UK-based audio technology specialist Warwick Acoustics, is working with a number of OEMs to support the elimination of rare earth elements (REEs) from their vehicles through the use of its zero-REE ElectroAcoustic panels.
With seven granted patent families and two further patents pending, the audio technology brings a new approach to in-car audio, moving away from the traditional format of a speaker.
REE in audio systems, such as neodymium and dysprosium, can be responsible for up to 30% of EV REE content. The magnet-free ElectroAcoustic panels contain zero REE and are made from 100% mass upcycled and recyclable materials.
ElectroAcoustic panels are lighter and thinner than conventional speakers, without using any REEs, as Warwick Acoustic CTO, Ben Lisle explained, “By eliminating the magnet and replacing it with a 1mm thin electrostatic panel, we are able to offer a loudspeaker which is up to 90% lighter and more efficient than a like-for-like moving coil speaker.”
Warwick Acoustics’ CEO, Mike Grant, said, “The extraction and processing of REE is unfortunately a process which generates a huge volume of waste per gram refined REE – some sources suggest the amount of waste is 2,000 times the amount of refined product.
“OEMs are keen to eliminate this legacy and at the same time remove any future issues with the very concentrated supply chain. When it comes to premium audio that is “rare earth free”, Warwick Acoustics has developed a unique clean sound solution for the industry, and this solution is capturing the attention of many premium OEMs.”
ElectroAcoustic panels are now in the final phases of industrialization, with the aim to meet automotive OEMs’ rapid transitions to electrification and lifecycle sustainability.
Warwick Acoustics’ first clean sound partnership with a luxury OEM was signed in June; development agreements with a number of other OEMs are also under way.