UK Company Claims Breakthrough in EV Powertrain Modules

A UK in-wheel powertrain specialist has unveiled a concept it claims will provide single unit modules able to steer independently through 360-degrees.

Protean Electric’s ‘corner module’ concept, dubbed Protean360+, combines an EV powertrain, steering and suspension into a single unit that could be mounted just about anywhere on a vehicle’s chassis. It said the concept was specifically designed to meet the needs of next-generation urban transport vehicles tasked with smoothly and efficiently moving people and goods around busy conurbations.

The module’s compact dimensions should allow for an entirely flat vehicle interior floor and sufficient lateral access to offer wheelchair ingress and egress through front, rear and side doors. Its steering capability means the vehicle can park front-, rear-, or side-on to the kerb, and occupants can disembark straight onto the pavement without having to step into the road.

Electric propulsion is provided by the ProteanDrive in-wheel motor, a permanent-magnet synchronous motor with an integrated inverter and a dedicated liquid cooling circuit, tightly packaged within the wheel rim. A friction brake disc and caliper are packaged in the wheel with the motor, complementing its regenerative braking capability. Each Pd18 motor (to fit an 18-inch wheel) develops 922ft-lbs) peak torque and 105bhp peak power.

KY Chan, CEO of Protean, said: “Transport-as-a-Service urban mobility is gaining momentum, and with it the need for a new class of urban transport vehicles. Whether shared or private, for passengers or goods deliveries, human-driven or autonomous, these new vehicles will require new technologies to be fit for purpose.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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