Investors from China and Silicon Valley combined Wednesday to raise $84-million for a Detroit-based startup, Protean Electric Inc., which has developed technology to propel cars and trucks using motors mounted directly inside a vehicle’s wheels.
Protean, which bills itself as a clean technology firm, is considered a leader in so-called hub motor electric drive systems and the new capital will be used to bring the company’s technology to production by establishing manufacturing facilities in Liyang, China, executive said.
“With this round of investment in place, Protean Electric is now positioned to move aggressively to production and into the market,” said Bob Purcell, chairman and chief executive officer of Protean Holdings Corp.
The timing could prove particularly significant as the China State Council has just announced plans to promote a rapid expansion in electric and other alternative propulsion systems between now and 2020. Protean hopes its alternative approach to using battery power will give it a leg up on more traditional electric motor suppliers.