A second life for EV motors

A second life for EV motors

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

Researchers in Germany are working on a project to reuse old motors from electric vehicles.

The REASSERT project includes researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA working on various concepts for repairing, remanufacturing and reusing electric motors as well as new designs for the circular economy.

Electric motors used contain valuable raw materials such as copper as well as rare earth metals such as neodymium, where China holds a quasi-monopoly, and which cannot be recovered with current recycling methods.

As a result the raw materials used have a bigger carbon footprint compared to a combustion engine. Because of this, it is crucial to extend the use phase of these motors. “Innovative value retention strategies offer significant potential for emission reduction in terms of sustainability,” says Julian Große Erdmann, scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Bayreuth.

As part of the project, researchers are collaborating with Schaeffler (consortium leader), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, BRIGHT Testing GmbH, iFAKT GmbH and Riebesam GmbH & Co. KG to develop innovative methods for remanufacturing electric motors and reusing them in vehicles. They focus on the value retention strategies of reuse, repair, remanufacture and raw material recycling. These are key elements for a circular economy, enabling the reduction of natural resource consumption and minimization of waste.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).

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