Rare-Earth-Free Traction Motor

Baldor Electric Company
Rare-Earth-Free Traction Motor for Electric Vehicle Applications
Image of Baldor's technology
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$3,045,385
Location: 
Greenville, SC
Project Term: 
01/31/2012 to 12/31/2014
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Critical Need: 
Rare earths are naturally occurring minerals with unique magnetic properties that are used in electric vehicle (EV) motors and wind generators. Because these minerals are expensive and in limited supply, alternative technologies must be developed to replace rare-earth-based magnets in motors and generators. Alternatives to rare earths will contribute to the cost-effectiveness of EVs and wind generators, facilitating their widespread use and drastically reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
Baldor is developing a new type of traction motor with the potential to efficiently power future generations of EVs. Unlike today's large, bulky EV motors which use expensive, imported rare-earth-based magnets, Baldor's motor could be light, compact, contain no rare earth materials, and have the potential to deliver more torque at a substantially lower cost. Key innovations in this project include the use of a unique motor design, incorporation of an improved cooling system, and the development of advanced materials manufacturing techniques. These innovations could significantly reduce the cost of an electric motor.
Impact Summary: 
If successful, Baldor's redesigned EV motor could be a rare-earth-free alternative to traditional EV motors, producing comparable power at lower cost.
Security: 
The U.S. produces a small fraction globally of industrial rare earths. Developing alternatives to the use of rare earths has the potential to reduce our dependence on these materials and will have a positive impact on our national economic and energy security.
Environment: 
The transportation and electric power sectors account for nearly 75% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions each year. Better magnets would support the widespread use of EVs and wind power, significantly reducing these emissions.
Economy: 
The U.S. spends nearly $1 billion per day on petroleum. Improvements in magnet technology would enable a broader use of EVs, which would help insulate our economy from unexpected spikes in the price of oil.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Patrick McGrath
Project Contact: 
Mr. Rich Schiferl
Partners
ABB
Arnold Magnetic Technologies