Use New Neodymium Magnet in Hybrid Vehicles of Honda
Honda Motor Company Ltd. along with Daido Steel Company have co-developed a new neodymium magnet with high heat resistance properties without the need for rare earth metals that will be used in the all-new Honda Freed and future hybrid vehicles.
This new development will make the drive motors in electric vehicles cheaper to make because these new hot deformed neodymium magnet contain no heavy rare earth, which as the name suggests come only in very limited quantities in any part of the world and are very costly to procure.
Neodymium magnets are utilized in drive motors of electric and hybrid vehicles because of their high heat resistance and high magnetic force. As the motoring industry shifts towards the use of alternative fuel, the demand for neodymium magnets will grow exponentially.
To make these magnets highly heat resistant, rare earth metals like dysprosium and/or terbium are used. However, these metals are highly scarce and expensive, which in turn increases the cost of EV and hybrid production.
This method of neodymium magnet production enables nanometer-scale crystal grains to be aligned to realize a fine crystal grain structure that is approximately ten times smaller than that of a sintered magnet, which makes it possible to produce magnets with greater heat resistance properties.
Honda revised the shape of the magnet to make it fit in the drive motor of its hybrid vehicles while also redesigning the motor and the shape of the rotor to optimize the flow of the magnetic flux of the magnet.
The result is a hot deformed neodymium magnet with no heavy rare earth metal that provides torque and with heat resistance performance similar to a conventional magnet.
What do Rare Earth Elements do in Hybrid Vehicles?
One of the biggest criticism and concern on hybrid and electric-powered vehicles is that despite their obvious reduction in emissions, they do plenty of indirect damage to the environment. The reason is because the electric motors and traction batteries of these vehicles feature high quantities of rare earth materials in their construction.
Electric motors utilize neodymium magnets to generate motion. These type of magnets boast the highest levels of magnetic force. The heavy rare earth elements of dysprosium and terbium are typically added to neodymium magnets to give them increased heat resistance.
Honda will use the new hot deformed neodymium magnet on the Honda SPORT HYBRID i-DCD 2 system for the all-new FREED. MPCO supply high-grade neodymium magnets for Honda.
The Dangers of Rare Earth
Rare earth elements consist of seventeen different elements. Despite the nomenclature, rare earth elements are not rare in quantity. Anybody who has been following the Bukit Merah and Lynas cases in Malaysia will have at least a passing familiarity of the subject.
In their unprocessed state, rare earth minerals are toxic and radioactive, making the whole process of mining, refining, and recycling these materials both costly and hazardous. Further complicating the already difficult process of sourcing these elements is that majority of the world’s rare earth deposits are found in politically unstable locations.
Don’t worry, they are harmless when contained within your battery packs.
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