dealers that currently we have is the right approach and provide us with the right opportunity to scale as we move forward.
KIM: And how about our customers, Daniel, when will we share the names of the end customers that we are working with?
DANIEL: Well, I’d really love nothing more than to share customer names here and now, with you and with all our investors and give you all of the details. But we are bound by confidentiality. And we can’t share this at this point of time. And I know a lot of people are asking about it. We are excited to share who we are working with and I promise we will do it as soon as we can. You know for example on the last earnings call we reported that we delivered a first prototype to one of our fleet customers and we would have loved to share who that is, trust me, but there’s a time and place for everything I guess. What I can suggest is, for our investors and everybody listening to the call, have a look at our dealers. See who they are, see who they service. We shared all of the names of our dealers and you know there local dealers, there the three national fleets. So the dealers are very much as we said linked to fleets and I think you can look up who they work with. I can’t say that this exact matches who we work with, but that at least gives some clarity.
Now, you know having, you know, listening to a lot of people asking me when can we share those names. I can say maybe something more and say, you know a lot of the fleets in the US and North America and corporation have pledged significantly for carbon neutrality. And we believe that once we’ve deployed the first P7 electric trucks into their fleet and they’ve operated them within their fleet and they have operated them in their fleet, and they’ve done what we believe they will do, which is a good job. They will start ordering significant amounts. I mean, our dealer network as we said sold large numbers and we believe we can see orders of hundreds or maybe thousands of vehicles annually. And I think what we would love to do, and I’m a strong believe in that, is well done is much better than well said. And we want to show you, our investors, our vehicles in our customers hands instead of telling you about them. So, hopefully soon.
KIM: Can you share more about what you are hearing from customers?
DANIEL: Of course, just before I do that, just know that we are tech company in the automotive world so we do things a little bit differently. So we take the voice of the customer very very very seriously and in some aspects we actually work together with our customers as design partners to ensure that the product is exactly what they are looking for. Right? As to the feedback we are getting, I think I can say comfortably that we’re receiving consistent endorsements both from dealers and fleets, recognizing the advantages of the by wire technology, of the REEcorner which is what’s powering the P7. As an example we can note you know operational down time, TCO, safety, and of course the low step in height and the driver focused cabin that we have. There’s another attribute that a lot of people like which is the corner swap, the ability to swap the REEcorner in less than an hour. It’s very very appealing both to fleets and dealers because it not only optimizes the down time which is super important but it simplifies the spare parts management because we’re talking about a one part system as opposed to you know having many parts and sometimes the truck is on the lift for a few days because a bolt is missing.
KIM: Switching gears, we’re now going to answer some questions received around our financials. The first is why did we decide to do the reverse stock split?
DANIEL: Sure, I mean, we did it because we wanted to regain compliance with NASDAQ’s one dollar minimum bid price rule, so we basically had to do that in order to continue trading.
KIM: Ok, so further to that one of our most uploaded questions was are you worried that this will once again go under the $1.00 mark in the future and not meet compliance.
DANIEL: On a technical level, I mean to regain compliance with the NASDAQ requirements for the $1.00 minimum bid price we have to trade for at least 10 consecutive business days before November 6th in order to comply and we expect NASDAQ to confirm our compliance in the coming days. So that’s on the technical level. But, in addition to that I’d say the way I see this is there has been a lot of turbulence in the market especially in the EV segmenet and market conditions are not ideal, to say the least. And with all that I think as a company what we need to do what we must do is to remain focused to remain disciplined to keep our heads down and concentrate on executing our business plan as we’ve been doing. Now regardless of the market conditions, or the war in Israel, or COVID at the end of the day REE, everybody at REE, we are completely committed to continue delivery no matter what.
KIM: Ok, thank you Daniel. How does REE rebuild credibility with investors after the past two years? Is there anything that you have learned with respect to shareholder communication?
DANIEL: The short answer is yes. So, we’re committed to transparency and open communication and we aim to share as much as we possibly can, you know, on orders, operational goals, capital needs and I think over the past two years we all learned the importance of keeping our shareholders informed even during for example challenging market conditions and we also understand that our core evaluation has been influenced by those challenging market conditions. Going forward I think the way I see it is once we start putting the P7 in customers hands on the road I believe that the stock price will eventually reflect the competitive technological advantages we represent. We also I think learned that effective shareholder communication is not just about conveying information, right, it’s about engaging with our investors and ensuring that they understand our vision and our progress. And I think we could definitely communicate more and more regularly with our investors, particularly around the growing retail investment base that we’re seeing now. And I think also this AMA is just a start to how we do better on communication with our investors.
KIM: Sticking with the same theme of financials, Daniel, when do you expect to make a profit?
