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Servicing decarbonised transport

09 February 2021
This post first appeared in the February 2021 edition of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association Magazine  

Servicing decarbonised transport

Electric vehicle sales are experiencing a compound annual growth rate of over 70% in Australia. You may have noticed more EVs on the roads around you.

All manufacturers are now picking up their EV game to catch industry disruptors like Tesla and Rivian, and we expect the rapid sales trajectory to continue.

This is backed by a number of surveys that showed a slow decline in Australia in interest for buying an internal combustion engine, but a steady increase in interest in purchasing an EV.

There are two types of electric vehicle; a battery electric vehicle (BEV) such as a Tesla, and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) which usually have a short electric range with a petrol engine back up.

Both still require servicing, and as the shift to low-emission transport continues apace, will need new products developed to suit.


Do electric vehicles require lubricants and oils?

While the days of messy oil changes might eventually be phased out, BEVs and PHEVs still require some help from lubricants, oils and coolants to manage their motion.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles still contain an internal combustion engine and still have the same servicing requirements as any similar vehicle. Battery electric vehicles don’t require conventional engine oils and lubricants, but still need some help to run efficiently.

An EVs electric motor can commonly reach temperatures of 90+ degrees, so require some form of cooling, however it’s the battery pack that requires extra consideration.

Without a battery management system which controls cooling using air or liquid, EV battery range can decrease significantly or experience an overheating event.

The efficient thermal management of an EV battery pack is also vital for drivers wishing to access public fast charging infrastructure, which operates at higher temperatures. Repeated fast charging over a long period often leads to a loss of range on the vehicle.

What remains similar to ICE is the need to lubricate an EVs gearbox and differential, although this varies depending on model.

There is new research indicating that using the right lubricants can improve the range of some electric vehicles.

Making lubricants for EVs environmentally friendly

One of the primary reasons many people in Australia are moving to electric is to reduce the carbon footprint of their transport.

Currently, there is a small ‘green’ benefit from well to wheel in moving from ICE to EV, however in the global race by OEMs to release new and improved technology, that benefit will continue to improve over time.

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