At The Atlantic, we've covered the rare earth crisis in China from every conceivable angle (at the end of this story you'll find a selection of previous coverage). The problem: There's only so much Scandium, Yttrium, Gadolinium and all of those other metals that you've never heard of out there, but they are the building blocks of cutting-edge technologies that we've grown to rely on.
As prices for these elements continue to climb, Professor Nobukazu Hoshi at the Tokyo University of Science is hoping to do away with them altogether. Hoshi and his team have developed an electric car without any rare earth elements. "The current prototype (a re-modeled Mazda Roadster from 1999) is powered by a 400V/9.5kWh hybrid car motor," TechCrunch explained. "The lithium-battery consists of five modules that are sized at 215 x 335 x 210mm and weigh 20kg each. Professor Hoshi developed a so-called switched reluctance motor that boasts an output of 50kW."
A short video embedded below, which was shot by Diginfonews in Tokyo, features Hoshi explaining the technology behind the car's motor.
MORE ON RARE EARTH ELEMENTS:
- Damien Ma: Rare Earth Elements Read Their Head Again
- Alexis Madrigal: Chinese Rare Earth Embargo Spreads
- Damien Ma: The Never-Ending Rare Earth Saga
- Alexis Madrigal: Worried About China's Monopoly on Rare Elements?
- Daniel Indiviglio: Is OPEC's Oil Much Worse Than China's Rare Earth Metals?
- Constance Gustke: The Next Heavy Metal Crisis
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