An LG Innotek employee showcases the world’s first rare-earth-free DCT motor.

New e-motor for DCT use has no rare-earth metals

LG Innotek on Aug. 28 announced it will begin production in early 2015 of an electric motor for use in automotive dual-clutch transmissions (DCT) that does not use rare-earth metals—a world-first for this application, the company claims. The motor also is 4% lighter than comparable motors that use precious metals such as neodymium and dysprosium—long considered essential in the manufacture of e-motors, such as those used in the hydraulic pumps of some DCTs, due to their magnetic properties. But the metals are environmentally controversial and are subject to commodity price fluctuations. LG Innotek developed its technology over more than two years, and has registered 13 related Korean and foreign patent applications for it. The auto industry has been studying alternatives to rare-earth metals in various applications. LG will build its new rare-earth-free motors at a factory in Mexico.

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