What Fluids Are In An Electric Car? (Explained)

Are you wondering what kind of fluids electric cars (EVs) use? Perhaps you’ve just recently bought an EV, but you’re unsure which fluids it uses? You’ve come to the right article1

While EVs don’t have combustion engines, they still use fluids. Why? Because certain components of your EV would still need lubrication.

Hence, sales of fluids used by Evs have seen a significant increase. According to this study by McKinsey, more fluids are expected to be sold by 2035.

In 2035, there will be 400 million EVs on the road. In turn, this will lead to an increase in EV fluid consumption.

This guide explains what kind of fluids you will need for your EV. But before we dive in, let’s clear this right away:

Do electric cars use oil?

Although your all-electric car doesn’t use engine oil, there are situations when you’ll lubricate certain car parts.

Especially when you own a hybrid car. For instance, you’ll still use fluids to lubricate wheel bearings, transmission, central locking system, brakes, or even the EV motor.

Experts predict that the global electric vehicle fluids market will likely grow from $1.04 billion to $1.32 billion in 2022.

This is due to more automakers releasing EVs and many people adopting them.

The crucial thing you should keep in mind is that each part will usually use a different fluid type.

Your EV use any of the following fluids:

  • Brake fluid – Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that you can use in hydraulic brake and hydraulic clutch applications in EVs, automobiles, motorcycles, light trucks, and motorcycles.
  • Coolant – You’ll use this to reduce or regulate the temperature. It has a high concentration of thermal, which allows it to regulate temperature.
  • Transmission fluid – This fluid is mainly used by automatic vehicles.
  • Thermal Fluid – All batteries for EVs heat up. So you’ll need thermal fluid to cool them down.
  • Windshield washer fluid – Windshield washer fluid is a fluid that you will use to clean the windshield and your wipers.
  • Steering Fluid – You will need this fluid to lubricate your hydraulic power steering. Nowadays, most automakers produce cars with electronic power steering.
  • Grease – Your EV will also use grease to reduce friction and wear and help increase any machine’s lifespan. Your electric motor components, such as wheel bearing and door locks, will use grease.

Alternatively, you can also use long-lasting synthetic grease to lubricate electric motors and other components.

  • Low viscosity lubricant – If your car is automatic, you will use this lubricant to protect gear and gearbox bearings from wear and corrosion.

Since your EV experiences significant fluctuations in power flow and high motor speeds, you should consider using other fluids as well.

There are other fluids that we haven’t mentioned above that your EV may require. If you are unsure which liquids to use, check your driver’s manual.

How are electric cars lubricated?

Some EV owners often ask how they can lubricate their vehicles. The answer is plain simple: You lubricate your EV the same way you’ll lubricate a gas-powered car.

Remember, your EV requires fluids to run optimally.

For instance, you’ll need oil to lubricate the motor of your EV. At the same time, hybrid vehicles, which use both electric and electricity, will still need engine oil.

One of the widely used lubricants is synthetic-based oils. They tend to contain efficient lubricity, thermal and oxidative stability. You can use them on both 100% electric and hybrid cars.

Do all-electric cars have brake fluid?

Yes, all EVs use brake fluid. Naturally, EVs have brakes that use a standard brakes system.

Hence, your EV uses the same brake fluid you’ll typically find in conventional cars.

You must regularly check the brake fluid and replace it. If you detect any corrosion, you should replace the brake fluid at once.

Read more here about how brakes in electric cars are different.

Are fluids for electric cars more expensive?

The prices for fluids for EVs are no different from those of ordinary cars. The main difference between using fluid for EVs and ordinary cars is that you’ll normally use fewer fluids.

Your EV needs only about ten to 20 liters of coolants over its lifetime.

At the same time, an average gas-powered car usually requires 20 to 80 liters.

Besides, an all-electric car does not require any engine oil. In comparison, an engine car requires 50 to 90 liters over the car’s lifetime.

Considering the facts mentioned, it becomes clear why EVs are slightly cheaper to maintain than gas-powered cars. Although, EVs cost more to repair.

Why do electric cars use thermal fluids?

Your EV uses thermal oil to prevent thermal degradation and oxidation.

The perfect fluid you use should manage heat.

When you accelerate your EV, this causes the motor coils to heat up to 180 C and put stress on the transmission oil. So, using high-quality base fluids with good thermal stability will inhibit degradation.

How often should you check fluids on an electric car?

It is still crucial to check fluids on your EV regularly. Fortunately, there aren’t many fluids for you to check. So checking fluids should be pretty easy for you.

We recommend that you check fluids that your EV primarily uses.

These include fluids like a windshield wiper, battery, and brake.

Do Electric cars use water?

Yes. EVs come with different drivetrain. So, since they don’t use the oil, they use water instead.

The type of water that EVs use is called a coolant, a combination of antifreeze and distilled water.

EVs function the same as water heaters. First, water heaters and EVs require you to charge them for at least two or three hours.

Secondly, EVs and electric water heaters reduce fossil fuel dependence, allowing us to use low-cost, low-emission resources on the electric grid.

What are the challenges for fluid formulation?

EVs’ increasing lubrication and cooling demands have presented new challenges for automakers and car owners.

One of the challenges most EV owners complain about is the corrosion of coppers primarily used in powertrains.

Here are some of the challenges:

  • Copper compatibility. When fluids come in contact with copper, they erode the quality of copper windings.
  • High torque. Because EVs produce high torque, this ultimately stresses gears and causes entrainment of the fluid.
  • Electrical conductivity. Most mechanics report an unusual limit to how conductive the fluid should be. In addition, the conductivity seems to be too low.
  • Thermal conductivity. Only fluids with higher thermal conductivity can keep the motor and drive system running cool. Any fluid with a lesser quality causes poor heat conductors.
  • Viscosity and friction. Another problem drivers of EVs experience is the degradation of the motor, wheel bearings, or gearbox, caused mainly by friction. This problem mostly happens when you use lower-quality grease.

Final Thoughts

We all expect owning an EV to be a cheaper option.

This is because an EV uses fewer moving parts. Besides, when you own an EV, you don’t have to worry about changing engine oil.

But, in-depth research proves that it can cost more to repair than maintain an EV. You will pay more for replacing a battery, fluids, and other parts.

According to We Predict research, in a three-month time frame, EV service costs will be 2.3 times higher than a gasoline-powered car.

To avoid paying more, do the following to take care of your EV:

  • Take care of the battery – Avoid overcharging your battery. Experts recommend charging the battery less than 100%. Furthermore, always park your EV in the shade. Exposing the battery to direct sunlight will degrade the quality of the battery.
  • Use heating and air conditioning sparingly. When you overuse the aircon and heater in your EV, it’ll impact the energy efficiency of your car.
  • Pay attention to eco-features. Most EVs come with eco-driving features that can increase the driving range up to significantly.
  • Avoid parking in the direct sun. When you park your EV in the sun for long periods. Instead, park it in the shade to prevent the sun from damaging your battery.

To avoid spending more on your EV, make sure that you service it regularly. Most EVs require a twice-a-year service.

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