The increased price and the limited supply of rare-earth materials have been recognized as a problem by the international clean energy community. Rare-earth permanent magnets are widely used in electrical motors in hybrid and pure electrical vehicles, which are prized for improving fuel efficiency and reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Such motors must have characteristics of high efficiency, compactness, and high torque density, as well as a wide range of operating speeds. So far, these demands have not been achieved without the use of rare-earth permanent magnets. Here, we show that a switched reluctance motor that is competitive with rare-earth permanent-magnet motors can be designed. The developed motor contains no rare-earth permanent magnets, but rather, employs high-silicon steel with low iron loss to improve efficiency. Experiments showed that the developed motor has competitive or better efficiency, torque density, compactness, and range of operating speeds compared with a standard rare-earth permanent-magnet motor. Our results demonstrate how a rare-earth-free motor could be developed to be competitive with rare-earth permanent-magnet motors, for use as a more affordable and sustainable alternative, not only in electric and hybrid vehicles, but also in the wide variety of industrial applications.
- Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV)
- switched reluctance motor (SRM)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering