Protean Electric is showcasing its Protean Drive electric in-wheel motor system in a Mercedes-Benz E-Class-based Brabus Hybrid at the SAE 2012 World Congress, marking the car's first North American appearance. Protean's Chairman and CEO Bob Purcell unveiled the car and announced several new global partners that will help the company launch its in-wheel electric drive systems into volume production.
FEV is bringing its automotive engineering development and services expertise. AB Mikroelektronik GmbH of the TT Electronics Group is contributing electronic modules for the high power application. Alcon is bringing its experience in brake design from automotive and racing-level durability from Indycar, GrandAm, and NASCAR racing. Automation Tooling Systems Inc. is helping with production. Mahle Powertrain is providing engineering services. Trelleborg is contributing sealing solutions.
“We are very pleased to announce strategic partnerships with some of the best automotive expertise in the world,” Purcell said.
Protean engineers provided insights into their technology Wednesday morning during the SAE Congress session. Ken Stewart, Vice President of Business Development at Protean Electric, spent a few minutes with AEI, and we captured the interview, available via this link.
The Brabus Hybrid demonstrator is powered by two Protean Drive wheel motors in the rear wheels that supplement power from a diesel engine. Each Protean motor adds 80 kW and 800 N·m of peak torque. When combined with the 2.2-L common-rail turbodiesel engine, they give the car a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration in 7.4 s and 60-120 km/h (37-75 mph) time of 5.6 s.
Protean has been awarded 17 patents for its in-wheel motor technology, and more than 60 additional patent applications have been filed internationally and with specific countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. Its motors are designed for a broad range of vehicle applications. In addition to the Brabus Hybrid, the company has demonstrated in-wheel motors in the Ford F150, Volvo C30, Vauxhall Vivaro cargo van, and Guangzhou Trumpchi.