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Protean Electric wheels out new propulsion for cars, may triple staff

The electrification of the automobile is necessitating a remake of the internal-combustible engine, a largely unchanged staple of vehicles for the last century.

One firm is moving reinvention out from under the hood and into a car's wheels as the latest innovation in automotive green technology.

Protean Electric, which has a test facility in Troy, is working on an automotive retrofit that would help propel a car with electricity from its wheels. These electric motor packages could be retrofitted or built into vehicles via their wheels, cutting down on energy lost in drive trains and other aspects of traditional vehicles. Protean Electric is reinventing an idea that the founder of Porsche used at the turn of the 20th Century.

"It's simply rediscovering a more efficient way of propelling a vehicle that had been invented a decade before the Model T," says Andrew Vallance, a business development executive for Protean Electric.

The company is under the leadership of Bob Purcell, the man responsible for commercializing the world's first modern electric vehicle, General Motors' EV-1. The company is halfway through the testing and approval process for its technology. It hopes to begin production within the next 18-24 months and eventually sell or license the technology to a major auto supplier or automaker.

Protean Electric employs 90 people in the United Kingdom, Germany and the U.S., including 10 people in Troy. It expects to "at least double, if not triple its staff in Troy over the next few months," Vallance says.

Source: Andrew Vallance, business development executive for Protean Electric
Writer: Jon Zemke
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  • Protean Electric
    100 W Big Beaver Road
    Suite 200
    Troy, MI 48084 Website
    Protean Electric which has a test facility in Troy, is working on an automotive retrofit that would help propel a vehicle with electricity from its wheels.