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November 20, 2012

NEW NISSAN EV MOTOR CUTS RARE EARTH USE BY 40 PERCENT

  • Under the Nissan Green Program 2016, the company has committed to reduce use of rare earth elements across its car lineup to minimize depletion of natural resources
  • Nissan has developed a new electric motor magnet that cuts use of a rare earth element, dysprosium, by 40 percent
  • New electric motor to be applied in future vehicles, including the forthcoming updated Nissan LEAF EV, and future hybrid electric vehicles (HEV)

YOKOHAMA, Japan (November 20, 2012) - Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today announced that it has developed a new electric motor that will reduce the use of dysprosium (Dy), a rare earth element (REE), by 40 percent compared to conventional EV motors. The new, more environmentally-friendly motor will power an updated version of the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle that will be released in Japan today.

Using a neodymium-based (NdFeB) magnet, motors used in electric vehicles need to be compact in size with high performance. Dysprosium is added to neodymium magnet’s to strengthen heat resistance. In conventional electric motors, dysprosium is uniformly added to the neodymium magnet, but the new motor –- developed in a joint effort with Nissan's suppliers –- features a breakthrough grain boundary diffusion process. Instead of uniformly adding the dysprosium to the magnets, the new process distributes dysprosium around each crystal grain's boundary, which improves the magnet's heat resistance while maintaining high performance levels. The result of this process is a 40-percent reduction in dysprosium use while still keeping heat-resistance levels comparable with conventional electric motors.

Dysprosium is a very rare element and its occurrence is geographically limited. As the demand for electric vehicles and home appliances grows, so too will the demand for dysprosium. With a new wave of clean-energy products populating households worldwide, companies are beginning to consider more effective utilization and reduction in consumption of rare elements such as dysprosium.

Nissan recognizes the importance of reducing its need for scarce resources, and this new electric motor is only the first step in the process to limit the use of rare earth elements. The company plans to adopt the grain boundary diffusion process for its hybrid motors, with the goal to ultimately achieve zero usage of dysprosium in other components as well.

One of the priority objectives of the "Nissan Green Program 2016" mid-term environmental action plan is to minimize the use of natural resources. Nissan has been actively promoting decreased use of scarce resources. In addition to dysprosium, Nissan has aimed to reduce and optimize the usage of rare earth elements such as cerium (Ce) and lanthanum (La) that are found in catalytic exhaust gas components and in cast iron.

About Nissan
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 248,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4.8 million vehicles in 2011, generating revenue of 9.4 trillion yen ($118.95 billion U.S.). With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of 64 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero-emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades, including the prestigious 2011-2012 Car of the Year Japan and 2011 World Car of the Year awards.

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Blue Citizenship is the commitment of Nissan Motor Company to realize our vision of Enriching People's Lives. We commit to our customers, employees, shareholders and the communities where we do business to deliver engaging, valuable and sustainable mobility for all. Through our business activities, we aim to create economic value and to actively contribute towards the development of a sustainable society.

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