IDTechEx: despite efforts to reduces rare-earth use, percentage of permanent magnet-based EV motors rising
04 November 2020
While there has been much publicity and technical development towards rare-earth reduction in vehicle motors, in practice the market is seeing an increase in the number of permanent magnet motors. The new IDTechEx report “Materials for Electric Vehicles 2020-2030” finds that in recent years, there has been an increased shift towards more permanent magnet-based motors: 2019 saw this increase to 82% compared to 79% in 2015.
Permanent magnet motors typically have better efficiency during normal driving conditions than their alternatives, this in turn can result in improved driving range. For this reason, says IDTechEx, Tesla has transitioned from using copper induction motors in the Model S and X to using a permanent magnet motor in the Model 3 and Y (although dual motor variants use an ACIM on the front for a performance boost).
Additionally, the Chinese electric vehicle market is the largest in the world and due to their control of the rare-earth supply, most Chinese vehicle models utilize permanent magnet motors.
Permanent magnets are typically made with rare-earth materials such as neodymium and dysprosium, which have a very geographically constrained supply chain. China accounts for the vast majority of rare-earth production worldwide and this has, in the past, led to huge price volatility. In 2011, after China restricted its exports of rare-earths, the price of neodymium and dysprosium rose by approximately 750% and 2000% respectively.
While these prices have settled, rare-earths also present environmental concerns. The ores that rare-earths are extracted from are often laced with radioactive materials such as thorium. Separating the materials requires huge amounts of carcinogenic compounds like sulfate, ammonia and hydrochloric acid. Processing 1 tonne of rare-earths can produce up to 2000 tonnes of toxic waste.
Some OEMs have reduced magnetic material in total and OEMs such as Nissan and Honda have reduced or eliminated the heavy rare-earth components such as dysprosium. However, despite the potential reduction per vehicle of materials such as neodymium, the overall increase in the global EV market will lead to an overall increase in the demand for rare-earth materials.
Powerful magnetic properties of Graphene.
Do R&D have a one-track mind? How else is it to explain that they cling to old established routes and are weary to tread on new paths?
Graphene, an allotrope of carbon, is a light material with all kinds of amazing properties; a pseudo-magnetic effect is one amongst many others. Carbon is cheap and easily accessible. Why resort to expensive rare earths that are extremely expensive and difficult to access?
Posted by: yoatmon | 04 November 2020 at 02:38 AM
Clearly because none of the people in the field are as intelligent as you.
In your opinion.
Of course, the alternative is that they take into account many factors which you are not even aware of.
Posted by: Davemart | 04 November 2020 at 04:26 AM
You remind me of my father. He was hell-bent that I receive a good education which he never had. After I had received my degree I was working together with him on a certain job. Attempting to improve the working process which was obviously more efficient and better he refused to co-operate. After a heated argument of why he was so insistent on doing it his way, his answer was, "that's the way I've always done it and that is the way it's going to be done". I said to him, "OK, but then you can do it yourself. Why did you insist that I receive a good education when you're not willing to accept any advice from me? WTH did I bother to get educated when my own father is unwilling to accept anything that I suggest".
You're not my father but you're just as belligerent as he was. BTW, he changed his mind.
Posted by: yoatmon | 04 November 2020 at 09:22 AM
You two really can not stay on topic, quit whining about your father.
Posted by: SJC_1 | 06 November 2020 at 12:30 AM