Castrol India, a subsidiary of BP, is undertaking a multi-pronged expansion involving its existing business and the emerging electric vehicle (EV) segment as it transitions from lubricants to automotive aftermarket and EV fluids focussed company.
In the EV segment, the company seeks to focus on batteries and work with automotive OEMs for EV fluids.
Since EVs require transmission fluids, greases and coolants, Castrol sees big opportunities in the segment. Electric batteries can be cooled using air cooling or liquid cooling. Castrol has been supplying dielectric coolant fluids, which promise improved thermal management in high-performance EV batteries.
“We are doing a lot of work on the batteries for electric vehicles, while we have been supplying EV fluids to Tata Motors and MG Motors for their electric cars. We are also working with some two-wheeler OEMs in their EV technology development,” Sandeep Sangwan, Managing Director of Castrol India, told businessline.
He said the group was investing about ₹500 crore in setting up a global battery R&D centre at Castrol’s global headquarters in the UK. The centre, which will focus on thermal management solutions for EV batteries, is expected to be ready by 2024. This may help Castrol India to launch products and technologies that have been proven in developed markets.
Sangwan said Castrol India is focussing on the automotive aftermarket services business in preparation for the future.
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He is of the view that ICE engines will stay till 2040 or 2045.
“Electrification in two-wheelers will come faster, while it is already there in 3-wheelers. The penetration of cars in India is low. But as buyers become more affluent, the penetration will deepen, and not all demand will be fulfilled by EV makers,” he felt.
Castrol India has been creating a network of Castrol Auto Service outlets (multi-brand car workshop), equipped to serve both EV and non-EV, and Castrol Express Oil Change facilities across the country.
“We have now close to 200 Castrol Auto Service outlets across 100 cities in India and we want to increase this to about 300 by next year. These are not owned by Castrol but certified by us to provide quality services. Our objective is to support these people in professionalising their workshops and services,” he said.
The company has about 48 express oil change outlets and it will increase further in the coming months. These outlets seek to offer two-wheeler consumers quick and reliable oil changes on the go.