Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 8

8
* FEBRUARY 2024
MOTOR SKILLS
Enedym's magnets
don't depend on
rare-earth materials
- or China
By DAVID KENNEDY
T ORONTO BUREAU CHIEF
A CANADIAN STARTUP
is scaling up proprietary technology
for electric motors and
plans to put down manufacturing
roots in the Hamilton, Ont.,
area, leveraging the auto sector's
pursuit of lower-cost electric
vehicles and the government's
focus on reducing reliance
on China.
Motors might have been on
the back burner as automakers
and policymakers prioritized
setting
up a North
American supply
chain for
batteries, said
Ali Emadi,
president of
Enedym Inc.,
but they won't
stay there long.
" The beating
heart of
anything that
moves with
electricity -
whether it's
an electric car
or an electric
scooter - is the
motor. "
Harper: If
governments
are investing
in ZEVs and
batteries,
" you can't
forget about
the motor and
powertrain. "
FILE PHOTO
Enedym was spun out
of McMaster University in
Hamilton - where Emadi is a
mechanical-engineering professor
- in 2015.
The company is in the early
stages of executing ambitious
expansion plans as it works
to commercialize its new type
of switched reluctance motor
(SRMs), which has been a
decade in development.
Unlike conventional EV
motors that rely on rare-earth
magnets to generate mechanical
energy, Enedym's SRMs employ
electromagnets controlled by
complex software. Both types of
motors use electrical steel and
copper windings, Emadi said,
but by dropping costly permaEmadi:
Without rare-earth
magnets, Enedym's EV motors
could cost 30 to 50 per cent
less to produce. SUPPLIED PHOTO
SUPPLY CHAIN
SPOTLIGHT
nent magnets, Enedym's motors
can be built at scale for 30 to 50
per cent less, he said.
In the cost-sensitive auto
industry, the potential savings
have quickly attracted automaker
attention, Emadi said.
" They have to bring the cost
down for EVs if they want mass
production, " he said.
TESTING POTENTIAL
Enedym has been talking
with automakers and is shipping
motor prototypes for testing.
Emadi would not name specific
prospects, although automakers
such as General Motors
and Tesla have been working to
eliminate rare-earth metals from
their motors.
While SRMs aren't new,
early generations of the technology
were noisy and inefficient,
Emadi said. Over the past
decade, Enedym has ironed out
those issues, he said.
The company's electric
motors also have applications
beyond automotive.
Collaborative pilot projects set
to launch in the next 12 months
will put the SRMs through their
paces in wind turbines, airport
luggage tuggers and scooters.
Eliminating rare-earth metals
used in permanent magnets also
offers a supply-chain advantage,
as the Canadian and U.S. govTransformer
cores, which are used in electricity
distribution, are produced at the JFE Shoji Power
Canada plant in Burlington, Ont. At a new joint plant in
Hamilton with Enedym, transformers would be the main
product. SUPPLIED PHOTO
JFE Shoji Power Canada produces electrical steel at its plant in
Burlington. The company intends to expand to Hamilton with a
second location. SUPPLIED PHOTO
ernments aim to lessen reliance
on China suppliers.
As with many other key components
in the EV supply chain,
such as battery materials, most
rare-earth metals today come
from China, said Ron Harper,
president of JFE Shoji Power
Canada Inc.
The Canadian arm of the
Japan producer of electrical
steel, among other products, is
one of Enedym's strategic partners.
The two companies are
Enedym's switched reluctance motors use electromagnets
controlled by software, which could be built for 30 to 50 per cent
less that current motors that use rare-earth magnets.
SUPPLIED PHOTO
working on a new Hamilton
plant that would carve out manufacturing
space for both businesses.
" Governments
have thrown
a lot of money at zero-emission-vehicle
manufacturing, "
said Harper, who is also a member
of Enedym's board. " They've
thrown a lot of money at battery
technology, but our view is it's a
three-legged stool. You can't forget
about the motor and powertrain
when you do this conversion. "
PITCH
FOR GOVERNMENT HELP
Planning for the JFE-Enedym
plant remains in the relatively
early stages, but the companies
have met numerous times with
the federal and provincial governments
to discuss financial
support.
Upfront costs would run into
the hundreds of millions of
dollars, Harper said. JFE and
Enedym are looking for government
backing similar to recent
spending on other parts of the
EV supply chain - typically
about 20 per cent to 25 per cent
of capital costs.
Along with Enedym's motors,
which would use JFE's electrical
steel produced on-site, the
new plant would produce transformer
cores, used in electricity
distribution, fulfilling another
industrial requirement, as
increased EV adoption spurs
investment in the electrical grid.
Harper estimates initial output
at the plant would be about
80 per cent transformer products
and 20 per cent motors, but he
expects that motor volume will
pick up to at least a third of the
plant's capacity as the EV market
evolves.
Enedym is intent on being
close to McMaster University.
The location, near auto assembly
and parts plants in both
Canada and the United States,
would overlap with JFE's current
location in Burlington,
about 20 kilometres east, which
makes transformer cores and
electrical steel. The company
employs about 500 people there
and the location would continue
to operate once the new plant is
up and running.
If all goes well, Harper
said, JFE Canada would double
its head count with the new
Hamilton-area plant, while
Enedym would also double its
current employee count of
about 30.
With talks progressing with
government, particularly at the
provincial level, the companies
expect a clearer picture on the
state of support for the project
by spring, Harper said.
Leah Mulholland, a spokesperson
for the Ontario Ministry
of Economic Development, Job
Creation and Trade, said the
province would not discuss " economic
prospects " but said it continues
" to seek out opportunities
to promote job growth and
ensure Ontario remains a competitive
jurisdiction to invest
and grow. " - ANC

Automotive News Canada - February 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - February 2024

Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - CT1
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - CT2
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 1
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 2
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 3
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 4
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 5
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 6
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 7
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 8
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 9
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 10
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 11
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 12
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 13
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 14
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 15
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 16
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 17
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 18
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 19
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 20
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 21
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 22
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 23
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 24
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 25
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 26
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