The most important step in the development of new technology may be the prototype state, in which it is demonstrated that the concept works at all, but a close second is the adoption stage, in which large numbers of consumers begin to use the technology and many different companies compete to make the technology work better and more cheaply. If Honda can mass produce an affordable hybrid vehicle without rare materials, and make money doing so, other companies will follow. Everyone involved will be incentivized to innovate and manufacture the most economical vehicle that they can.
By Honda developing the first hybrid motor without heavy rare earth metals, we have taken a step forward. While this may not be the biggest step, or the best car, or the most efficient, they have provided ideas, data and a model for others (including Honda themselves) to use to keep on developing.
Each advancement in sustainable fuel technology is a milestone that will ultimately lead to less pollution and less dependence on fossil fuels. Honda has been a leader in making small, powerful, fuel-efficient engines for decades, and this breakthrough is another step in the right direction. Eventually gas-powered engines will be a small minority of engines.
The new motor doesn't use heavy rare earth metals like dysprosium and terbium, instead relying on magnets from Daido Steel that cost 10 percent less and weigh 8 percent lighter than the previous components. In fact, the automaker is the first to develop a hybrid motor that doesn't use the heavy metals. Honda says the new engines will reduce its reliance on the pricey rare earth metals that are primarily supplied by China.