Future Honda Hybrids Will Use Less Rare Earth Metals
Industry News
Honda is in the process of developing a new hybrid/electric motor that discards the need for using rare heavy metals which are crucial materials used in the production process. Honda has been seeking ways to reduce the need to rely on heavy rare earth elements which are commonly used in hybrid powertrains. Dysprosium and terbium are two of these heavy rare earth elements and have a range of uses, such as control rods in nuclear reactors. Both of these elements have high thermal absorption and high magnetic susceptibility which in basic simple terms means the materials are highly magnetic and heat resistant. Hybrid powertrain’s use an electric motor to assist the combustion engine. Magnets are used to improve the efficiency and performance of the hybrid powerplant. Honda’s new approach will negate the use of dysprosium and terbium and use conventional metals processed using a new manufacturing technique for the production of highly magnetised and heat absorbent magnets. Rare heavy metals like Dysprosium are not naturally occurring and to get it into a solid state it needs to be separated from other rare earth metals. Demand for rare earth metals like Dysprosium is growing. The metal is sourced in limited locations, China is the key supplier with as much as 90 percent of the world’s supply. The rare earth metals market is expected to exceed $9 billion dollars by 2019. The rarity of such metals comes to the advantage of the market but not to the advantage of the end consumer. With excess demand for rare earth metals inevitably this will cause Honda’s production of Hybrid cars to rise, and this is why Honda has been is searching for alternative solution’s. There is also a political equation to take into account. China and Japan have always had difficult relations and the Japanese want to end a reliance on China controlling the economic barriers. Honda’s new hybrid motor will still rely on a concoction of rare earth metals. The two key elements, dysprosium and terbium, are sourced from China while other rare earth metals are sourced from elsewhere around the globe.  Honda-Rare-Earth-Metals
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