Protean Unveils Production In-Wheel Electric Motor; Torque Soars to 735 Pound-Feet
Protean Electric unveiled the production-ready version of its in-wheel electric motor system at the 2013 Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit on April 16.
According to Protean, its in-wheel motor will be mass produced starting in 2014 following the successful testing of prototype versions in several vehicles, including the Vauxhall Vivaro cargo van, Guangzhou Trumpchi sedan, a Ford F150 and BRABUS vehicles based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Protean says it in-wheel motors could be utilized for pure electric vehicles, but sees greater potential for the system to be part of an EREV setup.
Specs for Protean’s production version are impressive:
- Mass of 68 pounds per motor
- Up to 85% of the available kinetic energy recovered during braking
- Fuel economy improvements up to 30% in hybrid configurations
- Peak torque of 735 pound-feet (torque not measured using standard SAE automotive formula)
- Peak horsepower of 100 hp
We do see a few issues with Protean’s setup though. First, even at 68 pounds, that’s a lot of unsprung weight for most suspension system to cope with. Second, there’s no word on price, which could make or break the use of such a system. Finally, Protean says it motor only fits wheels 18-inches or larger in diameter, which means that most compacts and subcompacts out there today could not employ such a setup unless wheel sizes on those vehicles grew by a few inches.