Nexcel located the oil cell dock in the engine bay, in the site formerly occupied by the 12 volt battery, which has now been relocated under the rear passenger seat. There is plenty of space around the cell for ease of access and removal. “We knew this was a neat technical solution, but the under-bonnet packaging solution has pleasantly surprised us – from an aesthetic and ergonomic perspective,” remarks Ward-Zinski.
NEXCEL sees the cell technology as highly relevant to the hybrid vehicle sector. “The improved efficiency of hybrid electric fleets will provide a heightened return on investment for operators, and the environmental benefits of NEXCEL fit perfectly with the sustainable appeal of hybrid powertrains,” says Ward-Zinski. “The mess-free, sealed oil cell streamlines the used oil re-refinement process and helps to ensure that the waste oil will be 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.”
Incorporation of NEXCEL also provides benefits to future hybrid powertrain. “The oil change is the last remaining routine service task actually performed on the engine, so consideration of NEXCEL at a vehicle’s design stage could provide considerable packaging benefits. The traditional oil sump, drain plug and block-mounted filter will now be redundant, so access for routine servicing is no longer a key factor, opening up potential for considerable vehicle packaging innovation,” concludes Ward-Zinski. “The benefits of NEXCEL technology are not simply limited to the powertrain – they could extend throughout hybrid vehicles of the future.”