Protean Electric signs new deal to supply ‘thousands of in-wheel motors’ to autonomous shuttles

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In-wheel motor specialists Protean Electric and creator of autonomous vehicle solutions, Local Motors, have extended their strategic partnership with a new three-year deal, valued at US$7.3m, through which Protean Electric will supply thousands of Protean Drive in-wheel motors to power the Local Motors’ Olli 2.0 electric autonomous shuttle.

The Olli autonomous shuttle is in use today on campuses and city streets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Olli’s autonomy system is powered by ProteanDrive in-wheel motors, which are said to offer a lighter and more energy-efficient alternative to e-axles. The placement of the ProteanDrive in-wheel motors enables Local Motors to maximize passenger space and vehicle range.

Protean Electric’s in-wheel motor

“Now in live deployments around the world, Olli is truly changing the way that we look at transportation, providing a smart, safe, sustainable option for getting around,” said Vikrant Aggarwal, president of Local Motors. “One of the keys in driving broad-scale adoption of electric autonomous vehicles is delivering an exceptional passenger experience, and the ProteanDrive in-wheel motors play a huge role in that experience, providing a smooth, quiet, and reliable ride while allowing us to optimize vehicle design to better address real-world use cases.”

This major new order for ProteanDrive in-wheel motors comes amid burgeoning market demand for battery electric vehicles. Protean Electric has been developing and refining its IWM technology for the past 12 years and offers the market a solution ready for massive deployment. In addition to Local Motors, Protean is currently deeply engaged with four major automotive OEMs.

The accelerating climate crisis further underscores the urgent need to transition to BEVs; because road transportation is estimated to account for approximately 17% of greenhouse gas emissions, the electrification of the automotive industry could drive significant, positive impact in the battle against climate change. The Local Motors/Protean Electric partnership represents a critical proof point for the reduction in carbon per passenger mile, offering an alternative autonomous transport solution that improves mobility for all of society.

“We are thrilled to be building on our alliance with Local Motors, enabling them to rapidly scale deployments of Olli 2.0,” said Andrew Whitehead, CEO, Protean Electric. “This new deal not only reinforces Local Motors’ commitment to the ProteanDrive IWM solution but offers important industry validation that the technology is mature, reliable, scalable, and delivers the cost and performance needed to address the massive acceleration in electric vehicle adoption.”

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