Copyright Harold Cunningham, Getty Images
94857523

Toyota Readies Cheaper Electric Motor by Halving Rare Earth Use

Feb. 20, 2018
The automaker has developed a magnet for the motors that as much as halves the use of a rare earth called neodymium and eliminates the use of others.

Toyota Motor Corp. is readying electric motors that include as much as 50% less in rare earths amid concern of a supply crunch as automakers race to expand their electric-vehicle lineups.

Asia’s biggest carmaker has developed a magnet for the motors that as much as halves the use of a rare earth called neodymium and eliminates the use of others called terbium and dysprosium, the company said at a briefing in Tokyo on Tuesday. In their place, Toyota will use the rare earths lanthanum and cerium, which cost 20 times less than neodymium. The carmaker plans to ask suppliers to manufacture the magnets.

Toyota sees demand for neodymium exceeding supply from 2025, by which time the carmaker intends to be offering an electrified version of every vehicle in its lineup. By 2030, Toyota aims to sell 5.5 million electrified vehicles -- including 1 million wholly battery- or hydrogen-powered cars -- accounting for half of its projected deliveries. Motors with the magnets can be used in any electrified powertrain, the company said.

Rare earths along with metals like lithium and cobalt are seeing soaring demand from a growing electric vehicle market, propelled mainly by increasingly stringent emissions restrictions worldwide. China, which is home to the world’s biggest auto market and the leader in electric vehicle sales, supplies more than 80% of rare earths globally. The potential for volatility in the market for the minerals was exposed last year when a clampdown on illegal Chinese miners caused neodymium prices to surge by almost a third in one month.

By Kevin Buckland and Nao Sano

Popular Sponsored Recommendations

How to Build Zero-Cost On-Site Solar and Storage Projects

Nov. 25, 2023
The Inflation Reduction Act offers tax credits, incentives, and financing that enable no-cost projects. In Enel’s eBook, discover the critical role that incentives play in your...

Powering Up Productivity: The Transformative Power of AP Automation in Manufacturing

Oct. 25, 2023
Discover how AP Automation is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry, driving efficiency, cost savings, and security. In today's world, automation is the key to staying competitive...

Digitally Transforming Data and Processes With Product Lifecycle Management

Oct. 29, 2023
Manufacturers face increasing challenges in product development as they strive to consistently deliver improved results. Discover how industry leaders are improving time-to-market...

Disruptive EV Technologies Are Driving New Supplier Realities

Sept. 20, 2023
Vehicle electrification is upending the automotive landscape, forcing suppliers to make critical strategic and operational decisions. Understand what that means for you in our...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!