Thanks to $84 million in funds invested by GSR Ventures along with New Times Group and Oak Investment Partners, Protean Electric will finally be able to start manufacturing its much talked about in-wheel electric motors.
The production facility, located in Liyang, in the Chinese province of Jiangsu, provides Protean with access to the world’s current single largest automobile market, in which sales reached more than 18.5 million units last year.
“GSR is honored to lead this round of investment in a disruptive technology that we believe has great promise for the Chinese automotive market and potentially building a global EV platform,” said Sonny Wu, GSR Ventures managing director.
Protean’s in-wheel system has been designed to add gasoline hybrid and pure electric drive options for existing vehicles by providing a much lower cost and far more straightforward conversion process. In fact company CEO Bob Purcell has said “the Protean Electric drive system is probably as close as the industry will ever get to a bolt-on solution.”
So far the company has demonstrated its technology on a variety of vehicles, including a Ford F-150 pickup, Brabus based EV and hybrids (based on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class) and Volvo C30 coupe.
Although the facility in Liyang will only be able to handle fairly modest production levels (at least initially) and Protean still has to explore avenues for licensing its technology to larger customers, the recent investment certainly represents a significant step in the right direction.