Battery Maker Enters Lubes Business

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The rise of electric vehicles has a few lubricant companies looking to branch into aspects of EVs that have nothing to do with lubes. Now a Chinese supplier of EV batteries has ventured in the lubricant market.

Tianneng Group announced late last month that it had shipped the first batch of products from its new lube blending plant in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao. The company, which is headquartered in Huizhou, is a complete newcomer to petroleum products but said it sees the move as a natural segue within the automobile industry.

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“Following the launch of the start-stop automotive battery field, Tianneng actively expanded the automotive aftermarket services,” the company said in a Nov. 29 posting on social media platforms. “The launch of Tianneng lubricants accelerated the extension of the industrial chain.”

Formed in 1986, Tianneng has focused mainly on supply of batteries and energy storage solutions for automobiles. It supplies lead acid cells for batteries used to start and power ancillary systems in passenger cars powered by internal combustion engines as well as lithium-ion cells and battery packs used to power electric motorcycles, scooters and golf carts. It also makes systems for households and businesses to store energy.

In its social media post, Tianneng said it formed its lubes unit, Tianneng Lubricant, as part of a broader strategy to diversify within the automotive aftermarket industry. The company said it is making passenger car engine oils meeting API SP, API SN and API SL performance specifications, along with other finished lubricants.

The company did not disclose the capacity nor the cost of its blending plant.

A few lubricant companies have started looking for opportunities related to batteries that power electric vehicles. Lopal Technology Co., one of the largest independent lube suppliers in China, has made a series of investments to supply lithium iron sulfate for EV batteries. In August Gulf Oil Lubricants India Ltd. drafted an amendment to its memorandum of association allowing the company to explore opportunities in EV batteries and battery charging, as well as vehicles and software.

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