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  4. HYSPEC – CASTROL'S HYBRID PERFORMANCE STANDARD

SETTING OUR HYBRID PERFORMANCE STANDARD

A hybrid vehicle driving away from camera at night with illuminated rain droplets behind it.

DEFINING THE BENCHMARK

Castrol oils are already hybrid-ready but proving how effective they are requires a benchmark. However, there is currently no specific industry standard specification for hybrid engine oils.

HYSPEC: CASTROL’S NEW HYBRID PERFORMANCE STANDARD

Logo: HYSPEC – Castrol's hybrid standard
HYSPEC is Castrol’s new technical standard for hybrid engine oils. It isn’t a new product, ingredient or competitor comparison. It’s our own benchmark that we have chosen to measure our engine oils for hybrids against. Castrol’s HYSPEC standard enables us to prove that our oils for hybrids perform against the three main challenges faced by hybrids: contaminants, engine intermittency and system inefficiencies.

WHAT INFORMED HYSPEC?

HYSPEC was formed from two billion pieces of data, real-world road trials, testing and insights from motorsport and vehicle manufacturers. Combining everything we know about the challenges faced by hybrids, we selected 15 hybrid relevant industry tests and supplemented them with our own bespoke tests. This enabled us to develop a credible and rigorous hybrid standard to benchmark our oils against.

1. OUR HISTORY WITH HYBRIDS
A simple icon to show a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

We have spent over 25 years researching, testing, and reporting on the characteristics of hybrids.

 

Castrol’s experience includes working on first-generation hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, publishing Society of Automotive Engineers papers on hybrid operating characteristics and designing bespoke tests to replicate severe hybrid driving conditions.

2. PUTTING HYBRIDS TO THE TEST
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We ran a year-long on-road trial that included mild hybrids, full hybrids, plug-in hybrids and an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle as the control for comparison.

 

Combined, the cars travelled over 300,000km, more than 7,000 hours – the equivalent of driving 24/7 for more than 42 weeks!

 

Each vehicle was fitted with temperature and pressure sensors for real-time analysis. A staggering two billion data points were captured. Physical oil samples were also collected every 3,000km to analyse the exact impact of hybrid operating conditions on engine oil chemistry.

Four icons to illustrate: 1 year, 10 vehicles, 7000 hours, 300,000 kilometers
THE TEST RESULTS
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Finding 1:

Vehicles with greater electric range – where a larger proportion of the driving used the e-motor only – had a lower oil sump temperature than a traditional ICE-only vehicle. The intermittent engine use of hybrids can cause this reduced oil temperature.

 

Finding 2:

The test showed a clear link between reduced engine operation time and an increase in nitration severity. The oil analysis showed activation of anti-wear additives was reduced due to the lower sump temperature.

A chart showing how engine intermittency and cooler hybrid engine temperatures impact engine oil.
3. CRUCIAL RESEARCH WITH TRUSTED BRANDS
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We developed hybrid testing techniques with our vehicle manufacturer partners. These included bench and rig tests, engine installations and on-road vehicle testing to evaluate oil performance.

 

These partners also provide invaluable on-road insights, enabling us to constantly refine our products.

Oil being poured into an engine. The filler cap reads 'Castrol Recommended'
4. TESTING OILS UNDER THE TOUGHEST CONDITIONS IN MOTORSPORT
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Motorsport is the ultimate testing ground for vehicles and their powertrains, including hybrid technology.

 

Formula 1® and World Rally Championship have fully embraced hybrids for over a decade. They pioneer the most advanced hybrid technology globally. The current F1® hybrid is the most efficient in the world, delivering more power using less fuel.

 

Castrol oil formulations face intense investigation before making it to the track. This includes data modelling, in-house screening, and tough engine performance tests. Vital insights gained in motorsport have been applied to our hybrid on-road products.

Ford M-Sport World Rally Championship car in action. Castrol sponsorship logo features on the car.
BWT Alpine F1® car on the race track. Castrol sponsorship logo features on the car.
5. VALIDATING OUR RESEARCH
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To further support and validate our own findings, we commissioned third-party consultancy and external experts to conduct a range of research with service centres, fleet operators and car owners, delivering a wider perspective on markets.

 

THE BENEFITS OF HYSPEC

 

For strong resistance, protected switching and fuel economy1, choose oils that perform against HYSPEC – our new hybrid performance standard. These oils demonstrate at least 25%2 benefit against Castrol’s HYSPEC standard across critical areas of contaminants, engine intermittency and system efficiency.

 

1Strong resistance demonstrated by water and fuel contamination handling, protected switching by wear, stability and cold temperature testing, and fuel economy by industry standard fuel economy testing.
2Compared to performance minimum requirements set in both industry specification and Castrol bespoke testing across tests applicable to hybrid vehicle types, covering contaminants, engine intermittency and system efficiency.

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