Protean Electric has designed and developed a unique in-wheel electric drive system for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric light-duty vehicles. The Protean Drive™ system can improve vehicle fuel economy, add torque, increase power and enable improved vehicle handling to both new and existing vehicles.
Protean Drive™ is a fully-integrated, direct-drive solution that combines in-wheel motors with an integrated inverter, control electronics and software – no separate large, heavy and costly inverter is required. Each motor packages easily in the unused space behind a conventional 18- to 24-inch wheel and can use the original equipment wheel bearing. The direct-drive configuration reduces part count, complexity and cost, so there is no need to integrate traditional drivetrain components such as external gearing, transmissions, driveshafts, axles and differentials.
Direct-drive, in-wheel motors require no gearboxes, driveshafts or differentials thus giving far greater flexibility to vehicle designers while substantially reducing drivetrain losses. The reduced drivetrain losses mean less energy is wasted (during both acceleration and regenerative braking), resulting in more of the energy from the battery pack being available to propel the vehicle.
Each in-wheel motor can be controlled entirely independently, providing far greater control, performance and vehicle dynamics than any other drive system.
In addition, traction control, launch control and torque vectoring are all easily implemented through the use of in-wheel motors.
Prototype manufacturing will begin in early 2013 with volume production in 2014, out of Protean’s new manufacturing facility in Liyang, China.