UQM Technologies Patents Permanent Magnet, Non-Rare Earth Electric Motor


UQM Technologies at work

UQM Technologies at work

UQM Non-Rare Earth Magnet Electric Motor

UQM Non-Rare Earth Magnet Electric Motor

UQM Technologies was granted a U.S. patent for a new permanent-magnet electric motor design that uses non-rare earth magnets.

According to the company, performance of the new motor is similar to current motors with rare earth magnets.

“This new design provides a similar level of performance to UQM’s current design, and once the development is completed will allow UQM the flexibility to choose between these systems depending on projected magnet costs into the future.

United States Patent Number 8,928,198 was issued and assigned to UQM Technologies on January 6, 2015. The patent covers the unique magnet geometry and the method of manufacturing the motor.”

Eric R. Ridenour, President and Chief Executive Officer of UQM Technologies, Inc. stated:

“The patented technology that we’ve developed provides a viable option to existing rare-earth motor technology, limiting exposure for us and our customers to the price and political volatilities of rare-earth magnets. We are now in the prototype stage and the first samples are meeting our objectives, providing us with the validation to move into the next phase of development.”

UQM got a $4 million Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research and Development Grant for this project.

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19 responses to "UQM Technologies Patents Permanent Magnet, Non-Rare Earth Electric Motor"
  1. DNAinaGoodWay says:

    Ah, progress! May it only get better from here.

  2. Priusmaniac says:

    That is great but if they still ask more then 10000 $ when you ask them a motor it is not going to help you in making an ev. At least that was the case in 2000 perhaps it is better now.

  3. Warren says:

    Since they got hosed by CODA, they may be more receptive now.

  4. Lensman says:

    1. A patent does not indicate commercially viable technology. Many or perhaps even most patents are never used in a successfully marketed product. So, the fact that some company took out a patent doesn’t necessarily mean that you can make an electric motor suitable for use in a commercially produced EV using that type of magnet. Let them demonstrate a working prototype highway-capable plug-in EV which uses that tech, before we get excited about it.

    2. Some auto makers, including Tesla Motors, have already eliminated the use of rare earths in making their electric motors, by using electro-magnetic fields in place of permanent magnets.

    1. David Murray says:


    2. zoe-driver says:

      Renault ZOE doesnt use magnets either. Its designed for mass production. More that 20.000 ZOEs in Europe is just the beginning.

  5. ffbj says:

    Cool! Rare earths are expensive and mining them is harmful to the environment.

    1. Ahldor says:

      Actually it is no worse than any other mining. It’s just that you have to dig up alot of dirt before you get a resonable amount of rare earths. If you do it right (not the 19th century way) with the latest technology it can be as “environmentally friendly” as any other type of mining.

  6. Martin T. says:

    Excellent news,
    Now can they make a light weight in wheel motor ?


  7. What’s wrong with an AC induction motor? No permanent magnets at all.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Slightly less efficient and has slightly less torque comparing to similar sized PM motors, especially at low speed/low end torque operating range.

  8. Ryan says:

    The little UQM motor is tiny in size compared to the typical induction motor. You can get a UQM here and see the specs: http://store.evtv.me/products.php?cat=11

  9. ClarksonCote says:

    One of the motors in the Gen 2 Volt also has no rare earths, right?

    I don’t know much about how easy it is to accomplish this, I’ll have to read up on it more sometime.

  10. jerryd says:

    Volt has less RE’s in the next one.
    Mining RE’s is very polluting especially how most are being mined.
    Since having a controllable field gives 3x’s the torque for the same power, lighter.
    Not using RE mean it will have to use far larger PM’s/hp.

  11. Lou Grinzo says:

    Progress on motors, electronics, regen braking, etc. are all welcome advancements, of course, but they’re pocket change compared to The Big One: Much cheaper batteries. That’s the single game changer that will dramatically tilt the competitive landscape toward PHEVs and EVs and away from ICE and especially HFCVs.

    Yes, yes, I know — the knee in the battery price/performance curve is coming, and it will be here very soon, by any reasonable measure. Not that acknowledging that fact grants any of us more patience.

    So, for now we can take satisfaction in seeing technological advancements like the one described in this post, the continued roll out of superchargers, and all the other signs that the electrification of transportation is well underway.

  12. Djoni says:

    Didn’t permanent magnet lose some strengh with age?
    If so by what rate?

    1. jelloslug says:

      They can but only if you create a magnetic field with the wound part of the motor that is greater than the magnetic field that was required to magnetize the magnets to begin with. When I used to design permanent magnet motors some of the higher voltage motors would damage themselves by just turning them on if you did not use a “soft start” motor controller.

  13. Fabian says:

    “The term “rare earth” can be misleading as these metals are not particularly rare or precious;[1][2] they are about as abundant as tin or lead.”