No more rare-earth metals in hybrid cars

August 23, 2016 | 09:40
No more rare-earth metals in hybrid cars
No more rare-earth metals in hybrid cars
During the manufacture of hybrid and electric cars, and then mostly in the electric motors, up to now frequent use has been made of rare-earth metals. Neodymium as a magnetic material is quite temperature sensitive. To improve on this characteristic, the very rare dysprosium and/or terbium is currently added, both very scarce and only available from China (neodymium is also mined in the US and Australia and is considerably less scarce).

In order to bypass this bottleneck, Daido Electronics has managed to make neodymium magnets using a hot deformation process that aligns the crystals at a nanometer scale. This process differs from the sintering process in that the crystals are about 10 times smaller, which results in a greater temperature resilience. Honda subsequently developed a motor that uses these new magnets, where the shape of the magnet (the rotor) is adapted to optimize the magnetic flux of the magnet.

From August 2016 Daido Electronics will begin mass-production of the new magnets. The Honda Freed, planned for this autumn, will be the first hybrid production vehicle that is fitted with these new magnets/motors.

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