Castrol innovation business NEXCEL has launched a development program to demonstrate the suitability of its proven active oil management system for new hybrid electric passenger vehicles. Installation of its innovative system, which enables 90-second spill-free oil changes and eases the used oil re-refinement process, is being carried out by Prodrive Advanced Technologies. The engineering consultancy is taking NEXCEL’s conversion plans to demonstrate physically the packaging potential in a 2018 Toyota Prius Plug-in, which will showcase the sealed oil cell technology in the first hybrid electric application of its kind.
NEXCEL is a self-contained, sealed cell including the correct grade of oil and specification of filter. Designed for flexible installation anywhere in the engine bay via a docking station intended to provide leak-free instant connection, it is managed by a dedicated electronic control unit that communicates with the vehicle via the standard databus. An electric pump controls the flow of oil between the engine sump and the remote cell and an oil analysis capability can be integrated. Changing the cell takes just 90 seconds.
Hybrid powertrains can pose a significant packaging challenge but, using NEXCEL’s design, Prodrive is demonstrating the system’s suitability for series production in current and next-generation electrified passenger vehicles. The conversion requires room to be created for the sealed cell and dock, which in this project has resulted in the relocation of the Prius’s battery.
Incorporation of NEXCEL also provides benefits to future hybrid powertrain.
Consideration of NEXCEL at a vehicle’s design stage could provide considerable packaging benefits. The traditional oil sump and filter, for example, will no longer be required so access for regular, routine servicing is no longer a key factor, and alters the requirements for ICE location and packaging. This is a perfect fit for the low maintenance, high efficiency image sought by vehicle manufacturers developing advanced hybrid passenger vehicles.—NEXCEL sustainability director, John Ward-Zinski