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HTUF 2011 - Hybrid Truck Users Forum

Protean Electric Likes Wheel Motors

Protean Electric says that its wheel motor retrofits allow regenerative braking to be installed via a vehicle's rear wheels, with no modifications to existing front brakes, while retaining original engine and drive.

Protean Electric says that its wheel motor retrofits allow regenerative braking to be installed via a vehicle’s rear wheels, with no modifications to existing front brakes, while retaining original engine and drive.

Wheel motors are the way to go, says UK and Troy, Mich.-based Protean Electric, promoting a new breed of “through-the-road” hybrid it says can dramatically increase fuel efficiency – and can do so on existing vehicles via a relatively easy retrofit.
“It can make a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or an EV out of an existing vehicle,” says sales and marketing VP Ken Stewart. Protean says that a European General Motors Vauxhall Vivaro with Protean wheel motors showed a 300% fuel economy improvement in hybrid mode on a European drive cycle fuel test.

’30% or Better Fuel Economy Improvement’

“This is an absolute game-changer,” Stewart says.

“I can easily promise 30% or better fuel economy improvement even for a full-size truck or full-size van.”
Protean outfitted the front wheel-drive Vivaro with a through-the-road hybrid conversion kit – two Protean Electric PD-18 motors on the rear axle. The motors together provide torque assist of up to 1,180 foot-pounds (1,650 Nm) peak and 740 lb.-ft. (1,000 Nm) continuous at the rear wheels. The installation included a 21kWh battery, yielding more than 55 miles of pure electric range, combining plug-in hybrid and EV capabilities.
The system allows regenerative braking on the rear wheels with no modifications to existing front brakes, while retaining original engine and drive. “Fleet operators should be lining up for a vehicle such as this,” said Protean chairman and CEO Bob Purcell.
Stewart, a veteran of GM and UTC Power, showed the Protean Vivaro for the first time in North America at a Center for Automotive Research management briefing seminar. “I’ll be ready to talk about kits and prices in just a few months,” he told Fleets & Fuels.

Protean tested its wheel motors on the Vauxhall Vivaro at Millbrook in the UK

Protean tested its wheel motors on the Vauxhall Vivaro at Millbrook in the UK

Protean (Booth 706) is an HTUF first-timer and a bronze sponsor of HTUF 2011. The firm received a Technology Pioneers award at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on September 1.

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