DANIEL: Repeat what I just said of REE being a tech company in an automotive world. It makes us very different then quite a few other players on the market. What we’ve done here is that we have built REE from inception to be profitable in low volume. And this is really unique to REE, and we look literally from the technology side to the production side and throughout that journey of how to become profitable in low volume and I think this is really important. We believe that you know the technology that we have, the by wire, the x-by-wire, the REEcorners and efficient cap-ex light assembly strategy is the right approach to address how you become profitable in low volumes. We’ve said it before. Right? I think, in the last 2 earning calls we expect to reach Bill of Material break even or BoM break even by the end of the fourth quarter of next year, 2024 on low hundreds of unit volumes, low hundreds, right? That means in other words, we don’t expect to be losing money on each unit from the first batch of scale production. This is something that I’m personally and all leadership, and I think everybody REE is really, really proud of because we’ve seen what can be the effect of, you know, digging your own grave by losing money on the first batches, and we’re not going to do that completely. Now, as we continue to scale right, we expect to reach or to reach EPITDA break even in the fourth quarter of 2025. So a year after. Which, reflecting low thousands of unit volumes, right? Now, keep in mind that it’s more or less the same daily production rate. So, we don’t expect to scale the required additional Cap-Ex for that. So, the few, the 100 in 2024 and low thousands in 2025 is roughly the same daily production rate. So, we’re remaining operationally focused but we will, it would allow us to reach EBITDA of break event by the end of 2025. Now, honestly, being EBITDA profitable in the low thousands of vehicles a year after SOP, I think it’s an aspirational goal but I think it’s a goal that our disciplined approach and the 2 phased production approach that we shared, can achieve. So, maybe we’ll talk a little bit about the two-step, 2 phase approach that we already shared. But I think it’s good to spend just a minute on that, because it’s important. So, phase one, we expect it to extend through 2024, where we intend to manufacture and deliver up to 300 vehicles. Now this is deliberate, and it’s important to emphasize that this is deliberate. It’s deliberate because it would help us to ensure that we reach bill of material break even on the first scale batch in the fourth quarter of 2024. We plan for the production tooling to come online. What does it mean? It means that we have to wait a certain amount of time towards second half of next year until that production tooling comes online and is ready to produce through and will use that tooling in order to reach the bill of material break even from the first batch. That will, in that production capacity we will be able to manufacturer and deliver up to 300 vehicles right? And, as I said earlier in this chat we build to order. Now, the 3 corners themselves will be built in our olive tree campus in the UK. Where the the full vehicle assembly will be done by a contract manufacturer in the US. Now, in phase 2, as I said, we intend to continue with the same production capacity that should yield low thousands of P7 trucks over the full year and that, we believe would allow us to reach breakeven EBITDA by the end of 2025. So we’ll be in, I believe in in very good position by the end of 2025. And you know again, I can’t stress enough that I believe that delivering a ready product is more important than delivering a first product. So we want to scale up responsibly and ensure that we create a stable and reliable production process, before. Basically, we want to make sure that we walk before we run.
KIM: OK, Daniel, going a little deeper on volumes. Can you talk about your forecast for sales moving forward? And also, can you share what is the P7’s sale price is?
DANIEL: Sure. Let’s start with easy bit. The US Class 3 to 5 truck market segment is estimated to be north the 200,000 trucks per year. So, based on the demand we’re seeing for our vehicles and our go-to market strategy, we’re targeting, and we said that before, right, but we’re targeting $1 billion dollars in cumulative revenue between 2024 and 2026. Now that $1 billion revenue company can be achieved by reaching a low single digit market share. And this is what we’re targeting. And this is what very this is what is very unique and very attractive in this specific market that you can reach a $1 billion dollar revenue company through a low single digits market share. Now, for the, for the price for the unit price, I mean, you know, we haven’t shared our MSRP yet. But, I can say that we’re inline with the commercial EV segments. But it’s worth noting that in in the commercial EV segment, as opposed to passenger vehicles, acquisition price is not the most important factor, right? Because, let’s say you can get a vehicle for one-third the price, but it breaks down 5 times more than average. Is it a good deal or not, right? So there’s many factors to calculate in and I think that at the end of the day the P7 has a much better TCO total cost of ownership and unit economics than ICE, and therefore better alternative for fleets, in the long term. There is also significant Federal and State incentives for Class 3, 4, and 5 in the US. Now, according to location, they may vary between $40,000 up to a $140,000 per truck in certain States. Right? So with all of that together, I think that, the quick answer to your question. Yes, we’re targeting a $1 billion dollars in cumulative revenue between 2024 and 2026.
KIM: Changing topics and talking about technology. We’ve received a number of questions, number of interesting questions, about future applications for a technology and our IP does REE any plans to move into providing platforms for personal vehicles or otherwise providing powered by REE technology in any other way?
