24 May 2018
PRODRIVE HELPS NEXCEL DEVELOP ELECTRIC HYBRID DEMONSTRATOR
Prodrive has helped Castrol innovation business NEXCEL launch a development programme 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 Technology. We are taking NEXCEL’s conversion plans to physically demonstrate 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.
“Powertrain is evolving and the future of the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) is bright, but active oil management can help further enhance emissions control and public perception of the ICE as part of an innovative hybrid electric vehicle powertrain,” says NEXCEL sustainability director, John Ward-Zinski. “By 2030, leading industry commentators believe that at least 75% of passenger cars will incorporate ICE as a form of motive power, with the majority of those being hybrid electric vehicles. We aim to enable emerging hybrid-based mobility on demand services, for example, to benefit significantly from NEXCEL, allowing fast, on-site oil changes with reduced downtime. “Improved efficiency of hybrid fleets will provide an improved return on investment for operators, and the environmental benefits of NEXCEL fits perfectly with the sustainable quality of hybrid powertrain,” he continues. “The mess-free, sealed oil cell streamlines the used oil re-refinement process and helps to ensure that the waste oil is collected after use. Defined oil grades can be separated, which helps provide an improved grade of base oil during the process due to lack of contamination. This can then be reused in refurbished NEXCEL cells, reducing the reliance on virgin materials.”
Hybrid powertrain poses a significant packaging challenge but, using NEXCEL’s design, we are 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,” concludes Ward-Zinski. “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.”