The Saab successor company NEVS (National Electric Vehicle Sweden) is taking over the British wheel hub motor specialist Protean Electric. NEVS intends to use the ProteanDrive electric drive technology in future electric cars.
According to NEVS, the British developer of in-wheel motor technology, Protean Electric, will add a lot of intellectual property to the NEVS pool: Despite only being founded in 2008, Protean has over 160 patents globally across electric motor and power electronics design, control and manufacturability, with another 150 patents pending. Stefan Tilk, CEO of NEVS said that he is “..sure this acquisition will lead to many benefits for both NEVS and Protean Electric.”
On Protean Electric’s side, the company aims to benefit from exposure to additional markets and market segments, which Protean CEO KY Chan underlined: “This exciting new agreement will enable Protean Electric to fulfil its global potential, and to do so more rapidly.” While Protean will remain independent enough to develop their own powertrain and mobility solutions, they will formally be merged into Virtue Surge, a NEVS subsidiary.
While no mention was made of how much the acquisition will cost NEVS, the deal highlights the significant potential of Protean Electric’s in-wheel motors (IWMs) for EVs. The in-wheel motor market was estimated at a value of 322 million US dollars for 2018 and is expected to grow to a total of 2,641 million dollars by 2025. With Protean Electric as a power player and the improved industry access by the acquisition, the takeover seems to be a prudent step for NEVS and Evergrande Group. Particularly Protean’s adaptability regarding their technology is an attractive aspect for the company: “[The electric motor and power electronics] can be utilised on a range of platforms, including passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, urban mobility vehicles and autonomous pods.”
Protean Electric will continue to operate as an independent company under the umbrella of the Chinese real estate giant, Evergrande Health Industry Group, which became the main owner of NEVS at the beginning of this year. Evergrande hopes to become a major player in the electric vehicle industry: “Evergrande will strive to become the world’s biggest, and the strongest, electric vehicle group within three to five years,” company boss Hui Ka Yan just two months ago.
This year Evergrande-owned NEVS acquired 20 per cent of the shares in the Swedish sports car manufacturer Koenigsegg and a majority stake in Cenat New Energy, a Chinese automobile battery company. Last month, Evergrande announced that it intends to start production of its first electric vehicles in June, saying that they will use production technologies from Saab and Koenigsegg and aim to build production capacity for 500,000 to 1 million electric vehicles in three years.
With additional reporting by Carrie Hampel