Chinese automaker Dongfeng Motor (DFM) revealed a revised version of the E70, which is now the world’s first series production passenger vehicle that uses Protean’s in-wheel electric motors.
The Dongfeng Fengshen E70 is one of the most successful passenger cars in China and it just happens to be an EV with a single, front-mounted electric motor. Now, with this latest version, two ProteanDrive Pd18 in-wheel motors are used for the rear wheels, resulting in an all-wheel drive sedan.
One Protean unit has a peak power output of 78 kilowatts (104 horsepower) and a peak torque of 922 pound-feet (1,250 Newton-meters), which should be more than enough for a daily grocery-getter. Additionally, the use of two motors at the rear enables the use of torque vectoring, which seems a bit excessive for something that looks like a commuter, but it’s nevertheless interesting to see tech like this installed in a car that almost anybody can buy.
Dongfeng says that by using two ProteanDrive motors instead of a conventional electric axle, the all-wheel drive E70 is lighter and more efficient, with 50 percent more storage space and a 0-62 miles per hour (0-100 kilometers per hour) acceleration time smaller by 42 percent.
The DFM E70 went through all homologation tests, including crash testing, and received its certificate in December 2022, with the first batch of vehicles in line to perform extensive fleet trials in the coming months.
Protean Electric is a UK startup founded in 2008 that specializes in developing in-wheel electric motors. That same year, the firm fitted four of its first-generation motors in a 2009 Ford F-150, transforming it into a 448-horsepower zero-emissions pickup truck powered by a 40-kilowatt-hour battery.
The latest, fourth-generation motor that’s capable of outputting a maximum torque of 922 lb-ft (1,250 Nm) was revealed in 2015 and now it’s being used in the Dongfeng E70.
In 2019, Protean Electric was acquired by NEVS/Evergrande, and at the end of 2021, it changed hands again, this time going into the portfolio of BEDEO, a UK-based company that converts small commercial vehicles and passenger cars to all-electric powertrains.
During the E70 reveal event, Dongfeng Motor unveiled a second, more up-market vehicle that uses ProteanDrive Pd18 motors called Voyah Zhuiguang.
It’s also worth noting that this isn’t the world’s first EV that uses in-wheel electric motors. Both the Lordstown Endurance pickup and the upcoming Aptera solar EV have similar technology in use.
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