protean in-wheel motorsProtean Electric has reached an agreement for its all-electric in-wheel motors to go in some of Volkswagen's vehicles. Sadly, they're not going into the Bug or Vanagon.

The compact-sedan VW Bora (which is similar to a Jetta, older version pictured above) is the platform that gets the honor of housing Protean Electric's motors, which will be packed behind the rear wheels of the battery-electric car. The collaboration is actually "several" months old, and product testing will be finished in about a year. Protean, whose in-wheel motors each weigh about 75 pounds and deliver about a 100 horsepower, touts their higher torque and better efficiency, as well as their ability to recapture about 85 percent of the kinetic energy from braking through their regenerative braking system. The engines can also be tucked in behind standard 18-inch wheels. This is not the first time the Bora has been chosen to test new technology. The vehicle was turned into the e-Bora a few years ago.

Michigan-based Protean, which has said it's working on building a factory in China, last year secured an $84-million funding round and showed off a production version of its electric-drive propulsion system at Detroit's Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress this spring. Last year, Car and Driver referred to the Protean Electric system as one of the 10 Most Promising Technologies for 2013. You can read Protean's press release below.
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Protean Electric Announces Partnership To Develop In-Wheel Motor Propulsion System With FAW-Volkswagen

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Protean Electric, the global leader of advanced in-wheel electric drive, today announces its partnership with FAW-VOLKSWAGEN AUTOMOTIVE CO., LTD. (FAW-VW) to develop an all new electric propulsion system that will include Protean Electric's award-winning Protean Drive™ with intent towards a demonstration vehicle program and production.

FAW-VW will create an all-new rear-wheel drivetrain for a pure Electric Vehicle (EV) based on the new Bora compact sedan, utilizing two Protean in-wheel motors. This cooperation began several months ago and so all bench testing, engineering calibration and on site application support is expected to be completed within a year. Protean Electric will also assist FAW-VW in the development of safety and vehicle controls that can be applied to additional vehicle programs.

"Protean Electric is very pleased and honored to be working with FAW-VW. Our involvement with this prestigious automaker shows that Protean Electric is continuing to serve as a valuable resource for OEMs as they develop New Energy Vehicle programs," says Kwok-yin Chan, CEO of Protean Holdings Corp. "This is a two-phase project that will capitalize on the torque and packaging freedoms that Protean Drive™ can bring to an automaker. Our technology will return the space to the new Bora vehicle platform that was formerly occupied by an in-board motor and powertrain."

The motors reside in the space behind the wheel, producing torque and power exactly where and when drivers need it. Protean's new production motor provides the highest torque and power density of any leading electric propulsion system. Each in-wheel motor comes with its own power and control electronics packaged inside the motor, which communicates with the vehicle by utilizing a common vehicle control system.

Features of Protean's in-wheel motors include:

75 kW (100 hp) peak power
Highest torque density of any of today's leading electric drive systems
Mass of only 34 kg (75 lbs.) per motor
Power and control electronics packaged inside the motor
Superior regenerative braking capabilities, which allow up to 85 percent of the available kinetic energy to be recovered during braking
Fits within a conventional 18" road wheel
In addition, Protean has developed multiple vehicles with various global OEMs for demonstration in the US, Europe and China.

Protean has been awarded 33 patents for its unique technology and design, with 101 additional international patent applications pending. Protean has won the prestigious 2012 Technology Pioneers Award from the World Economic Forum and received recognition from Car and Driver magazine as one of the ten most promising technologies for 2013.

About Protean:
Protean Electric is a leading clean technology company that designs, develops and manufactures 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, China and Hong Kong. For more information, visit

About FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co. LTD:
The FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Company (FAW-VW) was founded in 1991 and is a Chinese joint venture between FAW Group Corporation, a Chinese state-owned automotive manufacturing company and Volkswagen Group. The headquarters of FAW-VW is located in the south-western section of Changchun, Jilin Province. On August 15, 2011, FAW-VW celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a milestone of producing its one millionth car.

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