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Electric VW Bora will use Protean in-wheel motors

13 December, 2013

Protean Electric, which specialises in developing in-wheel electric vehicle motors, has formed a partnership with FAW-Volkswagen Automotive (FAW-VW) to develop a new propulsion system for VW’s Bora sedan, based on two Protean motors in the vehicle’s rear wheels.

FAW-VW, founded in 1991, is a joint venture between Volkswagen and FAW Group, a Chinese state-owned automotive manufacturing company. Its headquarters are in China.

Bench testing, engineering calibration and on-site application support for the new drive system is expected to be completed within a year. Protean will also help FAW-VW to develop safety and control systems that can be used in other vehicle programmes.

“This is a two-phase project that will capitalise on the torque and packaging freedoms that Protean Drive can bring to an automaker,” says Kwok-yin Chan, CEO of Protean Holdings. “Our technology will return the space to the new Bora vehicle platform that was formerly occupied by an in-board motor and powertrain." 

Protean's in-wheel motors, which deliver up to 75kW of peak power, are claimed to have the highest torque density of any of existing electric drive system. The 34kg motors incorporate power and control electronics inside the motor, which fits into a conventional 18" road wheel. Regenerative braking allows up to 85% of the available kinetic energy to be recovered.

Protean's 34kg motor fits inside a wheel where it delivers up to 75kW of peak power

The motors are designed to occupy the space behind the wheel, producing torque and power where and when drivers need it. They communicate with the vehicle using a common vehicle control system.   

The Protean in-wheel drive system is based on pancake motor technology originally developed in the UK by PML Flightlink, whose own origins dated back to 1963 when a company called Printed Motors was set up to manufacture flat armature motors. Protean Electric, which has backing from US and Chinese sources, now has operations in the US, the UK, Hong Kong, and China, where its motors are entering volume production.

Protean has developed vehicles with various global OEMs for demonstration in the US, Europe and China. It also has a strategic partnership with SKF. Protean has 33 patents for its technology and designs, with 101 further international patent applications pending

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