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Honda begins production of motor free of heavy rare earth elements; debuting in the Freed next month

The Nikkei reports that Honda’s Suzuka factory has begun production of hybrid motors for smaller cars. Honda developed with Daido Steel a magnet that does not require heavy rare-earth elements. (Earlier post.) Honda will mass-produce the motors, which will debut in the redesigned Freed minivan next month, helping to ensure stable output of vehicles.

Honda is applying the hot deformed neodymium magnet with absolutely no heavy rare earth elements to the Honda Sport Hybrid i-DCD (Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive) system. Honda will continue expanding application of this technology to new models in the future.

Hot deformation enables nanometer-scale crystal grains to be well-aligned in order to realize a fine crystal grain structure that is approximately ten times smaller than that of a sintered magnet, making it possible to produce magnets with greater heat resistance properties.

Daido Steel and Honda jointly developed new neodymium magnets while Daido Steel further evolved its hot deformation technologies and Honda leveraged its experience in development of drive motors and revised the shape of the magnet. Through these joint development efforts, the two companies achieved, for the first time, a practical application of a neodymium magnet which contains absolutely no heavy rare earth yet has high heat resistance and high magnetic performance suitable for use in the drive motor of hybrid vehicles.

Honda also designed a new motor to accommodate this new magnet. In addition to the shape of the magnet, Honda revised the shape of the rotor to optimize the flow of the magnetic flux of the magnet.

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