Demand for electric vehicle fluids is likely to see double-digit growth through 2040, as the United States passes China and the European Union to become the leading market for battery electric commercial vehicles, according to market consultancy Kline & Co.
Kline expects strong growth for greases, driveline fluids and heavy-duty engine oils used in hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
In a webinar presentation last month, Sharbel Luzuriaga, a project manager for Kline based in Prague, pointed out that while growth at that rate is impressive, the market is small compared with finished lubricants overall.
“Obviously, it’s growing exponentially because it’s coming from a very small basis,” he said in a webinar about commercial electric vehicle lubrication demand.
Meanwhile, commercial vehicle thermal management fluids are predicted to grow at a slower pace. Luzuriaga says this is largely due to the effectiveness of air and indirect cooling in long-distance commercial vehicles.
Luzuriaga attributes the U.S. leapfrogging to more aggressive regulations and policies addressing the commercial vehicle segment in the United States as well as Europe.
“In the U.S., certain states like California are imposing targets of 50%-60% electric vehicle sales in commercial vehicles and commercial trucks,” he said. He went on to say that, similarly, some European member states have pledged 100% reduction of emissions in the commercial vehicle segment. Conversely, China is concentrating its effort on passenger vehicles.
The current demand volume for commercial vehicle EV fluids is around 40,000 tons, which Kline predicts will pass 500,000 tons by 2040.
“It’s a different picture [than] what we’ve been observing in passenger vehicles,” Luzuriaga said.
Adoption of commercial EVs is lagging passenger cars, Kline found. Yet the barriers to wider uptake are the same as consumer vehicles: battery capacity, range, cost and demanding service requirements, Luzuriaga said.
Kline presented the findings in its report Electric Vehicles Fluids: Market Analysis and Opportunities. The report analyzed demand data from four markets: the European Union, including major non-member states; China; Japan; and the United States. These four represent 42% of global demand for commercial EV lubrication.