AutomotiveElectric Vehicles

Local Motors and Protean Electric extend partnership to power Olli EVs

Deal valued at $7.3 million

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Local Motors, a leader in the design, manufacturing, and deployment of autonomous vehicles, and Protean Electric, a specialist of in-wheel motor technology for passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and future transport solutions, have expanded their long-standing partnership, inking a further three-year deal valued at $7.3 million. Under this significant new order, Protean Electric will deliver thousands of its ProteanDrive in-wheel motors (IWMs) to power Local Motors’ largely 3D printed Olli 2.0 electric autonomous shuttles, accelerating the rollout of state-of-the-art vehicles around the world.

The Olli autonomous shuttle is in use today on campuses and city streets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Olli’s autonomy system ensures safe autonomous operation and delivers an unmatched rider experience, thanks in large part to the ProteanDrive in-wheel motors, which are lighter, smoother, and more energy-efficient than alternative solutions such as e-axles. The ProteanDrive in-wheel motors also allow Local Motors to maximize passenger space, vehicle range, and platform reliability while reaping the cost benefits delivered by this best-in-class electric wheel technology.

“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 optimise vehicle design to better address real-world use cases.”

Protean Electric extend partnership to power Olli EVs
The LFAM 3D printed Olli body is visible above the wheel motor.

This major new order for ProteanDrive in-wheel motors comes amid burgeoning market demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs); according to research from BloombergNEF, adoption of BEVs is set to grow from just three percent of global automotive sales in 2020 to 28 percent in 2030 and is expected to reach 58 percent by 20401. Protean Electric is primed to capitalize on this significant growth opportunity; the company has been developing and refining its IWM technology for the past 12 years and is meeting the market with a reliable, tested 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 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, the electrification of the automotive industry could drive a significant, positive impact in the battle against climate change2. 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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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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