The future of road transport is electric - within the foreseeable future, pure electric vehicles (EVs) will populate our roads. Vital to the success of this transition is improved, next-generation motors based on improved magnetic materials; which provide high levels of flux at elevated temperatures, while retaining resistance to reverse magnetic fields and the corrosion problems associated with running electric motors in an automotive application. Currently, these magnets are based on the rare-earth elements neodymium and dysprosium, which are predominantly mined in China (>95%). Exports are being restricted as a result of an expanding domestic market and a policy of relocating magnet manufacturing to China, thereby multiplying the costs of raw materials for magnet manufacturers in Europe. The rare-earth crisis is particularly critical for heavy rare earths such as dysprosium that are currently required to assure the high-temperature performance of magnets.
MAG-DRIVE will research and develop novel microstructural-engineering strategies that will dramatically improve the properties of magnets based on light rare-earth elements, especially the coercivity, which will enable them to be used for EV applications above 100A°C. These magnets will also be designed-to-recycle, with an emphasis on reducing conventional rare-earth magnets’ need for easily oxidising grain boundaries. The project will integrate these magnets into motors that have increased efficiency, with a system developed by VALEO for integration into their next generation of pure EV motor.
The MAG-DRIVE project includes leading research groups from Slovenia, Serbia and the UK, together with SMEs from Slovenia and Germany and VALEO, and will deliver materials and systems with increased energy efficiency over a wide range of temperatures and operating conditions as well as reducing costs and dependency on imports for next-generation electric vehicles.