Car and Driver's technical director, Don Sherman, sees a lot of potential in Protean's in-wheel and wheel-hub motors for upcoming electric and hybrid vehicles. "Integrating the propulsion system with the wheel hubs will enable designers and engineers to achieve major gains in packaging efficiency, fuel economy and, potentially, performance," he said in the statement you can find below.
Protean says that its in-wheel electric drive offers several unique features, including fuel economy improvements up to 30 percent depending on battery size; the highest torque density of any of today's leading electric propulsion systems; and superior regenerative braking capabilities, allowing up to 85 percent of the available kinetic energy to be recovered during braking.
Aside from Michelin's ActiveWheels, there isn't much else like Protean's technology out there. Also, Protean is now referring to the technology as in-wheel electric drive instead of how it used to be identified, in-wheel motors. Electric vehicles are typically powered by a motor fueled with electricity stored in an onboard battery. Protean's technology is considered an electric drive, as well, but it's generating power within each of the wheels. You can read more about in-wheel motors here.
The amount of power produced for each vehicle varies by how many wheels receive Protean in-wheel units. Some vehicles, such as hybrids, may just have two of the wheels installed with Protean motors, while some could have four. Protean's in-wheel electric drive system has the capacity to deliver up to 80 kW (110 horsepower), but the electronics are inside the wheel.
It is taking a while to catch on. Protean Electric has demonstration models out there now, including a Ford F-150 pickup, Volvo C30, Vaxhaull Vivaro cargo van, Guangzhou Automobile Company Trumpchi, and Brabus full electric and hybrid vehicles, based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. As for finished versions available at dealerships, that's yet to be announced.
The company did find investors earlier this year – $84 million worth. At that time, Protean set up a cost-effective production facility in Liyang, China that can handle a modest amount of volume. As for now, winning recognition from Car and Driver is a positive development.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Protean Electric's advanced in-wheel electric drive has been named one of the 10 Most Promising Technologies for 2013 by Car and Driver magazine.
Being named to this list is evidence that Protean Electric's in-wheel electric drive has a bright future in the global auto industry, according to Car and Driver, the world's largest auto enthusiast magazine. This list of Most Promising Technologies accompanies Car and Driver's 10Best Cars celebration, which has existed for more than three decades.
Car and Driver's technical director, Don Sherman, author of the Most Promising Technology feature, is a strong believer in the potential of in-wheel and wheel-hub motors for coming electric and hybrid-electric automobiles.
"Integrating the propulsion system with the wheel hubs will enable designers and engineers to achieve major gains in packaging efficiency, fuel economy and, potentially, performance," he noted. "We expect Protean Electric, the leader in this field, to help manufacturers implement this technology."
"To be named a leader and one of the Most Promising Technologies by Car and Driver is an immense honor. This recognition indicates that the industry is no longer thinking of 'if' but 'when' in-wheel motors will be commonly used across a wide range of vehicles. And we believe that when is now," said Protean Electric Chairman and CEO Bob Purcell.
Protean's In-wheel Electric-drive Solution
Protean offers a unique value proposition to the auto industry and its customers, Purcell added.
"We can create hybrid and electric-drive options on the vehicles that people like to drive," he said. "We can provide more power, better fuel economy, easier integration and lower cost. The Protean electric-drive system is probably as close as the industry will ever get to a bolt-on solution."
Features of Protean's in-wheel motors include:
• Fuel economy improvements up to 30 percent depending on battery size
• Highest torque density of any of today's leading electric propulsion systems
• 81 kW (110 hp) and 800 Nm (590 lb.-ft. torque) in each motor
• Weight of only 31 kg (68 lbs.) per motor
• Fits within the space of a conventional 18-inch road wheel
• Superior regenerative braking capabilities, which allow up to 85 percent of the available kinetic energy to be recovered during braking
Protean has been awarded 25 patents for its unique technology and design, and 84 additional patent applications have been filed internationally and with specific countries in North America, Europe and Asia. Protean also has won the prestigious 2012 Technology Pioneers Award from the World Economic Forum as being one of most promising start-up technology companies in the world.
In addition, Protean has developed multiple demonstration vehicles, including a Ford F150 pick-up truck, Volvo C30, Vauxhall Vivaro cargo van, Guangzhou Automobile Company Trumpchi, and BRABUS full electric and hybrid vehicles, based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Protean Electric is a leading clean technology company that designs, develops and manufactures the Protean Drive™, a fully integrated, in-wheel motor, direct-drive solution. Protean Electric is strategically positioned to play a major role in the hybrid and electric vehicle market by offering a combination of packaging advantages, new vehicle design opportunities, performance benefits and cost savings. Protean is funded by Oak Investment Partners, GSR Ventures and Jiangsu New Times Holding Group Co., Ltd. Protean Electric has operations in the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Germany. For more information, visit www.proteanelectric.com.