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.

Protean EREV Demo Mock Up

Protean Demo Mock Up

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.

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6 Comments on "Protean Unveils Production In-Wheel Electric Motor; Torque Soars to 735 Pound-Feet"

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I’m a little concerned about the motors being exposed to the elements (along w/pot-holes)

Yeah, but think of all that torque, applied right to the wheels!

I do agree with your concerns. I would add road salt to the list as well. In-wheel motors are a fascinating idea, but in the snow belt, they wouldn’t last 5 years!

“Mass of 68 pounds”

Ouch, Protean. “Pounds” is a measure of WEIGHT, not MASS.

In Wheel motors are the future … but they have to get the weight down & would there be a
reduction gearbox built in.
make an active suspension system really work hard!

I see the AMG SLS Electric still has the wheels connected by drive shafts to keep
the un sprung weight down – nice car ……. 🙂

Each generation of Protean have less power, more torque and more weight. And still no production.

Weight indication and mass indication are pretty similar at sea level, and anywhere other than on the top of mount everest.

32 pounds at sea level is a mass of 1 slug. its not too much of an error for someone to say a certain number of pounds is a certain amount of mass. Anywhere near sea level on planet earth, its not taking too much of a liberty to interchange the terms. Anyone familiar with omega squared – R will allow this slight technical sleight of hand.