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Toyota Looking to Develop Rare Earth-Free Electric Motors

Rare-earth minerals such as neodymium and dysprosium are used in motor magnets that power hybrids and electric cars.

Published: 17-Jan-2011

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest seller of hybrid autos, is developing an alternative motor for future hybrid and electric cars that doesn’t need rare-earth minerals at risk of supply disruptions.

Toyota engineers in Japan and the U.S. are working on a so- called induction motor that’s lighter and more efficient than the magnet-type motor now used in its Prius, said John Hanson, a company spokesman. Research is at an “advanced stage,” he said, without saying when vehicles with the motors may be sold.

“It’s a long-term approach,” said Hanson, who is based at Toyota’s U.S. unit in Torrance, California. “When you’re looking at a geopolitical issue like rare-earth supply, that can lead to developments that create very good solutions.”

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