Two representatives from Kline’s Energy practice have grudgingly returned to our headquarters in New Jersey after spending three days at the STLE’s 76TH annual meeting and exhibition at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in sunny Orlando, FL.
David Tsui and George Morvey report that when the meeting formally opened on Monday, May 16, a full slate of technical sessions was featured each day from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The gatherings were heavily focused on tribology, with technical and insightful 30-minute sessions, hosted by a variety of industry, government, and university-level researchers and industry experts. Most applicable to Tsui and Morvey were the numerous sessions focused on electric vehicles; they were perhaps the most sought-after sessions among all the annual meeting attendees. Session topics ranged from API Group V basestocks formulation approaches for EV fluids to next-generation E-fluids for mobility, electronics, and energy — and everything in between. It was evident that the tribological community is heavily focused and invested in developing lubricants and coolants specific to the needs of EVs, enabling a smooth transition from ICE-powered to EV-powered passenger vehicles over the coming years.
Opening the general session on Monday were two representatives from Nissan speaking about powertrain evolution toward carbon neutrality. While their presentation covered very technical topics, it also was insightful in layman’s terms, giving the audience a view behind the curtain as it relates to the many challenges that global passenger vehicle OEMs are grappling with as they engineer next-generation vehicles for electrification.
On Tuesday from 4PM to 6PM, Tsui and Morvey participated in the Roundtable Discussions event, coordinated by Hannes Grillenberger from Shaeffler AG. A total of seven roundtables were hosted and led by a diverse group of industry experts and researchers, with topics ranging from EV-Application Bearings, hosted by a representative from Ford Motor Company, to Kline’s roundtable, discussing how the emergence of EVs is affecting lubricants demand. Attendees were encouraged to visit each roundtable to engage in discussions and exchange ideas about the various topics. Kline’s roundtable focused on volumetric PCMO demand in leading country markets that are forecast to have the fastest and largest penetration of EVs in all forms including HEV, PHEV, and BEV. While it was evident to all participants that BEV parc growth and penetration will cause a corresponding market exit of PCMO, a side conversation between Tsui and Lubrizol’s Dr. Gareth Fish explored the opportunities for synthetic and premium grease in an EV world. Fish argued that regardless of whether the vehicle has a petrol/diesel tank or battery pack, the myriad of electric drivetrain components, motors, and switchgear will still support volumetric demand for grease, most likely synthetic/premium grease, used primarily in factory-fill/fill-for-life applications. Electric motors raising and lowering windows and adjusting driver/passenger seats over the life of the vehicle still need protection and lubrication, which means in an evolving EV world, “Grease is the word.”
Kline’s Energy Practice has a full suite of market studies assessing the impact of privately owned and operated EVs on volumetric passenger car and heavy-duty motor oil demand through to 2040. In addition, the firm offers comprehensive market studies on new and innovative lubricants and fluids for use in EVs. Our Electric Vehicles Fluids: Market Analysis and Opportunities (Commercial Volume) is scheduled for release in Q2 2022.