VLS Chairman’s Column

In 2018, ACEA began work on developing the next set of automotive engine oil sequences provisionally entitled ACEA 2020.

At the time European regulators were still very much focused on continuing the trend to more stringent exhaust emissions requirements and the resulting lower emissions produced by traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

The passenger car emission standard Euro VI was introduced in 2015 but around the time of 2018, just when ACEA announced work on the ‘2020’ sequences, the political landscape began to change.

In 2018, the UK Government announced its strategy ‘The Road to Zero’ and the banning of ICE vehicles by 2040, more recently this has been brought forward to 2030. Also in that year German cities began to introduce restrictions on older petrol and diesel cars. Norway, itself, reliant on the income from fossil fuel refining and exploration, announced an ending of the sale of ICEs by 2025, France by 2040.

Since this time progress towards ending of the sale of ICEs has accelerated and major oil companies have begun to realign their strategy around clean energy such as BP with an annual investment of £5bn and Shell with the purchase of British Gas’s parent company Centrica in 2016. In January 2021, Bloomberg announced that Total had achieved the fastest start towards clean energy of any of the European oil majors.

The impetus around developing and releasing successive engine oils standards and specifications to the market at a time when vehicle manufacturers are focusing on electric vehicles, perhaps even hybrids, and are moving to clean renewable energy, seems to have diminished.

Infineum have cited a lack of available and modern vehicle engines as one of the causes of the delay to the new iteration of the sequences, which have been


Andrew Goddard, Chairman of VLS

delayed into 2021 with the latest report of a launch around late April.

Certain engines such as the Mercedes-Benz (MB) MB271 engine used in the ACEA 2020 sequences to test for black sludge was first launched in 2009 before being withdrawn from the market in 2015. MB’s OM646LA used to test for diesel engine wear, was similarly produced between 2002 and 2010.

So the new sequences have to use engines currently in production.

However issues remain that would benefit from a new engine oil standard such as the issue of Low Speed pre Ignition whereby fuel can be ignited prematurely before it reaches the cylinder head of the engine with the resulting white etching or even cracking of the cylinder head. Or the issue of what standard electric vehicle lubricants is required given the different nature of EVs compared with ICEs and the need to dissipate far more generated heat away from an electric engine.

According to Lubrizol, ACEA 2021 could introduce a new A7/B7 high-performing category linked to global application which builds on the existing category A5/ B5. A3/B3 could be removed as a category and a new ACEA C6 category for high performance engines requiring advanced protection, and built on the Toyota engine, a first for European oil sequences to be built on a Far Eastern OEM engine, along with the removal of category A1.

For the heavy duty categories, Lubrizol believe that E8 and E11 will be enhanced for oxidation performance and piston cleanliness, with new engine tests and the removal of the OM501LA test. Mack T-13 will be introduced for oxidation and the Caterpillar Oil Aeration Test (COAT) to test for resistance to aeration. The MB OM501LA test for piston cleanliness will be withdrawn. Expect to see two new categories introduced for fuel efficiency F8, built on E8, and F11, built on E11.

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