Dongfeng Motor launches the E70 and Voyah Zhuiguang with ProteanDrive in-wheel motors
22 March 2023
China-based Dongfeng Motor (DFM) has launched two new passenger cars powered by ProteanDrive Pd18 in-wheel motors. The two models were showcased at a ceremony in Wuxi, held by DFM and Weifu Electric Drive Technology (WFDT)—the joint venture between Weifu and Protean Electric (earlier post).
Unveiled at the event was the E70, the world’s first fully homologated passenger car equipped with ProteanDrive, alongside the Voyah Zhuiguang, a luxury sedan built on a new vehicle platform using in-wheel-motors.
DFM E70. In-wheel motor technology enables improvements in space, acceleration and cornering speed on the existing E70 vehicle platform.
The Dongfeng Fengshen E70, one of the bestselling passenger vehicles in China, is a battery-electric vehicle. Its front wheels are driven by an inherited central motor, and in the 4WD version the rear wheels are driven by two ProteanDrive Pd18 in-wheel motors. Each Pd18 has a peak power of 78 kW and a peak torque of 1250N·m.
ProteanDrive Pd18 in-wheel motors applied to the E70 platform creates a high-performing all-wheel drive option, delivered with limited design changes and a short development cycle. DFM stated that the E70 powered by ProteanDrive is lighter and more efficient than an all-wheel drive model powered by e-axles, with increased storage space of 50% and 0-100 km/h acceleration time reduced by 42%.
Additionally, fitting the ProteanDrive system has enabled torque vectoring, providing an 18% increase in cornering speed under extreme driving conditions, and improving the dynamics, maneuverability, and active safety, all while reducing the number of parts in the vehicle by 83.
DFM led the vehicle development and full MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) homologation, including successful completion of crash impact, mud, salt spray, high and low temperature, icing, winter and accelerated durability testing. DFM successfully homologated the E70 as the world’s first passenger car driven by in-wheel motors, in December 2022.
The initial batch of vehicles will now complete extensive fleet trials, including a road-trip from Wuhan to Wuxi.
Also launched at the event was the Voyah Zhuiguang, equipped with Pd18 systems. Voyah is Dongfeng’s latest dedicated electric vehicle brand for the premium market. The Zhuiguang is the first sedan product of the Voyah brand, a flagship luxury electric vehicle.
DFM has collaborated with Protean since 2016. In March 2022, Dongfeng, Weifu and Protean signed a three-party Partnership and Cooperation Framework Agreement to fit ProteanDrive in-wheel motor products on multiple vehicle models. The launch of the E70 and Voyah Zhuiguang is the latest outcome of the partnership.
Good to see in wheel drive making it into cars, as previously it has been in larger vehicles such as BYD buses.
The technology has considerable potential for weight reduction and simplification, although the difficulties in implementation, mainly getting the weight in wheel down to practical levels, have been far from trivial.
Those far better informed on car mechanics than I will correct me, but my understanding is that it allows considerable simplification in the axles etc.
Posted by: Davemart | 22 March 2023 at 09:00 AM
A Lotus study years ago showed that higher unsprung weight was not a killer blow to ride and handling. If in-wheel motors can be a little smaller and mass produced with cheap materials they are the beginning of a design revolution for all types of vehicle. Congrats to Dongfeng for sticking with it and to Protean for dogged determination for almost 20 years.
Posted by: Bernard Harper | 22 March 2023 at 09:23 AM
Here is the Lotus study you refer to:
' Surprisingly, Lotus, which knows a thing or two about chassis dynamics, said that tires and suspension tuning have a greater impact on ride and handling than adding the 68 lbs per wheel that the Protean system weighs. That sounds like heresy in an automotive world that has chanted “reduced unsprung mass” as a mantra for the past 50 years, at least. Reducing the mass of the parts of the car not supported by the suspension, in other words the mass of the suspension itself, has long been considered essential to better handling. Since they’re mounted in the wheel, hub motors are on the wrong side of the unsprung mass equation. Lotus says that while adding weight to the wheel has an effect on ride and handling, that effect can be offset by normal suspension tuning procedures.'
I would imagine that since 2013 the extra unsprung weight has been substantially reduced by better materials in any case.
Lets hope that Protean Motors dogged determination will result in products which are the cat's miaow! ;-)
Posted by: Davemart | 22 March 2023 at 10:14 AM
There are so many pluses for hub motors, one wonders why they are not prolific in the current EVs.
The radical Aptera uses hub motors;
Posted by: Lad | 22 March 2023 at 03:14 PM