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Electric Vehicle Pioneer Bob Purcell Named Chairman, CEO of Protean Holdings

Protean Moves Aggressively to Create New Industry Standard for Electric Drive Systems

Auto industry senior executive Bob Purcell has been named Chairman and CEO of Protean Holdings Corp., developer of advanced in-wheel electric drive systems. Purcell moves into this role after serving as a board director and strategic advisor to the company. Purcell is best known for his leadership at the General Motors Corporation with the GM EV-1, the world’s first modern electric vehicle.

“Over the many years that I have known Bob, I have always been very impressed by his intellect and entrepreneurial spirit,” said David E. Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research. “Bob brings the perfect blend of technical savvy and business acumen. I can’t think of a better person for this assignment.”

Purcell brings a long track record of electric drive experience to Protean Electric. From 1994 to 2002, he led the GM Advanced Technology Vehicles Group (GM ATV) that launched the GM EV-1. His group also developed and produced the S-10 Electric Truck and the GM Precept concept hybrid vehicle, part of President Clinton’s Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles program. Many of the technologies that were pioneered at GM ATV are still widely used today throughout the industry in electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles. Purcell also served as Chairman of the GM-Ovonic advanced battery joint venture.

“Protean Electric is among the world’s best positioned electric drive companies, having created a flexible and scalable in-wheel motor technology for the automotive industry,” said Bandel Carano, managing partner of Oak Investment Partners, the lead investor in Protean Electric. “The company has implemented several fundamental technology innovations, truly enabling in-wheel motor solutions which have generated strong customer interest – adding Bob Purcell to lead the team takes the company to the next level.”

As Protean Electric prepares for production, Purcell also announced part of his management team. Purcell will lead all companywide initiatives as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Protean Holdings Corporation. Craig Knight has been appointed President of Protean Americas and Executive Vice President of Global Business Development.

“Protean Electric has created a cost-effective, modular electric drive system designed for a wide range of vehicle applications,” said Purcell. “The company is now positioned to become a key supplier to the global automotive industry, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

After leaving General Motors in late 2008, Purcell has been a significant advisor in the clean technology and automotive sectors, with clients including MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a Berkshire Hathaway Company; and Delphi Automotive, a leading global automotive supplier. Prior to his advisory work, Purcell was Vice President of Global Planning, Sales and Strategic Alliances at the General Motors Powertrain Group, where he was responsible for business and technology planning for GM’s global engine and transmission operations. His group also managed Powertrain’s $2 billion annual direct component sales and $1 billion technology licensing activities.

“Protean Electric is moving aggressively from technology development and demonstration to volume production,” said Purcell. “My goal is for Protean to set the new industry standard for electric drive systems in partnership with industry-leading vehicle manufacturers and suppliers.”

About Protean Electric

Protean Electric is a leading clean technology company that designs, develops and manufactures the Protean Drive(TM), a fully integrated, in-wheel motor, direct-drive solution. Each motor has a built-in inverter, control electronics and software, delivering a practical way to electrify small- to full-size vehicles with no compromise in performance. Protean Electric 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. For more information, visit

About Oak Investment Partners

Oak Investment Partners is a multi-stage venture capital firm with over $9 billion in committed capital. Its primary investment focus is on high-growth opportunities in communications, information technology, clean energy, consumer internet/new media, financial services technology, healthcare services, and retail. Over the past 32 years, Oak has achieved a strong track record as a stage-independent investor funding more than 485 companies at key points in their lifecycle. Oak has been involved in company formation, funded spinouts of operating divisions and technology assets, and provided growth equity to mid- and latestage private businesses and to public companies through PIPE investments. Representative Oak clean energy investments include Aurora Algae, Boston-Power, eSolar, GreenVolts, Protean Electric, and SunDrop Fuels. For more information, visit

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Tue. July 23rd, 2024

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