Honda Motor Co. has announced that it will be introducing an electric motor that eliminates the use of key rare-earth metals, allowing the automaker to reduce costs and avoid material supply uncertainties.
In the announcement, Honda indicated that its motor includes the first high-performance hybrid vehicle magnet that is produced using hot deformation. By using the new approach, heat resistance can be attained for the magnets without requiring the use of rare-earth metals such as dysprosium and terbium.
Developed in conjunction with Japanese metal supplier Daido Steel Co., the motor will first be used in a hybrid version of the Freed, a subcompact minivan based on the Fit platform that Honda sells in Japan.
Car companies have been exploring ways to reduce and recycle rare-earth metals as a result of limited supplies and increasing costs.
According to market research firm Technavio Research, the global market for rare-earth metals is projected to top $9 billion by 2019. China is the leading producer of rare-earth metals, generating 90 percent of the global supply.