Hitachi Metals has verified in simulations that by optimizing the design of motors that use its high-performance ferrite magnet NMF 15 (hereinafter “ferrite magnet motors” earlier post), they are able to achieve the same level of output as traction motors for xEV that use neodymium magnets.
Ferrite magnet motors do not use neodymium, a rare earth element, or dysprosium or terbium, resources which are particularly limited in quantity. As such, they are expected to reduce resource risks and costs in addressing the growing demand for xEVs. Hitachi Metals now proposes high-performance ferrite magnets in addition to neodymium magnets for use in xEV traction motors.
In order to realize carbon neutral, decarbonized societies, xEVs are expected to account for an ever-increasing percentage of vehicle production going forward. This is expected to lead in turn to an increase in production of neodymium magnets used in traction motors and generators for xEVs.
Neodymium magnets use not only neodymium, which is classified as a light rare earth among rare earths, but also dysprosium and terbium, which are heavy rare earths which are particularly limited in quantity as resources. As such, there are concerns that resource risks will increase as demand grows.
In addition to focusing on improving the characteristics of neodymium magnets, which lead to smaller and lighter motors for xEVs, Hitachi Metals has also been reducing the amount of heavy rare earths used and improving recycling technology to enhance material flows (to reduce the purchase and use of rare earths).
Against this backdrop, the Global Research & Innovative Technology center (GRIT) at Hitachi Metals has been studying the application of ferrite magnets in traction motors for xEVs as a new approach to mitigate resource risks.
Hitachi Metals recently conducted a simulation to optimize the design of motors based on NMF 15 high-performance ferrite magnets. In terms of magnetic properties, these magnets deliver the world’s highest levels among ferrite magnets.
Hitachi Metals verified that by optimizing the mounting positions and size of the magnets, ferrite magnet motors can be made to achieve the same level of output as a motor using a neodymium magnet in two design examples:
30% increase in motor weight, with equivalent output level
Equivalent weight and output levels achieved by increasing rotation speed by 50%
The results of the simulation show that ferrite magnets can potentially be used in high output motors such as those used to traction xEVs. Spurred by these results, Hitachi Metals now proposes high-performance ferrite magnets as an option for various applications where neodymium magnets have been used in the past to help customers achieve objectives such as resource risk reduction and cost containment.
Hitachi Metals, Ltd. will change its trade name to Proterial, Ltd. on 4 January 2023.