GM Ventures, Niron Magnetics Pursue Affordable, Sustainable EV Motor Magnets

A Niron Magnetics employee takes quality measurements at the company's state-of-the-art facility in Minneapolis, MN in October 2023. (Photo by Sara Rubinstein for General Motors)

Citing the company’s “deep commitment” to an all-electric future, and to make that future a reality, GM officials announced it is focusing on developing a broad portfolio of electric vehicles as the company and Niron Magnetics pursue “affordable and sustainable” EV motor magnets.

EV motors are a key element of GM’s Ultium Platform – their magnets present a “great opportunity” to reduce cost and environmental impact compared to traditional magnet materials, while localizing the EV supply chin in North America, company officials said in a press release.

Niron Magnetics of Minneapolis has developed the world’s first and only permanent magnet with automotive-grade power that is entirely free from critical materials, including rare or heavy rare earth minerals. Niron’s proprietary Clean Earth Magnet technology is based on iron nitride, an abundant and affordable material with great potential for commercial use in future EVs.

“We believe Niron’s unique technology can play a key role in reducing rare earth minerals from EV motors and help us further scale our North American-based supply chain for EVs,” said Anirvan Coomer, president of GM Ventures. “Our path to an all-electric future will be enabled not only by our own research and development efforts, but also by investing in next generation technology from startups and established companies outside our four walls.”

GM and Niron have completed a strategic partnership agreement to co-develop Clean Earth Magnet motor technology that can be used in future GM EVs. GM Ventures has also made an investment in Niron, which will join the ranks of its 30-plus portfolio companies. The investment will support the scaling of Niron’s manufacturing and commercialization of their sustainable magnets. “GM invented rare earth permanent magnets nearly 40 years ago, and now we’re working together to bring the next generation of automotive magnet technology to market,” said Jonathan Rowntree, CEO of Niron Magnetics. “We think that our Clean Earth Magnets can help GM in its goal to put everyone in an EV.”