This 17-Year-Old Designed a Motor That Could Potentially Transform the Electric Car Industry

Smithsonian Magazine
August 29, 2022
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Robert Sansone with his novel synchronous reluctance motor. Society for Science


Robert Sansone used 3D printing to design a motor that could pave the way for the sustainable manufacturing of electric vehicles that do not require the expensive, rare-earth magnets that most electric car motors require.

Robert Sansone is a natural born engineer. From animatronic hands to high-speed running boots and a go-kart that can reach speeds of more than 70 miles per hour, the Fort Pierce, Florida-based inventor estimates he’s completed at least 60 engineering projects in his spare time. And he’s only 17 years old.

A couple years ago, Sansone came across a video about the advantages and disadvantages of electric cars. The video explained that most electric car motors require magnets made from rare-earth elements, which can be costly, both financially and environmentally, to extract. The rare-earth materials needed can cost hundreds of dollars per kilogram. In comparison, copper is worth $7.83 per kilogram.

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Smithsonian Magazine
Smithsonian Magazine

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