Electric vehicles (EV) have minimal moving parts. This means that their maintenance cost is low compared to other vehicles. Battery and engine cooling and gear reducers are some of the lubrication the EVs require. Early on, electric vehicles were using traditional lubricants, but this is not the case today. This was said by the Shell Lubricants vice president Selda Gunsel. She added that transmission systems of electric vehicles are different from combustion transmission systems. They require a coolant fluid that fits the high-voltage electrical elements.
Last year, Shell developed E-Fluids, which are specialized fluids that are meant to protect the automobiles of fuel-cell and electric battery components. This has been expanded to vans and trucks. Gunsel also said that it is essential in the upcoming years to come up with copper compatible lubricants, which will provide low conductivity. This will help to boost the efficiency and performance of EVs systems. The electric trucks globe market is expected to grow to $1.89 billion by 2027 from $422.5 million last year. This is according to a report released by Allied Market Research with Asia dominating the electric truck market. Huge market growth is expected from Europe and North America.
Many truck makers are majoring on projects involving electric trucks, either hydrogen-electric or battery electric. California Air Resources Board (CARB) together with Volvo and 13 entities are participating in the California LIGHTS program to come up with a plan for the deployment of electric trucks. Shell wants to increase the E-Fluid portfolio as more electric trucks are being manufactured. In California, Shell is also engaged in a hydrogen-electric truck project together with Kenworth and Toyota. Gunsel added that Shell is incorporating all hardware manufacturers to ensure all goes on well. She said the reason why they are working closely with all OEMs is that each OEM uses different materials in their manufacturing.
The E-Fluids comprises of battery thermal fluids, e-greases, and e-transmission fluids. The benefit of using E-Fluids is that the electric motor cools eight times faster compared to other transmission fluids, copper erosion decreases by three times, extended lifetime lubrication, and thermal conductivity increases by 9%. Gunsel said that the company wants to expand the E-Fluid line such that they develop products based on vehicle specifications and applications. She said that the company has an added advantage with the usage of gas-to-liquid technology. Gas-to-liquid technology enables the conversion of natural gas to hydrocarbons. Gunsel said that this conversion would allow the company to develop lubricant base oil. The base oil with the right properties will help the company develop other additives ideal for the system.