NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The timeline for implementation of a new heavy-duty engine oil category has been pushed back by a few months, but the development of Proposed Category 11 (PC-11) is well underway and early indications are that fuel savings will be achieved.
Dan Arcy, global OEM technical manager with Shell Lubricants, updated Truck News on the development of the new oil category at the Technology & Maintenance Council meetings.
“There have been some slight changes in the timing,” he said. “Originally, manufacturers asked for a Jan. 1, 2016 deadline and that has now been moved to April 1, 2016. It’s not really a big deal and in fact, it gives us some more time. The reason for the change is that the Task Forces didn’t feel that some of the tests that are being developed were ready to go forward, so they asked for another quarter to finalize test procedures.”
Arcy said the delay won’t significantly impact development of the new category, which will likely be dubbed CK-4. There will be two categories within PC-11: one for today’s standard 15W-40 formulations and another for low-viscosity 10W-30 and 5W-30 oils. Arcy said the latter – which will be thinner than today’s 10W-30 and 5W-30 oils – are likely to be preferred by engine manufacturers when 2016 arrives.
“Those will probably be the primary recommendation for all 2016 engines when they come out,” Arcy said. “Those oils will provide better fuel economy than what we get out of current 10W-30s and much better than what we see out of current 15W-40s.”
Today, Shell claims customers can achieve about a 1.6% fuel savings by moving from a 15W-40 to currently available 10W-30 low-viscosity engine oils. With the new category, Arcy said the fuel savings will be even greater, though it’s too early to provide an estimate.
Asked if a new engine oil category will be required to comply with the recently announced next round of fuel economy standards set to take hold in 2018, Arcy said it’s not yet known.
“If you go back and look, historically every time we had a change in emissions standards with the exception of 2010, we always had a change in engine oil formulation in order to protect the new engines,” Arcy said. “What’s going to happen in 2018-2020? We’re not sure yet.”
Some of the technologies currently being discussed, such as waste heat recovery, could potentially drive up engine oil temperatures, necessitating a new formula, Arcy acknowledged. But that’s down the road. For now, he said the industry is focused on PC-11 and is generally pleased with the progress it has made.
“I’m encouraged with the way the team is working,” Arcy said. “Industry is moving forward with this and I think we should be on time to hit that April 1 deadline.”