Aggressive Electric Vehicle (EV) Sales Pose a Threat to Lubricant Industry in The Longer Term

Published By: IndustryARC Published On : 19-Aug-2015

Electric cars are the future of automotive industry. They do not require petroleum fuel and hence environment friendly as there is less gas emission or zero emission. That is why these are also termed as green vehicles sometimes. A consumer can choose from different types of electric vehicles such as hydrogen, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV). Hydrogen cars use hydrogen fuel cells which create electricity to drive the motor. Plug-in hybrid cars combine an electric battery with gasoline engine; the cars can go up to 30 to 35 miles with the help of battery and then switches to internal combustion engine. On the other hand, the fully battery powered electric vehicle can go up to 100 miles with 8 hours of charging.Despite having huge popularity these vehicles have some drawbacks such as the charging time, battery weight & space, cost and others.

Electric vehicles do not have any internal combustion engine; their system is based on electric motor. There is nothing much to lubricate as there is no piston in the vehicle. This creates an uncertainty for the automotive lubricants industry and poses a question on the future of lubricants and additives manufacturers. Engine oil is the major lubricant used in gasoline and diesel engine vehiclesfor efficient functionality of the internal combustion engine. Electric vehicles do not require engine oil and this has created panic for big oil companies which manufacture engine oil and its additives. Currently global engine oil additives market is valued at $9.9bn, which can be dropped down in future if the sales of electric vehicles continue to rise. According to European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), electrically chargeable vehicle share can reach up to 8% by 2025 in the global market. In U.S., the sales of electric vehicles growing at an annual growth rate of 36.2% with 501,369 numbers (including PHEVs and HEVs) of vehicle sold in 2013.

The only satisfaction to the lubricants manufacturers is that, it will take long time for this new age vehicle to capture significant share in the automotive industry. Also the electric vehicles require grease for its rotating devices, so the opportunity or competition will exist on other lubricants like grease. Many lubricant manufacturers are investing on research and development to bring changes in the lubrication technology which can lower the emission of hazardous gases in the environment. However, in the longer term, they have to discover other opportunities in the market to save their presence.

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