Protean Electric Announces $70 Million in New Funding to Accelerate Adoption of Innovative In-wheel Drive Systems for Electrified Vehicles

Shanghai, China — 19 JULY 2016 — Protean Electric, the global leader in the development and commercialization of in-wheel electric drive systems, today announced receiving $70 million in new funding from GSR 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.

“This funding accelerates the adoption of our innovative technology in the booming electric vehicle market in China,” says KY Chan, CEO of Protean Electric. “Protean’s in-wheel drive technology is the most versatile, energy efficient and cost-effective method to add electrification to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles or develop a new breed of pure electric vehicles.”

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.

Leal Jiang Chen, President of VIE Group, says, “As a strategic investor, we are glad to support Protean’s growth in China and other important automotive markets.  VIE’s strong China customer base, its broad range of chassis products, and its manufacturing prowess are highly complementary to Protean’s technology leadership.  Together, we look forward to great mutual success.”

“Protean has developed a next generation power train with greater potential than anything I have seen in my 30 years in the automotive industry” says Frank Chao Lyu, Chairman and Founder of Tianjin THSG Corporation (Tanhas).   “I am excited to be part of this new investment group and look forward to bringing customer resources to help commercialize this disruptive technology.”

Says Bandel Carano, Managing Partner at Oak Investment Partners:

“There’s tremendous interest around the world in adopting Protean’s in-wheel electric drive systems, which enable breakthrough cost and performance advantages, including integrated power electronics, unparalleled regenerative braking efficiency, and high power and torque applied directly to the wheel.”

“China, in particular, presents a compelling near-term opportunity with the central and local governments’ continued support of electric vehicles as a means to address the serious pollution problem.  In mature markets such as North America and Europe, I believe Protean’s electric drive system will be embraced as one solution to help these countries achieve fuel economy and meet challenging emissions targets.”

Sonny Wu, Founder and Chairman of GSR Capital adds, “Alternative Energy including EV technology is one of the areas that GSR GO Scale Capital focuses on.  Our investment will support Protean’s commercialization of in-wheel motors in China, where we are also focused on the EV market.  I am confident that Protean will quicken its success with its China-based launch pad.”

About Protean and the Protean Drive® In-wheel Electric-drive Solution

Protean Electric designs, develops and manufactures Protean Drive® in-wheel motors, a fully integrated in-wheel drive solution.  Protean Electric’s technology is strategically positioned to play a major role in the global hybrid and electric vehicle market by offering a combination of packaging advantages, new vehicle design opportunities, performance benefits and cost savings.

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.

Protean maintains operations in the United Kingdom, Shanghai, China and the United States, and has a manufacturing plant in Tianjin, China.  For more information, visit

About GSR GO Scale Capital:
GSR GO Scale Capital is a technology-focused private equity fund under the GSR Capital family of funds, with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Silicon Valley. The fund’s team brings together years of cross-border operating experience and a successful co-investment history in cutting edge technologies. The fund’s goal is to leverage powerful market engines in China to build world-class companies that transform and reshape global industries.

About VIE:
VIE (SZSE: 002590) is a leading automotive parts supplier in China producing pneumatic and hydraulic brake systems, automotive electronics and engineering plastic products.  VIE has recently expanded into wireless charging, ADAS and Electro-Mechanical Braking System.

About Tanhas:
Tianjin THSG Corporation (“Tanhas”) is the parent of several successful companies located in Tianjin, China.  The group is the largest private corporation in China engaged in independent research and development and manufacturing of core automotive transmission parts and systems.  For more information please see

About GSR Ventures
GSR Ventures, founded in 2004, invests primarily in early and growth stage technology companies and currently manages funds worth over US $1billion. Focused on investing in semiconductor industry, internet, wireless communication, media and green energy sectors, GSR has completed 26 investments in China.

About Oak Investment Partners
As a multi-stage venture capital firm, Oak focuses on high-growth opportunities in the Information Technology, Internet and Consumer, Financial Services Technology, Healthcare Information and Services, and Clean Energy sectors. The company’s goal is to help dynamic companies transform the way business is done.  Since its inception in 1978, the firm has invested $9 billion in over 525 companies around the world, earning the trust of entrepreneurs with a senior team that delivers steady guidance, deep domain expertise and a consistent investment philosophy.

Media Contacts:

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T: +86-21-6193-1128 (China)


Lixiang Chen (left), Chairman of Zhejiang VIE Science & Technology CO., Ltd., and VIE Group CO., Ltd., shaking hands with KwokYin Chan (right), CEO of Protean Electric, after signing the investment agreement and JV contract at Zhejiang VIE Science & Technology Co. Ltd.

Lixiang Chen (left), Chairman of Zhejiang VIE Science & Technology CO., Ltd., and VIE Group CO., Ltd., shaking hands with KwokYin Chan (right), CEO of Protean Electric, after signing the investment agreement and JV contract at Zhejiang VIE Science & Technology Co. Ltd.