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Episode 20: Carbon neutrality goals to drive IFC performance standards and specifications

Episode 20: Carbon neutrality goals to drive IFC performance standards and specifications

An OEM-led consortium is trying to transform how global vehicle fluid specifications are being defined today to meet society’s carbon neutrality goals by 2035 and 2050.

Carbon neutrality goals are definitely going to drive the performance standards and specifications coming out of the International Fluids Consortium (IFC), said Mike Kunselman, business development manager of Michigan, U.S.A.-based Center for Quality Assurance (CQA). CQA is the administrator of the IFC program.

“Obviously this is an OEM-specific goal, but when you look at many of the governments around the world, the target of carbon neutral by 2050, and 50% carbon reduction by 2035 will drive what IFC is doing,” said Kunselman.

The International Fluids Consortium is a not-for-profit legal entity based in the U.S. currently consisting of 11 OEMs and an equal number of industry affiliate members.

One part of its mission is to make IFC a sustainable program through trademark licensing and ultimately move things forward for the industry, said Kunselman.

IFC currently has two technical committees focused on specifications and standards. One is focused on engine oils used in internal combustion engines (ICE), while the second is focused on fluids for electrified vehicles or electrified powertrains.

Kunselman said that the IFC is taking the approach to involve not only vehicle OEMs, but also OEMs providing the hardware for the electrification of the powertrain or so-called Tier 1 OEMs, in the EV fluids technical committee. 

This is where IFC really does have a head start on the industry in general, said Kunselman. IFC is bringing together a collective voice on the practical application of fluid technology and what the standards and specifications will be for fluids for electrified powertrains.

A prelude to 2035 and 2050

The process for defining fluid quality through standards and specifications is so critical, he said.

“When you go back to the Ford Model T, the first mass-produced vehicle, that was only 115 years ago, in the 1910s.

“We look at the technology then, even just making the model T go down the road and how to switch gears, it was a deadly process. People would get injured doing that. Now we are at this point saying we are completely changing the powertrain to something that requires combustion to something that requires electricity. We are talking about kilowatt-hours per kilometer driven. It is a total change. The process behind defining what is needed, if that is very clear what is the goal, if the process is such that it brings the industry together and builds consensus and does not lose sight of the vehicle owner ultimately benefiting, that’s what drives me. How do we make this better, how do we make it more efficient? It all comes back to quality, cost and time,” Kunselman said.

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