DANIEL: Well, the short answer is not at this time. Now the REE technology, the by wire, the REEcorners. they are, they’ve been developed for very large and wide, you know, aspect of capabilities and variations. So you can assume that their first REEcorners that we’re going to launch now are the first of their kind, that there is more to come and more developments right under the hood that we’re not sharing at this point. Technology. Wise? Yes, it’s relevant from Class 1 all the way up to Class 8. But I’m not sure that the markets are ready for electrification in all of them, or the margins are ready at this point. I think you know, currently, we’re seeing very strong demand. Like we like, answered earlier, partly because of how the market is structured, incentives, regulatory support, charging infrastructure, etc., in the mid size trucks, 3 to 5. And this is, I think where we want to concentrate. I think that for us, and we’ve been showing it, you know, for the past 10 years and 2 years have been public, we are very, very disciplined and we’re going to remain focused on medium duty, commercial market. I think the main 3 reasons for that, If we, you know, keep it short, would be, there is a potential for much better unit economics, lower competition, and reduce capital requirements. Right? But at one point, sometime in the future, we would definitely want to look at other aspects, either in market segments or, for example, data as a service and other subscription service.
KIM: Daniel a specific question about REE technology application? Does the REE technology fit into the future development of tech companies and suppliers like Nvidia, Schaeffler, or Amazon?
DANIEL: Well, the by-wire technology the X-by-wire was designed with a clean slate approach, right? So as a result, we have tremendous flexibility to control and accommodate multi-platforms and partners. At the end of the day, I’ll maybe repeat what I said, you know, started with this conversation, we complete, we don’t compete. So you know, the quick answer is, yes, there is. There is interest with quite a few players in the market. Each player has potentially different reasons, right? Some would look at the maturity of our technology and the ability to put by-wire technology on the US market roads. As we’ve shared on the recent milestones, on homologation reaching feasibility of certifying FMVSS certification of our by-wire technology, EPA and others. Some would look at the advantages of the by-wire from the product side and we touched on that earlier about what makes our technology interesting and relevant for fleets. Some would look at, you know, our network and relationship with the large dealers and fleets, and some would look at the by-wire as a segway to autonomy, right? At the end of the day, if you want to run autonomy, you have to be by wire and naturally, our functional safety and redundancies, the redundancy within the system are very strong. So yes, we are seeing interest.
KIM: So, switching topics now away from technology. You made a reference at the start of this session regarding the current situation in Israel. Has the current conflict in the Middle East affected REE?
DANIEL: Of course, I mean it has. How could it not, Right? Listen, I don’t think that I want to start a political discussion on the platform. So, I’ll just say that. First and foremost, I can update that all of our employees are safe and accounted for. Nonetheless, it seems that at least in our Zion compass here in Israel, you know, virtually everybody has been either directly affected by this horrible attacks or know somebody that has been affected by them. And we are doing everything we can to support those in need in various ways. For example, last week, employees and their children used the cafeteria here, to make bake goods and write letters to families evacuated from their homes. Nonetheless, I want to say that the REE team around the world is united and resilient. Our global team around the world are working around the clock because we deliver now matter what. For example, here at REE, we allow the employees to return to the office with their children, as not all schools are open. But at the end of the day, the majority of the REE team is outside of Israel. So, we currently believe that we will reach our target to deliver first vehicles to customers by the end of this year. On a personal level, I’m fully committed to continue delivering, no matter what.
KIM: OK, Daniel. So, it’s about time for us to wrap up today’s session, but before we do, I wanted to ask a question around REE’s activity over this past year. There’s been quite a lot of movement from 2022 to now, so this is a good opportunity for you to maybe summarize what’s been happening for our audience.
DANIEL: Sure, I mean, you know, in the past year we achieved significant milestones and made substantial progress. In general, I’d say that we’ve been disciplined and steady in executing our plan, throughout the year. I think our foremost achievement is a substantial achievement on our product maturity. Transitioning from B samples early in the year to production readiness today. We established and validated our UK Integration Center production facility and have worked diligently to secure our supply chain. We made strong progress towards FMVSS and US certification. We scaled up our business development team and you know that contributed to an impressive 40 million dollars of initial order book value. Which was doubled since August. And by the end of the year I think we’d look back at 2023 and see it as the biggest year for REE so far. But I’ll tell you something, I mean, one, It has always been our plan and we’ve been saying it year after year for the past 10 years.
KIM: Awesome, thank you Daniel. Most of all, thank you everyone for joining us today. This webcast is going to remain available on our investor website. Daniel, any final thoughts, anything that maybe you can share with our investors with what’s next for REE that they should be excited about?
DANIEL: Yeah. maybe three things, immediate milestones for this year. Very simple completion of US Certification and delivering first customer deliveries, done. For 2024, I think we want to be scaling up production, putting the production tooling in place and delivering up to 300 P7s, and of course growing the authorized dealer network. But looking beyond 2024, I think we want to start seeing entire fleets Powered by REE, vehicles on the road and we’re working very hard, and I’m hoping that in, you know, around 2025, we’ll see the fruits of it is, you know, kicking off our data as a service insights that optimize not only the vehicle performance, but actually define how trucks are being brought to the market based on all the data we collect.
KIM: OK, thank you, Daniel. Thanks again to everyone for joining us today. Enjoy the rest of your day.