Recently, published news revealed that as tensions mount between China and the United States, automakers in the West are trying to reduce their reliance on a key driver of the electric vehicle revolution - permanent magnets, sometimes smaller than a pack of cards, that power electric engines.
Automakers in the West say they are concerned not just about securing supply, but also by huge price swings, and environmental damage in the supply chain. This means managing the risk that scrapping the metals could shorten the distance a vehicle can travel between charges. Without a solution to that, the range anxiety that has long hampered the industry would increase, so access to the metals may become a competitive edge. Rare earth magnets, mostly made of neodymium , are widely seen as the most efficient way to power electric vehicles (EVs). China controls 90% of their supply. (Information source: https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/china-frictions-steer-electric-automakers-away-rare-earth-magnets-2021-07-19/)
Rare Earth Magnet can be used in Automotive electric power steering system (EPS), new energy vehicle drive motors and some high-end micro motors, etc. In the automotive field, NdFeB is mainly uses electric power steering systems. Each EPS system requires 0.25kg of NdFeB. Compared with traditional cars, new energy vehicles need to consume 3-5kg more NdFeB due to the demand from motors and controls.
Rare Earth Magnet (also known as NdFeB, NIB or Neo magnet), the most widely used type of rare-earth magnet, is a permanent magnet made from an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron to form the Nd2Fe14B tetragonal crystalline structure. Developed in 1982 by General Motors and Sumitomo Special Metals, Rare Earth Magnets are the strongest type of permanent magnet commercially available.
NdFeB is the third generation of Magnet that takes more than 98% of world rare earth magnet demand. Rare Earth Magnet market can be categorized as sintered magnet, hot press magnet and bonded magnet in terms of manufacture process. Sintered magnet is the major type that takes 93.58% of world production in 2020. The volume of bonded magnet is 11.20 K MT in 2020, which takes 5.28% of world production.
The technical barriers of low end Neodymium Permanent Magnets are relatively low. The manufacturing bases mainly concentrated in China and Japan; some of the key players dominating this market are Hitachi Metals Group, Shin-Etsu, TDK, VAC, Beijing Zhong Ke San Huan Hi-Tech, Yunsheng Company, etc.. Actually, China dominates the whole rare earth industry globally. Countries outsides China have to depend on import to meet their demand.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, the raw material price of rare earth magnet increased dramatically. The market for Rare Earth Magnet is projected to grow from US$ 7929.99 million in 2020 to US$ 9118.52 million by 2021 end. With the improvement of application areas in EV and wind power, the increased consumption of Rare Earth Magnets are expected to continue during the remaining years of the forecast period. It is estimated that the market size will reach US$ 13674.26 million by the end of 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.31% during 2021-2027.
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