Protean Electric’s production Protean Drive in-wheel electric drive motor has more peak torque and a better efficiency range than last year’s prototype design shown at the SAE 2013 World Congress. The system will help enable the transition of the global automotive industry to hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles, the company says. It is a direct-drive permanent-magnet machine with the motor electronics integrated inside each motor. This allows for easier vehicle integration and uses a conventional wheel, tire, hub, and bearing. The system can also be retrofitted to vehicles currently on the road because the motors do not require any body-in-white or underhood modifications. Low-volume production is scheduled to begin over the next 12 months in Liyang, China. Protean’s in-wheel solution provides fuel economy improvements across a range of vehicles of up to 30% depending on battery size. It fits within the space of a conventional 18-in road wheel, simplifying vehicle integration. What Protean calls "superior" regenerative braking capabilities allow up to 85% of the available kinetic energy to be recovered during braking.
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