LG Innotek has developed the first “rare-earth-free” automotive dual-clutch transmission (DCT) motor. Rare earth elements are usually used in materials for in automotive motors, but there are only small and concentrated reserves worldwide of the rare earth minerals. As such, they are subject to sharp price increases when supplies dwindle. LG Innotek said that in addition to avoiding this problem, the new motor also reflects efforts to protect the environment since the mining, refining and disposal of rare earth minerals can cause environmental damage.
The new DCT motor will start being produced at LG Innotek’s automotive components plant in Mexico from early next year. The company is committed to actively drive market expansion of the DCT motor as the demand increases due to its improvement on driving performance and fuel efficiency.
|LG Innotek rare-earth-free DCT motor. Click to enlarge.|
A dual-clutch automatic transmission can up to 12% better fuel efficiency than regular automatic transmissions and 5% better fuel efficiency than manual transmissions.
The DCT motor is a core driving system component that is attached to a dual-clutch automatic transmission. This motor powers the dual-clutch automatic transmission in a fast and precise manner to enable the switching of gears swiftly and smoothly to adjust to different driving conditions.
LG Innotek has developed its own technology in motor structure design and succeeded in creating the rare-earth-free DCT motor that meets required performance standards, while being 4% lighter despite being similar in size to conventional DCT motors.
The company spent more than two years in developing the technology and registered 13 related Korean and foreign patent applications.
LG Innotek believes the rare-earth-free DCT motor will be popular among customers because it meets performance, size and weight requirements while guaranteeing a stable supply.