Protean Electric


To develop an electric vehicle platform capable of supporting the durability testing of automotive electric wheel hub motors.  In order to meet timing, the vehicles had to be capable of running 16 hours per day through an arduous sequence of industry standard tests.


Dana developed a full series hybrid control system and electrical architecture based on a standard production GM light commercial vehicle.  The rear axle was modified to house the two hub motors under test.  The diesel engine was retained and used to drive a generator, which was attached to the crankshaft in place of the transmission.  All motive power is produced by the motors with the engine running the generator to maintain battery charge levels.  An OpenECU based control system was implemented to integrate the hub motors, battery, generator and vehicle controls.

 Results and Impact

Dana performed careful sizing calculations of the battery, generator and engine resulting in a vehicle that could complete the prescribed test sequence without ever needing to be plugged into a charging point.   These tests include prolonged high speed operation, hill circuits and drive away acceleration runs.  The vehicle runs 16 hours per day,  5 days per week.

The vehicle was been designed to provide a reliable test bed capable of being subjected to many miles of high speed and high power testing, city cycles, rough roads (including Belgian Pavé), sine waves and kerb strikes.

Project Features

Architectural design
Safety case
Battery and generator sizing and selection
Whole vehicle responsibility
350V high voltage system design
Dynamometer based integration testing and calibration
Track based acceptance testing
Twin OpenECU (vehicle system controller and axle controller) vehicle control system modelled in Simulink
Bespoke Android based driver display to keep the driver informed in a cost effective and unobtrusive way

About the Customer

Protean Electric is a leading clean technology company that designs, develops and manufactures Protean Drive™, a fully integrated in-wheel motor and drive solution. Protean Electric’s technology is strategically positioned to play a major role in the hybrid and electric vehicle market by offering a combination of packaging advantages, new vehicle design opportunities, performance benefits and cost savings.