Daido Steel and Honda Motor have collaborated to developed a process that eliminates the use of rare-earth elements such as terbium or dysprosium. The first vehicle to feature this process will be the all-new Honda Freed, which is scheduled to go on sale in Japan later this year.
The new process uses what’s called the ‘hot deformation method’ to eliminate the need for the heavier metals and likely reduce hybrid-engine costs. Honda’s new hybrid motors use a lighter rare-earth material called neodymium magnet.
Honda has designed a new motor which accommodates 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. As a result, the hot deformed neodymium magnet that contains absolutely no heavy rare earth became usable for the drive motor of a hybrid vehicle, demonstrating torque, output and heat resistance performance equivalent to those of a motor that uses the conventional type of magnet.
Honda estimates that the new process cuts the cost of making the motors’ magnets by about 10% while reducing their weight by about 8% percent. Neodymium magnets have the highest magnetic force among all magnets in the world and is found in Australia and North America, as well as China.