Motor of The Future Without Rare Earths

The group of rare earth metals (rare earths for short) includes 17 metals. Although large quantities of these metals are usually present, mining is only feasible if the ore in the ground has a sufficiently high content of rare earth metals. Consequently, today's known and developed deposits are limited to a handful of regions around the world.

China currently produces between 70 and 80 percent of all rare earths for the global market. This creates a strong dependency for all customers and poses the risk of trade barriers. As with other raw material chains, monitoring occupational health and safety and human rights due diligence is also challenging for rare earth metals.

In addition, the mining of rare earth metals involves processing enormous quantities of rock. The need to use toxic chemicals also risks contaminating soils and water. The above gives rise to three obligations to act for ZF.

ZF must ensure that the rare earths used in electric motors, for example, are produced ethically and ecologically.

It is equally important to promote recycling of these valuable materials.

The best way and thus ZF's goal is to dispense with rare earth metals in its own products, replacing them with new technical solutions.