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Episode 13: Could this be the last of the ACEA Engine Oil Sequences?
Richard van den Bulk

Episode 13: Could this be the last of the ACEA Engine Oil Sequences?

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) published the latest ACEA European Engine Oil Sequences on April 30, 2021, with first allowable use commencing on 1 May 2021. For the first time, ACEA has split the light- and heavy-duty specifications, with only the light-duty standards updated. The heavy-duty and passenger car efforts are moving at different speeds and some tests for the heavy-duty specification are not ready.

During the latest episode of F+L Podcast, F+L Asia Ltd Editor-in-Chief, Vicky Villena-Denton, had a conversation with Chevron Oronite’s Richard van den Bulk, to understand Europe’s new engine oil requirements. Van den Bulk is managing the Global OEM Liaison Team within Chevron Oronite, a position he assumed in 2018. He is responsible for guiding the long-range strategies for automotive engine oil additive packages as well as lubricant technology for the newest engine technologies for the U.S.-based additive company. He is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

The two new ACEA Light Duty Engine Oil Sequences categories are A7/B7-21 for High Sulphated Ash, Phosphorous and Sulphur (SAPS), and the Lower SAPS, C6-21. One of the interesting aspects of the latest update is the inclusion of tests developed by ASTM International for the American Petroleum Institute (API) engine oil specifications and a JASO fuel economy test. In the past, different tests in Europe and the United States have examined the same type of parameters. ACEA has taken the pragmatic approach of seeking global alignment and cost reduction.

An increasing number of countries are banning the internal combustion engine (ICE). Van den Bulk suggests politicians are being wooed by zero tank-to-wheel emissions and are not accounting for the full lifecycle impact of electric vehicles (EV)—particularly the energy-intensive battery manufacturing process.

With the increasing politicisation of the ICE, and the increasing uptake of electric vehicles, will these be the last of the ACEA Engine Oil Sequences? It is incredibly challenging for OEMs to meet carbon dioxide limits and with future bans on ICE, investment in new technology is challenging. At this point, there has been no dialogue from ACEA on the development of specifications for EVs. ACEA specifications continue to focus purely on combustion engines.

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