The Impact of Electric Vehicles On Lubricants

Like their gas-powered counterparts, electric vehicles (EVs) require lubricants to function efficiently and safely. Unlike the lubricants in internal combustion engines, the lubricants in an EV do not need to be replaced regularly.The question before us is how will the proliferation of electric vehicles and their lubrication needs affect the lubricants market.

The Stanford University Study

Under the heading “Impacts on Oil Industry”, the Stanford study asserts that the future impact of EVs on the oil industry will be nominal. The report’s author Quinn Brody cited estimates for EV usage in 2050. Predictions are that in that year EVs will only account for 25% of the vehicles in use worldwide.

The study points out that 30 years is ample time for improvements in internal combustion technology. At the same time, that engines are becoming more efficient oil production methods can also improve. Those two changes could drive down the cost of lubricants. Brody’s final conclusion is that the lubricant industry is safe for the foreseeable future.

The Columbia University Study

Authored by Marianne Kah a study by the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy explores “Electric Vehicles and Their Impact on Oil Demand: Why Forecasts Differ”. Some of the sources that Ms. Kah used in her research opined that over the next quarter-century there will be no significant change in the demand for oil-related products. Other sources have concluded that the oil industry will see a signifigant decline in demand from the automotive sector after 2040.

Increased demand from other markets like petrochemicals and aviation could balance-out a diminished demand for automotive lubricants. The report pointed out that more EVs on the road are only one factor that could affect the future of the oil industry. Population growth and increased urbanization are also determiners in the demand for petroleum products.

The Lubricants Industry Prepares for Increased EV Sales

Quoted on regarding increased EV sales Shell’s Vice President of Marketing Luis Guimaraes stated, “It is really an opportunity…”. In fact, Shell plans on producing a lubricant made especially for Toyota EVs SAE oW-20. reports that Total Lubricants shares Shell’s optimism. Total Lubricants Prospective and Innovation Manager Francois Bénard stated that his company already offers a complete line of lubricants for use in EVs. During the 2018 CTI Symposium Total Lubricant unveiled two new EV lubricants, one for passenger vehicles and the other for commercial EVs.

No one is certain when EVs might replace internal combustion vehicles and how profoundly the change will affect the lubricants industry. Lubricant produces see increased EV sales as an opportunity. No matter what portion of the automotive market electric vehicles represent they will still need lubrication.