Honda's new motor for hybrid cars is a very big deal

The motor is a technological and geopolitical step forward

Honda Motor has developed the world's first electric motor for hybrid cars that doesn't use heavy rare earth metals -- a major step forward in development of motors that are free from the political whims of the Chinese government.

Rare earth metals are important for the production of many high-tech devices, including smartphones and the magnets in motors. About 80 percent of the global supply of these metals comes from China, and in the past, the country has restricted access to some of them for political reasons.

In 2010, for example, it blocked exports to Japan for two months over a territorial dispute. That incident that prompted Japanese companies like Honda to start working to reduce their reliance on rare earth metals.

So the motor announced on Tuesday is a big deal, not just in terms of technology but of geopolitics, too.

1468288821826 Honda

A rotor for the Honda i-DCD drive motor that's made without the use of rare earth metals.

Traditionally, the neodymium magnets used in hybrid and electric car motors included one or both of the rare earth metals dysprosium and terbium. They were added to ensure very high heat resistance.

But Daido Steel, a Japanese steel maker, came up with an alternative production method that produces a magnet with even greater heat resistance properties without requiring the rare earth metals.

Honda worked with Daido Steel on perfecting the magnet and designed a new motor for use in hybrid vehicles. Daido Steel will begin mass production of the motor in August, and Honda plans to use it in the "Freed," a new minivan the company will launch in Japan later this year.

Honda said it plans to use the motor in new car models moving forward.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags automotive IT

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?