A team of engineers from Newcastle University have been awarded a £518,000 grant to develop an innovative now motor for electric vehicles.
The University will now work in partnership with Sevcon and Cummins Generator Technologies, to create a motor that does not use rare earth metals, such as Neodymium and Dysprosium.
While the success of their application has facilitated the development of electric vehicles, it is also raising worldwide concern about the supply and environmental impact of mining these minerals.
The team now hope to replace these metals with steel, which is much cheaper, more widely available and less damaging to the environment.
James Widmer of Newcastle University’s Centre for Advanced Electrical drive explained: “The pressure on supplies of rare-earth metals coupled with rising demand for this technology means the pressure is on to find an alternative.
“If we are to pursue electric and hybrid vehicles as a truly greener option then we need to look not only at the fuel but also the materials we are using to develop the various components.”
The market for electric cars and commercial vehicles is expected to grown over the next decade from less than 2 million EV’s sold in 2010 to an estimated 49 million by 2020. It is hoped that this new product will be ready within the next yeats to help propel the low carbon industry forward.
James added: “Newcastle University, Sevcon and Cummins are in an excellent position to deliver this world class technology.
“Between us we are leaders in the development of new electric motor technologies, the supply of the electronics which drive the new electric vehicles and the manufacture of engines for many of the world’s commercial vehicles.”