ENGINEERING CAPABILITIES

Overview
Protean Electric is composed of 60 employees, of which approximately 45 are engineers, and 13 hold master’s degrees or PhDs. Protean’s Farnham engineering center features the UK’s only 400 kW 4×4 chassis dynamometer, capable of up to 100 kW per wheel both in motoring and regenerative braking. Protean Electric has engineering expertise in the following areas:
  • Motor design
  • Concept development
  • 3D solid modeling
  • Motor control software development
  • Electromagnetic modeling
  • Finite element analysis
  • Vehicle performance simulations
  • Low-volume manufacture
  • Environmental testing
  • Full vehicle dynamometer testing
  • Prototype vehicle integration
  • Vehicle-level control development
  • Driver user interface (DUI) development

Protean’s substantial engineering capabilities have resulted in significant industry recognition:

  • Winners of the 2011 National Instruments GSD Award for Industry in UK and Ireland
  • Winners of the 2012 National Instruments GSD International Award for Green Engineering
  • Finalists in the 2012 National Instruments GSD International Award for Transportation
 
Engineers use 3D solid modeling software to design Protean’s in-wheel motors.
One of Protean’s motor test and development labs.
Protean Electric's single motor dynamometer.
Protean Electric’s 4 x 4 chassis dynamometer.

Test Equipment

4×4 Chassis Dynamometer

  • Protean’s 400 kW 4×4 chassis dynamometer is capable of up to 100 kW per wheel both in motoring and regenerative braking.
  • The vehicle can be driven with road-load simulation, including gradient and transition-through-zero behaviors (a unique capability in testing electric vehicles) in addition to its ability to configure axle behaviors manually or automatically to execute custom drive cycles.
  • With a direct axle connection to the wheels, the system has a low inertia suitable for testing unconventional drivetrains (such as Protean’s in-wheel motors).
  • The system additionally has a 3-circuit heat exchanger, capable of simulating various cooling configurations and conditions without using a headwind fan, including a high-flow system for engines up to 400 hp.
  • The 4×4 chassis dynamometer system was developed in partnership with CP Engineering; using VASCAT motors and ABB drives. It also has its own dedicated substation and is certified for energy generation onto the national grid.

 

Battery Simulator

  • Protean Electric’s 150 kW bi-directional CAN-connected DC battery simulator powers the motor testing lab with a bus bar distribution system.

 

Dynamometer Instrumentation

  • A suite of instrumentation is available in Protean’s lab including 10 CAN channels, 8 analogue inputs, 8 analogue outputs, 8 digital inputs, 8 digital outputs, and 8 thermocouple inputs. These channels provide logging and real time control such as safety triggers or fold-back for development testing.

 

Single Motor Dynamometers

  • Protean’s single dynamometer is a 200 kW four-quadrant dynamometer capable of up to 1,800 Nm of torque and 2,000 rpm.
  • When not being used for full vehicle testing, the individual motors of the 4×4 chassis dyno can be used independently for Protean’s motor lifetime testing.

 

Cooling System

  • A 70 kW closed loop system is used to cool all of the motors under test. Coolant temperatures can be controlled from 8˚C to 90˚C with variable flow rate.

 

Environmental and Life Testing

  • Protean’s two Thermotron environmental chambers are capable of providing temperatures from -70 to +180˚C and humidity up to 98%.
  • In addition, Protean’s Ascott cyclic corrosion chamber offers in-house corrosion resistance testing capabilities on parts and subassemblies.
  • A Bespoke seal life test rig provides dynamically simulated cornering loads while subjecting the rotating motor seals to various contaminants.

 

 

Software

 

Company

Software

How Protean Uses It

Dassault Systèmes

Solidworks

3D solid modeling of components and assemblies

Reqtify

Systems engineering – requirement management

Flow simulation

Computational fluid dynamics

Simulation

Finite element analysis

Photoview

Photorealistic rendering

Circuitworks

Electrical CAD

3Dvia

3D publishing

Enterprise PDM

Product data management

Motor Design Ltd

MotorCad

Thermal modeling

Parametric Technology

MathCad

Mathematical modeling

Minitab Inc

Minitab

Statistical modeling

IBM

Rhapsody

SysML/UML design

Razorcat

Tessy

Unit testing

Vector

ASAP 2 tool kit

Generating A2L files for calibration

CANape

ECU calibration

CANalyzer

CAN bus analysis

dSPACE

CalDesk

ECU calibration

ControlDesk

Control of dSPACE hardware

MicroAutoBox, AutoBox and RapidPro

Vehicle control and hardware in the loop simulation

Lauterbach

Power Trace II

Emulator and associated software

National Instruments

LabVIEW

Automated motor test

Mathworks

Matlab/Simulink

Motor modeling and analysis, vehicle systems modeling

IPG Automotive

CarMaker

Vehicle simulation

APIS Informationstechnologien

APIS IQ RM Pro

DFMEA management

CD-Adapco

SPEED

Motor design

Vector Fields Software

Opera 2D and 3D

Electromagnetic finite-element analysis

 

 

Technical Advisory Board

Protean Electric’s Technology Advisory Board is composed of several respected industry figures including:

Dr. Jim Nagashima
Nagashima is well known in the automotive traction motor and power electronics sector. He has more than 15 years of experience at General Motors in advanced development and was a GM Technical Fellow. While at GM, Nagashima was responsible for developing advanced technologies and hardware in power electronics, motor drives, and controls for GM’s electric, hybrid, and fuel cell vehicle programs, and he came to be regarded as a pioneer in wheel motor technology.

Nagashima is a member of CALSTART/Weststart Technical Advisory Committee and holds 29 patents in the electric drive and power electronics arenas. Nagashima currently advises Protean Electric on matters regarding electric drivetrains in the automotive industry.

Professor Barrie Mecrow
Mecrow is professor of Electrical Power and heads the Power Electronics, Drives and Machines Research Group at Newcastle University. As a leading figure in the academic world and in the field of electric motors and generators, Mecrow is interested in electrical machines and power electronic controllers, working extensively on safety critical systems and fault tolerant machines. Mecrow lends his expertise to Protean Electric on power electronics and machine design.

Damian Harty
Harty is a widely respected figure in the vehicle dynamics field. Currently, he holds a Senior Research Fellow, Vehicle Dynamics and Control position at Coventry University. Previously, Harty served as a technical specialist-dynamics at Prodrive. While at Prodrive, he performed studies in a variety of areas including passive and active excellence in vehicle behavior. In addition, Harty has provided his expertise on the dynamic behavior of the new Mini John Cooper Works WRC, closed loop control of driveline behavior for road car dynamics, and steer-by-wire control of a free-leaning vehicle.

Harty also has co-authored, “The Multibody Systems Approach to Vehicle Dynamics.” Harty works with Protean Electric to assess the impact on vehicle dynamics when fitting Protean’s motors to vehicles.