GM and Niron Magnetics have completed a strategic partnership agreement to co-develop clean earth magnet motor technology which can be used in future GM EVs.

GM Ventures has also made an investment in Niron which will join the ranks of its 30-plus portfolio companies. The investment will support the scaling of Niron’s manufacturing and commercialisation of their sustainable magnets.

“GM invented rare earth permanent magnets nearly 40 years ago, and now we’re working together to bring the next generation of automotive magnet technology to market,” said Jonathan Rowntree, CEO of Niron Magnetics.

GM said EV motors are a key element of its Ultium platform and magnets present a great opportunity to reduce cost and environmental impact compared to traditional magnet materials while localising the EV supply chain in North America.

The permanent magnets in EV motor rotors are typically made from rare earth minerals like terbium, dysprosium, praseodymium and neodymium which are expensive and currently processed almost entirely overseas.

Minneapolis based Niron has developed the claimed world’s first and only permanent magnet with automotive grade power entirely free from critical materials, including rare or heavy rare earth minerals. The proprietary clean earth magnet technology is based on iron nitride, an abundant and affordable material with great potential for commercial use in future EVs.

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“We believe Niron’s unique technology can play a key role in reducing rare earth minerals from EV motors and help us further scale our North American-based supply chain for EVs,” said Anirvan Coomer, president of GM Ventures.

“Our path to an all electric future will be enabled not only by our own research and development efforts but also by investing in next generation technology from startups and established companies outside our four walls.”