Science Breakthrough: 17-Year-Old Inventor Created an Electric Vehicle (EV) Motor That Could Change Everything

Zack Love
4 min readAug 13, 2022

Robert Sansone is not out of high school, and already invented an electric car motor that doesn’t use rare-earth magnets. This is huge news.

Source: Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)

A 17-year-old won first prize at the 2022 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Atlanta Georgia and could change the world with his invention. This ISEF fair is the largest international high school STEM competition.

Robert Sansone, a student from Fort Pierce Central High School won the George D. Yancopoulos Innovator Award for his competition project because he has just built a proof of concept electric vehicle (EV) motor that does not require any rare-earth resources to build. This is a breakthrough and huge news for the electric vehicle industry.

“I have a natural interest in electric motors…with that sustainability issue, I wanted to tackle it, and try and design a different motor.” -Robert Sansone

Robert Sansone is an impressive person, having already completed 60 engineering projects in his spare time, and now has won first place for his electric motor project.

Robert Sansone Created a more Powerful Synchronous Reluctance Motor

Robert Sansone took an existing type of motor, called a “synchronous reluctance motor” that is exclusively used in pumps and fans and redesigned one of these motors that exhibits greater torque through an increased rotational force, but without using any rare-earth metals.

Typical “magnet” motors use neodymium, samarium, and dysprosium — these metals are in high demand, and harvesting the earth for them is not sustainable forever. (Source: Smithsonian Magazine)

Most electric car motors use magnet motors, which cost hundreds of dollars per kilogram. Robert demonstrated that his synchronous reluctance motor uses only copper, which costs about $7.83 per kilogram (at the time of publishing this article). (Source: Smithsonian Magazine)

Zack Love

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