Robert Sansone set out to solve a global problem: the unsustainability of electric car motors, which use nonrenewable rare earth materials
Robert Sansone, a senior at Fort Pierce Central High School in Florida, was born to invent. His creations range from springy leg extensions for sprinting to a go-kart that can reach speeds of 70 mph.
But his latest project aims to solve a global problem: the unsustainability of electric car motors, which use rare earth materials that are nonrenewable, expensive, and pollute the environment during the mining and refining process. (Click here to watch more about Robert’s journey)
To develop a solution, Sansone took inspiration from the synchronous reluctance motor, an electrical rotating machine that converts the electrical power into mechanical power. The motor is currently used in industrial applications, doesn’t utilize rare earth materials, but also doesn’t produce the power needed to propel electric cars. It took 15 prototypes for the teen to produce an engine that yielded sufficient power, and he’s now on to working on the 16th iteration of the motor, which he hopes can produce even more energy.
For his work, Sansone won a $75,000 scholarship in the 2022 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair. He says he’ll use his winnings to help pay for his bachelor’s degree.
In this 74 Interview, Sansone talks about the obstacles he faced and the breakthroughs he achieved on his journey toward building the world’s first sustainable electric vehicle motor.