Seventeen-year-old Robert Sansone has a dream, that one day electric vehicles will be fully sustainable because their motors no longer use magnets made from expensive rare-earth elements. He has created a prototype of a different kind, known as a novel synchronous reluctance motor, that has greater rotational force—or torque—and efficiency than existing ones. His work earned him first prize, and $75,000, at this year’s Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the largest international high school STEM competition. He hopes to patent the technology in the future, but is waiting until his next phase of testing before he approaches any car companies. “Rare-earth materials in existing electric motors are a major factor undermining the sustainability of electric vehicles,” he says. “Seeing the day when EVs are fully sustainable due to the help of my novel motor design would be a dream come true.”

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