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Tesla made a splash at its latest Investor Day event with an announcement that could cause a ripple effect across the whole electric vehicle (EV) industry. The automotive company revealed its plan to eliminate rare earth elements from its electric motors.
As with anything Tesla-related, there are plenty of people talking about the latest milestone in EV development on social media. A Reddit user posted a link to an InsideEVs article in the r/Futurology subreddit with the caption, “Tesla’s Next-Gen Electric Motors Will Get Rid Of Rare Earth Elements.”
The post has over 600 comments, with many excited and others very skeptical.
The innovative electric motor could be a big step for the entire EV market. Automakers want to steer away from rare earth elements because, as the name suggests, they are rare, which makes them expensive.
But it’s also because China controls much of the supply chain. China accounts for close to two-thirds of the mining and 85% of the refining of these materials, which makes prices unpredictable.
Common elements used in EV motors are Neodymium, Dysprosium, and Terbium. They may not have been popular elements when you learned about the periodic table back in chemistry class, but these days they are super popular since they’re used for magnets in DC permanent magnet motors.
If Tesla delivers on its promise to completely eliminate these elements, it would drive down costs, which would drive down the price of its vehicles. Considering Tesla recently slashed its prices, this would be a huge incentive for people to make the shift to an EV — especially considering the prices of EVs are expected to match the price of gas-powered cars in the very near future.
Although judging by commenters’ responses on the Reddit post, that is a big “if.”
Users were skeptical of Elon Musk’s promises, with one person writing, “First thing people should have learned from Musk is ‘don’t trust this guy’, so I’ll believe it when I see it.”
The post has a lot of comments, and “I’ll believe it when I see it” appeared multiple times in the thread. But as one user points out, “This sub is speculative. If this place was about tech that existed today, then it wouldn’t be … r/futurology.”
So, for now, we’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds.
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