Honda together with Daido Steel developed first hybrid car motor

Honda together with Daido Steel developed first hybrid car motorJapan's Honda Motor Co has co-developed the world's first hybrid car motor without using heavy rare earth metals. This breakthrough would reduce its dependence on the expensive materials, which are controlled mainly by China.

China accounts for more than 80 percent of global production of the group of 17 rare earths used in everything from smartphones to electric cars to cruise missiles. The scarcity of rare-earth metals and uncertainty of China’s export policy are major concerns, Atsushi Hattori, deputy general manager at Daido’s specialty steel solutions department, told reporters Tuesday in Tokyo.

Hybrid vehicles, which combine a gasoline engine and electric motor for better mileage, have gone mainstream in many developed countries but procuring a steady supply of rare earth elements such as dysprosium and terbium has been a challenge.

Honda, Japan's third-largest automaker, said that its new motors used magnets developed by Daido Steel Co that do not contain dysprosium and terbium.

The redesigned motor still uses the light rare earth element neodymium, which can be found in North America and Australia, in addition to China.

This reduced the cost of producing the magnets, a key component in motors, by about 10 percent while making them nearly 8 percent lighter, Honda said.

The new motors will be used in the next Freed minivan, which is sold in Japan and other Asian markets, to be unveiled in the autumn.

Honda and Daido Steel said they’re the first companies to introduce magnets with the high heat resistance required for use in hybrid vehicles that also contain no heavy rare-earth minerals.
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