How India can break China’s electric motor monopoly, explains CEO, Chara

India's electric vehicle (EV) market is growing rapidly and the entire ecosystem is witnessing a shift towards cleaner transportation but there's a potential roadblock: rare-earth materials. These critical elements are essential for permanent magnets in EV motors, and here's the catch - China holds a dominant position in their supply. By exploring alternative motor technologies or finding ways to reduce reliance on rare earths, India can lessen its dependence on China and ensure a smoother ride on the clean energy highway.Rare earth elements are really important for electric vehicles because they help make the motors work better.

They have special magnetic properties that make the motors more efficient, powerful, and able to produce more torque. EVs use two important rare earth elements: Neodymium (Nd) and Dysprosium (Dy). Neodymium is especially important because it's used to make magnets called neodymium iron boron magnets, which are used in the motors.We recently spoke to Bhaktha Keshavachar, CEO & Co-founder of Chara, a tech startup dedicated to the development of rare-earth free motor systems, to understand how Chara is contributing to this space.

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Speaking on Chara's patented design for 'Intelligent Motor Systems' and how they are different from conventional motors, Keshavachar said "Our early estimates suggest a 1 GigaTon reduction in CO2 emissions and 1 GigaLiter of water consumption per year compared to traditional motors.

But the benefits go beyond that. Rare-earth material free motors achieve efficiency and performance on par with permanent magnet motors, which could potentially translate to a significant reduction in energy and overall cost for EVs."Developing application-specific motors requires a deep understanding of the unique needs of each vehicle segment. Two-wheelers, for example, demand compact and lightweight designs for maximum range.

Three-wheelers, on the other hand, require high torque to handle heavy cargo."Unlike traditional motors, we completely bypass the volatility associated with Rare-Earth elements. Our motors rely solely on nature-abundant materials like Steel, Aluminium, and Copper, which boast geographically diverse and readily available supply chains. To further strengthen our position, we have established partnerships with multiple vendors for these materials, ensuring a reliable flow." he explained how supply chain disruptions won't impact the manufacturing of these motors if a stock flow is maintained.Regarding Chara's international positioning, Keshavachar discusses the significance of their patented design in breaking the global monopoly of rare-earth materials in EV motors. "We have already begun receiving inquiries from companies in Europe and North America, indicating a growing international interest in solutions that address the environmental impact of rare-earth mining."In response to inquiries about environmental implications, Keshavachar highlighted the significant environmental toll associated with Rare-Earth mining. "For every ton of Rare-Earth produced, a staggering 2,000 tons of toxic waste are generated.

This includes dust, waste gas, wastewater, and radioactive residue. The mining process contaminates air, water, and soil due to the use of harsh chemicals and the presence of radioactive materials within the ore itself,""These figures paint a disturbing picture of the environmental toll associated with REE mining. The potential for water contamination from leaking leaching ponds and the long-term health risks posed by radioactive materials are particularly concerning." he added."To break China's electric motor monopoly, India must invest in deep tech R&D to look for materials that can be sourced in India itself to make functional and efficient motors, foster domestic manufacturing and invest in creating skilled labour along with supportive policies.

Given the current push for EV's in the country at this moment that allows companies like ours to foster it's safe to say we are on the right track" Keshavachar noted.