The two companies also will look at additional new areas of collaboration for the hybrid and electric vehicle market.
Protean’s in-wheel electric drive system is at the forefront of the next generation of technology to power motor vehicles. The electric motors reside in the unoccupied space in the wheel, producing power or propulsion exactly where drivers need it. Protean Drive™ is a flexible system that can be used in pure electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles or hybrid applications. The system also can be retrofitted to vehicles currently on the road with minimal modifications and installation. Production is scheduled to begin in 2013 in Liyang China.
The Protean-SKF five-year strategic partnership agreement will initially focus on the unique wheel bearing system with integrated sealing and sensors developed by SKF specifically for Protean Electric. The bearing design has a significant influence on the performance of the in-wheel motor, which operates in an extremely harsh environment. The Protean bearing is custom-designed, in anticipation of a new market segment for wheel motors. Beyond this initial project the companies will both look for new areas of collaboration that capitalize on their core expertise.
Protean’s in-wheel solution provides:
– Fuel economy improvements across a wide range of vehicles of up to 30 percent depending on battery size
– 81 kW (110 hp) and 800 Nm (590 lb.-ft. torque) in each motor
– Powerful enough for hybrid, PHEV or used as the only source of traction drive for EV applications
– Highest torque density of any of today’s leading electric propulsion systems
– Weight of only 31 kg (68 lbs.) per motor
– Fits within the space of a conventional 18-inch road wheel, simplifying vehicle integration
– 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 and has been named one of the 10 most promising technologies for 2013 by Car and Driver magazine.
Protean has developed multiple demonstration vehicles, including a Ford F150 pick-up truck, Volvo C30, Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro cargo van, Guangzhou Automobile Company Trumpchi, and BRABUS full electric and hybrid vehicles, based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.