ACT Expo 2018


Protean Shows Wheel Motor Hybrid

April 28, 2012 in Electric Drive, EVs, Hybrids by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Brabus ‘Technology Project Hybrid’ Shown at SAE in Detroit,
Where a Stable of Global Production Partners Was Announced

Protean Electric’s wheel-motor design for hybrid electric vehicles was shown at the SAE World Congress in a Brabus sedan based on a diesel-fueled Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

The Michigan firm also took the occasion of SAE to announce a new stable of global production partners “to accelerate its in-wheel electric drive systems to market in high-volume production.”

The partners are FEV, AB Mikroelektronik GmbH, Alcon, ATS Automation Tooling Systems, MAHLE Powertrain and Trelleborg Sealing Solutions.

Protean wheel motors were shown in a Mercedes-based hybrid sedan by Brabus at the SAE World Congress in Detroit.

“We have partnered with unsurpassed global automotive expertise to make sure our solutions are reliable, durable, and can be brought to market cost effectively,” Protean chairman and CEO Bob Purcell said in a release.

The Brabus Hybrid vehicle is equipped with two Protean Drive wheel motors in the rear, making for an “over-the-road” hybrid.

Each Protean motor adds 80 kilowatts (110 horsepower) and 800 Nm (590 ft-lbs) of peak torque, which, when combined with the 2.2-liter common-rail turbo-diesel engine, give the Brabus Hybrid an acceleration of 0-100 km/hr (0-62 mph) in 7.4 seconds and 60-120 km/hr (37-75 mph) of 5.6 seconds.

“Brabus is known throughout the automotive sector for its discerning use of the finest technology to perfect the performance of its exclusive vehicles,” Protean says. “The Brabus Hybrid and Protean Drive offer elite automotive customers a practical, environmentally respectful solution without sacrificing performance and power.”

Protean Drive can improve fuel economy by up to 30% in a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle application, Protean says.

According to a summary of Integrating In-Wheel Motors into Vehicles – Real-World Experiences, aka SAE paper 2012-01-1037 by Protean’s Andy Watts, Andrew Vallance, Al Fraser, Andrew Whitehead, Christopher Hilton, Helen Monkhouse, John Barrie-Smith, Sunoj George and Michael Ellims,

“Compact direct drive in-wheel motors with integrated inverters, control and brakes offer a number of distinct advantages compared to conventional electric drive systems.

“The most obvious being that the drive-train is now packaged within the wheel freeing up space elsewhere, in addition many driveline components and their associated losses are eliminated and the vehicle efficiency, response and handling can be improved. In new vehicle applications this allows complete freedom for designers to optimize the vehicle layout, have more usable space inside the vehicle body and enables revolutionary vehicle concepts (which will become more important as road space becomes scarce and taxation measures migrate towards vehicle size).

“In retrofit applications the compact package allows an electric drive to be added to any existing vehicle without requiring any significant disruption to the vehicle platform to keep integration costs down. This represents an opportunity for OEM’s to hybridize their existing vehicle portfolio in order to address more stringent fleet-average emissions legislation.”

Protean has demonstrated its in-wheel motors in multiple vehicles, including a Ford F150, Volvo C30, Vauxhall Vivaro cargo van, and Guangzhou Automobile Company Trumpchi.


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