Honda hybrid motors soon won’t require rare-earth metals
Honda has co-developed the world’s first hybrid drive motor which uses no heavy rare earth metals in its manufacture, with the first production car due to launch this autumn.
It follows a joint project with Japanese company Daido Steel, which has sought to reduce the use of these materials in drive motors used in hybrid and electric models. Heavy rare earth metals suffer from fluctuating availability and pricing.
Neodymium magnets are popular for electrified vehicles because they have the highest magnetic force of any magnets in the world, and typically require heavy rare earth metals in their manufacture as a way to improve their heat resistance.
Daido’s manufacturing process uses a hot deformation process, which produces a finer structure in turn offering the same level of heat resistance as the conventional sintering process, but without requiring the same materials during production.
Honda said it will use the new magnets in the drive motors of the FREED, a Japanese-market model, from this autumn before rolling it out to other vehicles. Daido will begin mass production at a new line subsidised by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) later this year.