Protean Electric has teamed up with Chinese manufacturer Dongfeng Motor to equip two electric cars with an unknown but very promising technology. These are electric motors integrated directly into the wheels, which allow the cars to gain in performance, but also in space on board.
If it still has many refractories, However, the electric car has many advantages. Among them, a reduced maintenance cost, a less expensive charge than a full one, despite the rise in the price of electricity or even less stressful driving. Few know, but their engines also offer better performancearound 95%, against less than 50% for thermal models.
An innovative system
Indeed, on internal combustion cars, only half of the fuel consumed is actually used for propulsion, while the rest is transformed into heat. A problem that is not found on electric vehicles. However, some manufacturers want to go even further and achieve maximum efficiency.
This is particularly the case of Dongfeng Motor, which is currently working on the development of solid-state batteries for 2024. The company has in fact partnered with the company Protean Electric to equip two of its electric cars with a very promising new technology. It is then a question of motors integrated directly into the wheelsthe specialty of the UK-based company.
Founded in 2009, it has been working on this device for several years, and it is therefore finally ready to be used in real conditions. As a press release explains, the new Dongfeng Fengshen E70 is therefore the first car in the world to be homologated with this system, called ProteanDrive Pd18.
In concrete terms, how does that work ? In reality, it’s quite simple. The engines, here two in number are installed directly on the wheels, not on the axle as is the case with other manufacturers. Thus, the couple is sent directly to them, without any intermediary. And this offers many advantages as the company explains.
More performance, but not only
On its website, Protean Electric explains that this system develops up to 180 kW, or 240 horsepower for two motors and 360 kW (about 480 horsepower) for a number of four. The torque can then reach 1,400 Nm and each motor weighs 36 kilos. A high weight, but which is all the same compensated by the absence of a transmission system.
But that’s not all, because this technology also improves performance, with 0 to 100 km/h achieved 42% faster. Cornering speed is increased by 18% while this device reduces the number of parts needed to manufacture the car by 83.
Motors integrated directly into the wheels also make it possible to optimize the space on board the vehicle. Thus, it is for example possible to use the space left by the conventional electric motor under the bonnet for a frunky bigger. This provides more space for passengers. Several Dongfeng Fengshen E70 are currently in the testing phase in China, while the manufacturer also revealed its new Voyah Zhuiguang equipped with this technology.
This is of interest to other brands, such as Lightyear, the origin of the most aerodynamic solar car on the market. The firm, which has since stopped production of the latter, unveiled last July a system equipping its vehicle with one motor per wheel. This made it possible to achieve a record yield of 97% by removing the transmission system and the differential.
On the other hand, this technology offers a reduced maximum power compared to a conventional engine. This is still also used by Aptera for its solar car.
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