Bentley aims to build recyclable electric motors for EVs

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Bentley Motors has announced a three-year research study that aims to revolutionize the sustainability of electric motors. Supporting Bentley’s commitment to offer only hybrid or electric vehicles by 2026, the result could see recycled rare-earth magnets used in selected ancillary motors for the very first time.

The study, titled RaRE (Rare-earth Recycling for E-machines), intends to build on work completed at the University of Birmingham in devising a method of extracting magnets from waste electronics. Furthermore, the project will scale up this process and repurpose the extracted magnetic material into new recyclable magnets for use within bespoke ancillary motors. Hypromag will scale up the recycling processes developed at the University of Birmingham and convert the extracted powders to sintered magnets with properties designed around those required for the auxiliary motors.

Bentley’s RaREmagnet project will help make EV production more sustainable

Nick Mann, Operations General Manager at Hypromag, added: “RaRE is an exciting project and a fantastic opportunity to prove the importance and potential of short loop recycled magnetic material. HyProMag’s recycling technologies allow us to produce NdFeB magnets with a much lower embedded carbon cost than using virgin supply and with independence from Chinese supply

Adding to the sustainability benefits that RaRE will provide, the bespoke motors created through this method promise to minimize complexity through manufacture while supporting the development of the UK supply chain for both mass production and low volume components.

Commenting on Bentley’s research ambitions, Dr. Matthias Rabe, member of the board for engineering, Bentley Motors, said:

“As we accelerate our journey to electrification, offering only hybrid or electric vehicles by 2026, and full electric by 2030, it is important that we focus on every aspect of vehicle sustainability, including sustainable methods of sourcing materials and components.

“RaRE promises a step-change in electrical recyclability, providing a source of truly bespoke, low voltage motors for a number of different applications and we are confident the results will provide a basis for fully sustainable electric drives.”

This study will run in parallel to Bentley’s OCTOPUS research program which aims to deliver a breakthrough in e-axle electric powertrains, utilizing a fully integrated, free from rare-earth magnet e-axle that supports electric vehicle architectures.

As with OCTOPUS, RaRE is an OZEV funded project delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.

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