ACEA Official: Engine Oil Specs for Years to Come


ACEA Official: Engine Oil Specs for Years to Come
Engine oil being poured into a car's crankcase during an oil change. © REDPIXEL.PL

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association will probably continue developing automotive engine oil specifications after the European Union prohibits sales of vehicles powered solely by petroleum fuels, according to the chairman of the association’s task force for light-duty lubricants, but the organization is not ready to develop standards for electric vehicle fluids.

Paul Decker-Brentano gave his assessment in July at the Mineral Oil Technology Conference held in Stuttgart by the German Association of Medium-sized Mineral Oil Companies.

The EU has resolved to prohibit sales of new cars and vans powered only by internal combustion engines beginning in 2035, but sales of hybrid vehicles will be permitted, and they contain internal combustion engines that require engine oil. In addition, existing vehicles running only on such engines will continue to operate.

Decker-Brentano therefore envisions that ACEA lubricant task forces will probably develop future sequences beyond 2035. He said he does expect an eventual phaseout of oil industry engagement in Europe would eliminate ACEA oil sequences. But when regional standard setting organizations disappear, the International Fluids Consortium will be the backup. The IFC was formed in 2020 to create a system for global automotive lubricant specs.

The ACEA task force for light-duty lubricants has already discussed the necessity of an industry standard for EV fluids.

“We discussed heavily and are not at the stage now where we can answer the question about that, but I won’t exclude the possibility of an industry standard for EV fluids,” said Decker-Brentano.

Currently the task force doesn’t see the need for such a specification. EV fluids are fill-for-life and require no service. Tier 1 suppliers are also developing their own fluid specification due to different hardware layouts. Decker-Brentano noted each OEM is still building up EV fluid

expertise and working on possible test requirements.

Decker-Brentano noted that European car sales are shifting toward hybrid vehicles and models powered solely by batteries. Original equipment manufacturers are investing more than €250 billion for the transition, and companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Stellantis are vowing to stop selling conventional cars.

But OEMs are also being challenged on multiple fronts in reaching those goals. Decker-Brentano pointed to the United Kingdom as a strong EV market, but it faces issues in energy generation and charging infrastructure.

“Today we are far behind charging infrastructure plans. We are far behind in energy production. ACEA is saying all the time that there is infrastructure debt, and something has to be done, otherwise transformation will not happen,” said Decker-Brentano.

Competition from foreign OEMs is also an issue. “What makes ACEA members nervous is that in the U.K., Chinese automakers increased sales from 2% to 32% in just two-and-a-half years. There is massive pressure from China in such a big market,” he explained. “We have to defend our competitiveness in the market.”

Decker-Brentano said growth of EV sales will be slower than expected because of that infrastructure debt, and internal combustion engine applications will remain in the European market longer than expected.