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A High School Student Invents a Greener Motor for EVs

0 shares Share 0 Tweet 0 Pin 0 Share 0 Robert Sansone, a 17-year-old high school student, won first prize at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). He got $75,000 for inventing a magnet-free synchronous reluctance… Read More

Robert Sansone, a 17-year-old high school student, won first prize at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). He got $75,000 for inventing a magnet-free synchronous reluctance motor. 

According to Treehugger, Sansone got interested in electric vehicles a little over a year ago. He noticed that rare earth materials are used in EV motors, which are bad for the environment. These materials are often found next to radioactive materials, such as uranium, and their mining is expensive and polluting. 

Sansone came across claims that synchronous reluctance motors could be the solution. But the problem with these motors is that they aren’t powerful enough.

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“Permanent magnet motors are some of the most powerful electric motors ever made," he says. "The motor in a Tesla can reach 18,000 rpm. With the resources available to me, I was building with 3D-printed components that just can’t be tested under those types of conditions without melting. I am, however, working on the next version to compare it more directly to a permanent magnet design.”

Sansone is already working on incorporating other changes and hopes to test his design against permanent magnet motors. He also hopes to have a patentable design soon.

Sansone’s achievement is recognized — he’s getting offers of internships and help with research, which will be a great tool for him in the future. He also hopes that his example will give confidence to other young people to do the projects they feel inspired by.


Marina is passionate about sustainability and works to help ensure our planet stays as our home for a long time. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and not buying single-use plastic. When not writing, she can be found with her nose stuck in a book or trying out new baking recipes.

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