MINNEAPOLIS—General Motors and Niron Magnetics have formed a strategic partnership to develop sustainable electric motor magnets.

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.

Engineers at Niron Magnetics have developed the world’s first and only permanent magnet with automotive-grade power that is entirely free from critical materials, including rare or heavy rare-earth minerals. Its technology is based on iron nitride, an abundant and affordable material with great potential for commercial use in future EVs.

“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,” says 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.”

“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,” adds Jonathan Rowntree, CEO of Niron Magnetics. “We think that our Clean Earth Magnets can help GM in its goal to put everyone in an EV.”