Powertrain specialist Mahle says it is developing an electric motor that has no rare earth magnets yet can achieve impressive efficiency. It claims that the central feature of the new motor is the inductive and thus contactless power transmission, which allows the motor to operate wear-free and efficiently at high speeds. The company states that efficiency is over 95% at almost all operating points. It also notes that the new offering is easily scalable, so it can be used in anything from subcompacts to commercial vehicles.
“With our new electric motor, we’re living up to our responsibility as a sustainably operating company,” says Michael Frick, CFO and chairman of the Mahle management board. “Dispensing with magnets and therefore the use of rare earth elements offers great potential not only from a geopolitical perspective but also with regard to the responsible use of nature and resources.”
Mahle says it used an iterative simulation process in which various motor designs are adjusted along different parameters until an optimum is found. It notes that this approach was significantly faster and cheaper than conventional processes.
“Our magnet-free motor can certainly be described as a breakthrough because it provides several advantages that have not yet been combined in a product of this type,” says Dr Martin Berger, vice president of corporate research and advanced engineering at Mahle. “As a result, we can offer our customers a product with outstanding efficiency at a comparatively low cost.”