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The future for electric car startup tech is in China

Money from Chinese investors, conglomerates, cities and the government, continues to drive a significant amount of the future of next-generation technology for electric cars. On Tuesday a company called Protean Electric, which makes an electric vehicle drive system, announced that it has raised a whopping $84 million round from GSR Ventures, a VC firm based in Beijing and Silicon Valley, New Times Group, a Liyang, China-based industrial group, and the city of Liyang. The funds will go toward building a factory for Protean Electric’s drive systems in Liyang.

China is already the world’s largest auto market, so it’s not that surprising that it would lead on electric vehicle technology development, too. As the Financial Times once put it: “The Middle Kingdom is increasingly claiming its place as the centre of gravity of the automotive world.”. . . “This is a 30m market by 2020 – it will be the dominant market in the world.”

Protean’s technology is an electric motor that is housed within a vehicle’s wheel and can be used for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars. Protean says the motor system reduces complexity, adds torque and increases power.

Chinese investors, and city governments, have been very aggressive when it comes to offering auto technology and battery companies incentives, and easy access to capital, if they manufacture in China. Particularly startups that haven’t been able to raise funds from investors or the government in the U.S., are eager to make these deals. Here’s examples of some of these:


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