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G. David Felt
Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.CheersandGears.com

 

Electric Axles and the 4WD Ford F150 EV!

 

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Researching for conversion of my 1994 GMC SLE Suburban to electric made me think about 4WD as it is currently just a 2WD rig. As I started to search I found many options for taking certain electric motors and connecting them to the transmission and using what is there already on AWD/4WD auto's for moving the vehicle. I got to thinking much like Tesla, what about an Axle Electric motor solution and started to search to see what was out there and was very surprised to find many interesting home grown and some commercial options.

 

EV Axel BING Search

 

This led me to find a company in China called YIWO who does car to HD Truck electric axles for OEMs to custom conversions.

 

YIWO Alibaba web page

 

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This search then led me to the YIWO company home page also hosted by Alibaba where one can find an amazing variety of axles for use in traditional petro auto's to plug-in hybrids to pure EVs.
 
 
While doing this search I found that Alibaba has an amazing amount of EV parts on their Amazon like web site.
 
 
With this search I then came across an interesting write up from 2011 about in wheel motors allowing for a simple 4WD approach to auto's while not affecting the driving characteristics. This brought me to Protean Electric which was founded in 2009 in Troy Michigan. They now have an office in UK and an office with production in China.
 
 
Protean Electric took a totally different approach to EV auto's They started with adding the motors with regenerative braking at the wheel.
 
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This allowed them to then make 8 powerful mini motors working together to improve HP and Torque along with braking to have a far more efficient package.
 
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This design allowed them to take a 2009 Ford F150 Pickup and dump the existing powertrain, including driveline, heavy axle and create an 4WD Pickup without having to touch the existing handling characteristics by putting the battery pack in the exact center of the auto to keep the truck hauling and handling just like Ford Engineered it to be.
 
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As you can see the battery pack from the rear axle picture, the last picture posted above.
 
What about the interior you ask? Easy, Protean Electric changed out the dash for a digital display that they also make and added to the center console a 3 button shifter that covers Drive, Neutral and Reverse plus as you can see in the picture below, a big red kill switch button that probably could be incorporated better into the dash.
 
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So what about Horsepower and Torque? This is where is gets really exciting as this Ford F150 with the 4WD in Wheel motors produces the following:
 
2,300 lbs feet of combined torque from a dead stop
448 HP from the combined 4 motors
 
Now the great part is you can dial down the torque and HP so you can lengthen the life of the battery pack. According to P.E. they have stated that most implementations of this solution done at 578 pound feet of Peak torque, 355 pound feet of continuous torque and horsepower of 320 for the 4 motors combined which equals out to 80 HP per motor, 88.75 pound feet of continuous torque per motor with a peak torque of 144.5 per motor per the companies interview with pickuptrucks.com.
 
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Protean Electric has recently done for Mercedes-Benz a Brabus 4WD EV station wagon.
 
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Brabus 4WD powertrain.
 
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What this tends to impress on me is that the future for electric auto's is bright and as battery technology gets better and better, we are moving to a silent world of autos that will push you back into your seat and have you hanging on to an amazing gut thrilling ride.
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Protean Electric has a number of white papers covering conversions, hybrids, etc.  Some very interesting concepts and info.

 

Protean Electric White Papers

 

Their Myth and Realities paper is very insightful as well as many of their papers. Yes I realize this is also marketing as they are trying to get people to buy their products. I also see plenty of potential for converting older auto's, reducing weight and allowing for many new auto's to push the boundaries of what an auto can be.

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Wow, that's really awesome.

 

What kind of range could be expected with something like that F150? I assume it could be all over the place depending on how it is tuned at the moment. 

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Wow, that's really awesome.

 

What kind of range could be expected with something like that F150? I assume it could be all over the place depending on how it is tuned at the moment. 

Depending on the size of the battery pack and weight you want to add to the auto, from 100 miles to 400 miles. The newer Lio cells should really help out with the range.

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The more I think about this, the more excited I have gotten to the point I have reached out to Protean Electric to get more details as I can see my Suburban being converted to this and having a monstrous space between the 4 wheels for a large Lio battery pack that would give me a very large range I suspect.

 

Imagen converting your auto to become AWD from 2WD. Having a 4-500 mile range and being silent. :metal:

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Isn't this how the Lexus RX Hybrid works?

Yes, Lexus uses electric motors connected to the axel. I could not find the info on any US or Japan web site, but the Lexus of UK has a ton of great pictures and a detailed overview on how the Lexus Hybrid system works.

 

http://blog.lexus.co.uk/how-does-lexus-hybrid-drive-work/

 

Also found this on a dealers web site here.

 

http://mcgrathlexusdealers.com/lexus-hybrid-drive-how-does-it-work/

 

Pretty interesting to see the images from the UK site on the Lexus hybrid.

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