Protean Electric, the global leader in the development and commercialization of in-wheel electric drive systems, has received $70 million in new funding from GO Scale Capital, Zhejiang VIE Science & Technology Co. Ltd., and Tianjin THSG Corporation. Existing investors Oak Investment Partners and GSR Ventures co-invested in Protean’s equity financing round.
The investment follows Protean’s announcement in May that the Company is setting up a manufacturing site in Tianjin, China to commercialize its model PD18 in-wheel motor in order to meet customer demand.
The new funding will be used to ramp up production in China of Protean’s PD18 product line, and for new product development and formation of a manufacturing joint venture with VIE. The joint venture will engage in production and marketing of other in-wheel motor products.
Protean’s in-wheel motors convert electricity directly into power and eliminate energy waste in power transmission. Suitable for both passenger and commercial vehicles, Protean motors can boost an electrified vehicle’s energy efficiency by up to 15 percent compared to a centralized motor in an electric power train.
Protean Electric designs, develops and manufactures Protean Drive in-wheel motors, a fully integrated in-wheel drive solution. Using a scalable and patented sub-motor architecture and designed to fit inside an 18″ wheel rim, Protean’s current PD18 product provides the power and torque required to propel hybrid and electric vehicles from C-segment all the way to light commercial categories.
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
China aims to have five million new energy vehicles on the road by 2020, and has focused on electrification of buses and logistics vehicles to achieve that goal. Protean’s in-wheel motors are ideal for electrification of China’s passenger, MPV, SUV and light commercial vehicles. Meanwhile, automakers in China must meet increasingly strict fuel economy standards, reaching 5 liter per 100 kilometers by 2020. Protean’s in-wheel motors and accompanying proprietary technology directly address this market need.
The U.S. also aims to deploy millions of electrified fleet vehicles, and automakers there also face increasingly strict fuel economy and emissions requirements.