Protean Electric, a Chinese developer of in-wheel electric drive systems, announced receiving $70 million in new funding from GO Scale Capital, Zhejiang VIE Science & Technology Co. Ltd., and Tianjin THSG Corporation. Existing investors Oak Investment Partners and GSR Ventures co-invested in Protean’s equity financing round.
The investment follows Protean’s announcement in May that the Company is setting up a manufacturing site in Tianjin, China to commercialize its model PD18 in-wheel motor in order to meet customer demand.
The new funding will be used to ramp up production in China of Protean’s PD18 product line, and for new product development and formation of a manufacturing joint venture with VIE. The joint venture will engage in production and marketing of other in-wheel motor products.
Protean Electric’s in-wheel motors convert electricity directly into power and eliminate energy waste in power transmission. Suitable for both passenger and commercial vehicles, Protean motors can boost an electrified vehicle’s energy efficiency by up to 15 percent compared to a centralized motor in an electric power train.
“This funding accelerates the adoption of our innovative technology in the booming electric vehicle market in China,” says KY Chan, CEO of Protean Electric. “Protean’s in-wheel drive technology is the most versatile, energy efficient and cost-effective method to add electrification to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles or develop a new breed of pure electric vehicles.”
China aims to have five million new energy vehicles on the road by 2020, and has focused on electrification of buses and logistics vehicles to achieve that goal. Protean’s in-wheel motors are ideal for electrification of China’s passenger, MPV, SUV and light commercial vehicles. Meanwhile, automakers in China must meet increasingly strict fuel economy standards, reaching 5 liter per 100 kilometers by 2020. Protean’s in-wheel motors and accompanying proprietary technology directly address this market need.
The U.S. also aims to deploy millions of electrified fleet vehicles, and automakers there also face increasingly strict fuel economy and emissions requirements.
Leal Jiang Chen, President of VIE Group, says, “As a strategic investor, we are glad to support Protean’s growth in China and other important automotive markets. VIE’s strong China customer base, its broad range of chassis products, and its manufacturing prowess are highly complementary to Protean’s technology leadership. Together, we look forward to great mutual success.”
“Protean has developed a next generation power train with greater potential than anything I have seen in my 30 years in the automotive industry,” says Frank Chao Lyu, Chairman and Founder of Tianjin THSG Corporation (Tanhas). “I am excited to be part of this new investment group and look forward to bringing customer resources to help commercialize this disruptive technology.”
Says Bandel Carano, managing partner at Oak Investment Partners:
“There’s tremendous interest around the world in adopting Protean’s in-wheel electric drive systems, which enable breakthrough cost and performance advantages, including integrated power electronics, unparalleled regenerative braking efficiency, and high power and torque applied directly to the wheel.”
“China, in particular, presents a compelling near-term opportunity with the central and local governments’ continued support of electric vehicles as a means to address the serious pollution problem. In mature markets such as North America and Europe, I believe Protean’s electric drive system will be embraced as one solution to help these countries achieve fuel economy and meet challenging emissions targets.”
Sonny Wu, Managing Partner of GO Scale Capital adds, “Green transportation technology is one of the areas that GO Scale Capital focuses on. Our investment will support Protean’s commercialization of in-wheel motors in China, where we are also focused on the EV market. I am confident that Protean will quicken its success with its China-based launch pad.”
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.