ZF showcases more sustainable magnet-free electric motor

The future of electric vehicles has become more environmentally friendly, according to ZF, which has produced an electric motor without rare earth metals that doesn’t compromise on performance.

During a media roundtable at the IAA Mobility trade show in Munich, Germany, ZF’s member of the board of management for the U.S., Martin Fischer noted the production of a magnet-free electric motor is a major breakthrough.

ZF stand at IAA Mobility
ZF debuted its magnet-free electric motor at the IAA Mobility Show. (Photo: James Menzies)

Removing magnets from the electric motor reduces the overall carbon footprint of electric motor production by 50%, Fischer said.

“We don’t have to mine rare earths in any country in the world,” Fischer said. “It’s a big step forward that’s going to help make e-mobility more sustainable.”

It’s also a big part of ZF’s commitment to be carbon-neutral by 2040. ZF is also looking to design electric motors that draw less current out of the battery to reduce required battery size and increase range.  

And as electric vehicles become common, ZF sees the potential to play a role in vehicle handling as well.

“We are the only supplier in the world with a completely comprehensive portfolio with braking, steering and suspension systems,” Fischer said. As an example, he said the company can provide a suspension system that becomes stiffer when the brakes are applied to prevent cab lean.

“The vehicle is not going to bend over, it’s going to be smooth,” he said.

They key is to get all the on-board sensors to communicate with each other and work in unison to improve handling.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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