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In-wheel electric drive company Protean Electric raises $40M; JV with Weifu

In-wheel electric drive company Protean Electric announced the completion of a $40-million equity investment as the initial closing of its Series E funding round. The investor group is led by Weifu High-Technology Group Co., Ltd., a leading diversified automotive component manufacturer, and Oak Investment Partners, Protean’s charter investor and long-established, multi-stage venture capital firm.

The Series E financing proceeds will support Protean’s on-going business activities and help to establish a global licensing model covering all key markets. Weifu has further invested in the relationship by agreeing to form a joint venture in China for the manufacture of ProteanDrive Pd18.

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Using a scalable and patented sub-motor architecture, the current Pd18 product, designed to fit inside an 18" wheel rim, provides the power and torque required to propel hybrid and electric vehicles from C-segment all the way to light commercial categories.

A technology center will be set up within the joint venture to focus on customer application engineering and manufacturing process engineering. Under the leadership of Protean’s technology center in England, the joint venture will support product development and continuous engineering of in-wheel motor products.

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This investment supports Protean Electric’s position as the world leader of in-wheel motor technology and eDrive systems. As we win more customer projects, our investors are convinced our technology offers tangible vehicle level benefits. The relationship with Weifu also provides great support for the industrialization of ProteanDrive, allowing us to focus on our technology and software to deliver enhanced vehicle functionality such as augmented ABS, torque vectoring, and control of the digital corner.

—Kwok-Yin Chan, CEO of Protean Electric

Protean maintains operations in the United Kingdom, China and the US, with its manufacturing plant at Tianjin, China.

Weifu High Technology Group is an automotive component manufacturer, and one of the Top 30 Automotive Enterprises. Operating since 1958 in China, Weifu Group leads in automotive fuel intake and exhaust systems. With 10 wholly owned and majority owned subsidiaries including 2 joint ventures, and one JV with minority interest, Weifu Group has international presence in the US, Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Comments

HarveyD

Controlled AWD and front/back steering could become a reality? Added suspended weight could be partially compensated with lighter tires and wheels.

SJC

Heavy and expensive.

Arnold

There should be a way to integrate and substitute the power cable at the suspension attachment so to avoid the need for cable to flex as the suspension travels.

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