Hybrid cars are designed to reduce emissions and consume less fuel when they’re on the road. What about when they’re being built? Many hybrid batteries and components must be created from heavy rare earth metals, some of which must be shipped in tankers across the globe. Honda, on the other hand, doesn’t rely on heavy rare earth metals.
Honda was able to create a breakthrough design thanks to Daido Steel. Neodymium is a soft, silver metal that was first discovered in 1885. It is found in the Earth’s crust and commonly used in headphones, computers, and, most importantly, hybrid cars. In the past, automakers had to mix terbium and dysprosium with neodymium to create powerful magnets, elements which are rare and expensive to mine.
Establishing a new partnership with Japanese steel company Daido Steel, Honda was able to create an electric motor that does not use rare metals. The new Honda design uses a hot-deformed neodymium magnet instead. Although that might sound like something out of a sci-fi flick, this magnet is incredibly heat resistant and highly magnetic—the perfect combination for a Honda hybrid. Basically, Honda changed the method in which the magnets are made, allowing them to get rid of hard-to-find metals like terbium and dysprosium. The only thing it uses is the plentiful neodymium.
This innovative and eco-friendly magnet will be put to use in the all-new Honda FREED. This smart new hybrid has a special SPORT HYBRID i-DCD, or “Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive,” that’s made to increase fuel economy and eliminate as many harmful emissions as possible.
Thanks to this new magnet, Honda can make hybrids more efficiently and reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. This also means that Honda will be able to offer hybrids at a lower price, because heavy rare earth metals can be very expensive. With affordable prices and a smaller carbon footprint, the next generation of Honda hybrid models is bound to be better than ever.