According to Nikkei Asia, to create electric car motors that require fewer rare earth metals imported from China, Hitachi Metals is collaborating with manufacturers to develop a line of ferrite-based magnets. The aim is to replace Neodymium magnets to lessen reliance on China’s supply of rare earth. Hitachi Metals will submit a patent application and enhance the ferrite magnets’ supply. 

To enhance motor rotation speed and attain the same maximum output as Neodymium magnets, Hitachi Metals revealed that they have created a method for positioning and populating ferrite magnets in electric vehicle motors. As a result, the cost of each magnet will be one-fifth to one-tenth that of a neodymium magnet per unit weight, while the weight and size of the motor will not change.

BusinessWire said that Neodymium magnets are increasingly used in various industries, including consumer electronics, automotive, and healthcare. It will fuel market expansion in the following years. Cell phones have become the new essentials due to the COVID pandemic, which will increase demand for neodymium magnets in the semiconductor sector.

According to statistics, China supplies 90% of the world’s neodymium demand. However, Hitachi Metals will add alternate items to its inventory if a stable supply of neodymium magnets cannot be maintained due to supply chain disruptions due to China’s “zero-COVID” policy and the Ukraine war. 

Grand View Research said the global neodymium market size was valued at $2.07 billion in 2021, and they expect it to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.0% from 2022 to 2030.

Hitachi Metals’ financial report for the first nine months of 2022 shows the company’s revenues increased by 24.6% yearly to $4.1 billion.

Since 2006, China has made moves to prioritize its industry in the supply of rare earth metals. In 2010, the country restricted supply to Japan after a collision occurred between a Chinese fishing boat and a Japan Coast Guard patrol boat off the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which China claims and calls Diaoyu.

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