Toyota Motors is readying electric motors that use much as 50 per cent less in rare-earth metals amid concern of a supply crunch as automakers race to expand their electric vehicle (EV) line-ups.
Toyota has developed a magnet for their motor design that halves the use of the rare-earth metal neodymium and eliminates the use of terbium and dysprosium, replacing them with metals which cost 20 times less than neodymium.
Toyota believes that demand for neodymium will exceed supply from 2025.
Motors with the magnets can be used in any electrified powertrain, the company said.
Rare-earth metals, along with elements such as lithium and cobalt, are seeing soaring demand from a growing EV market, propelled mainly by increasingly stringent emissions restrictions worldwide.
China, which is home to the world’s biggest auto market and the leader in EV sales, supplies more than 80 percent of rare-earth metals globally.
The potential for volatility in the market for the minerals was exposed last year when a clampdown on illegal Chinese miners caused neodymium prices to surge by almost a third in one month.