Funding of $84 Million for Wheel Motor Systems in Liyang
Protean Electric announced $84 million in new funding to set up manufacturing of its wheel motor systems in Liyang, Jiangsu, China.
The funding is led by Beijing- and Silicon Valley-based GSR Ventures and the Liyang-based New Times Group. Oak Investment Partners, Protean’s first venture investor, is also participating. “The city of Liyang is partnering to provide prototype manufacturing support, with favorable industrial policy,” Protean says.
Protean offers wheel motor retrofits suitable for numerous vehicle types. “We have a very unique value proposition: We can create hybrid and electric drive vehicle options, on the vehicles that people like to drive,” Protean chairman and CEO Bob Purcell said in a release.
“We can provide more power, better fuel economy, easier integration, and lower cost,” Purcell said. “The Protean Electric drive system is probably as close as the industry will ever get to a bolt-on solution.”
Protean promotes fuel economy improvements of up to 30% using 110-horsepower (81-kilowatt) motors that weigh just 68 pounds (31 kilograms) each, with the “highest torque density of any of today’s leading electric propulsion systems.” The firm claims regenerative braking allowing much as 85% of available kinetic energy to be recovered.
Protean says it holds 21 patents for its technology and design, with more than 70 applications pending in North America, Europe and Asia.
“All of our investors believe in our technology and share in our vision to make Protean Electric the world leader for in-wheel electric drive,” Purcell said. “We will have the capability to directly supply our motors at lower volume levels, while providing licenses to our higher volume customers and partners.”
Volume Production in 2014
“Liyang is becoming a well-known location for companies at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, especially in new energy, and we are very pleased to welcome Protean Electric to our city to manufacture their in-wheel electric drive system,” said Liyang Mayor Su Jianghua.
Protean is planning for prototype motor production early next year and volume production in 2014.
Protean has developed multiple demonstration vehicles, fitting its drive a Ford F-150 pick-up truck, a Volvo C30, Vauxhall Vivaro cargo van, and Guangzhou Automobile Company Trumpchi. Brabus full electric and hybrid vehicles, based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and were featured at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
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Source: Protean Electric release with Fleets & Fuels follow-up