Honda creates world's first hybrid car motor containing no heavy rare earth metals

By midian182 ยท 11 replies
Jul 13, 2016
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  1. Honda has developed the world’s first hybrid car motor that doesn’t use heavy rare earth metals. The automaker said the new motor will reduce the company’s dependency on the expensive materials that are mainly supplied by China.

    The motor was co-developed alongside Daido Steel Co. using the company’s magnets. These don’t contain dysprosium and terbium, making the motors 10 percent lighter and 8 percent cheaper to produce.

    More than 80 percent of 17 rare earth elements come from China, and are found in everything from smartphones to missiles. But the country’s decision to restrict exports in 2010 left some users frantically trying to get their hands on lanthanum, neodymium, cerium and other rare elements.

    Honda promised to reduce its use of heavy earth metals 10 years ago, but a price jump in 2011 prompted the partnership with Daido, the company said. "This technology will lower our costs and reduce our exposure to price fluctuations," a Honda official told reporters.

    The new motors will first appear in the compact Freed minivan. The vehicle is currently available in Asia, and this next version will be unveiled in the fall. While it does forgoe heavy rare earth elements, it still contains the light rare earth element neodymium, which is found in North America, Australia, and China.

    Both Nissan and Toyota have said that they are also looking to develop alternative motors for hybrid and electric cars that don’t require rare earth minerals.

    image credit: REUTERS/ISSEI KATO

    Permalink to story.

  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    The time it takes to make a difference on the market, there will be electrical cars everywhere. Not sure what relevance it will have then, if any.

    After all, 8% savings for engines production isn't groundbreaking.
  3. sridoodla

    sridoodla TS Rookie

    Actually, that's pretty good. You have to consider the economies of scale here. Let's say something costed 100$ and now costs 92$ saving 8%. That doesn't seem like much for one unit. But lets say you sell 10,000 units. That's 80,000$ in your pocket.
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,309   +1,404

    You don't understand the concept of scale very well, do you? The engine costs about 5k to make meaning an 8% saving is ~$400 a car. Numbers for honda hybrids sold are hard to find, but from what I've been able to find they sell about 80,000 a year in the US meaning that this move saves honda ~$32,000,000 a year in the US alone. hybrids are far more popular in the EU and Asia so that number is probably much larger
  5. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    80,000 is pocket money for a company like Honda, I might be inclined to say it's less than pocket money, it's like spare change. That is how much they can save by not employing a single engineer for R&D per year, or more.

    Don't get me wrong, I understand where you are going and it's even bigger scales, the thing is they are constantly working to improve margins just that the example you gave was thinking really small lol.

    Dude... 8% is HUGE, specially for one of the most expensive parts (Along with transmission) of the things they actually sell, remember that Honda motors also sell motorcycles, boats and other type of really expensive motors.
  6. Jamlad

    Jamlad TS Booster Posts: 113   +93

    Really, he underestimated the costs. 8% savings on a $1,000 part (hell, $2,000, or $4,000) is $800,000 (or $1.6M, or $3.2M). Economies of scale matter significantly.
  7. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    As a lot of people point out, an 8% decrease in any category is pretty good for any business.

    But what you're also ignoring is the 10% reduction in weight. That will have a positive impact across the entire design. Less weight means you can put on lighter/cheaper shocks, get better performance, usually increase safety (at least in this case), as well as overall efficiency.

    They just made it cheaper and lighter, without (presumably) sacrificing performance. They just became the company to beat when it comes to EV and Electric hybrid motors.
  8. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    That's the engine weight, translated to the car overall weight it becomes 2% at best.

    Also, all car manufacturers keep reducing the overall cost, but the difference never goes to the customer, they always keep it to themselves, for more profit. Car prices only go up, they never go down.
  9. Gaara

    Gaara TS Booster Posts: 103   +26

    I just bouts my 2016 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan Turbo edition 1.5
  10. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    More like 5%, and depending on the vehicle of course never the less, they play with a lot of stuff to make them weigh less, so even when that ~8% means an overall less than 1% for the whole car, engineers can do wonders with that, and it is true what he said about resistances, everything translates to improvement in costs.
  11. I think countries don't want to be dependent on China, especially other Asian countries (there is a lot of historical baggage there), and yes, 8% is a lot. These guys have meetings over whether or not a $0.01 increase in the cost of a part is viable
  12. Makson

    Makson TS Booster Posts: 115   +26

    Almost no saving of anything including the environment. Fossil- fuelled vehicles to deliver the raw material, power from fossil-fuelled generators to manufacture the vehicles, fossil- fuelled ships to transport the vehicles around the world, fossil- fuelled vehicles to deliver the vehicles to the retailers.
    Stop the world, return to cave-dwelling and walking, no gadgets or appliances whatsoever......cease filling the planet with throw-away JUNK.......every so-called 'environment-savers' including hybrid vehicles is a massive CON......just as bad as the lies relating to the global warming which is not happening.

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