Hybrids operate differently to conventional cars and that creates challenges for the lubricants. Discover how our specialist products offer high performance and protection.
Hybrid vehicles rely on a combination of battery power and engine power, based on the type of vehicle and driving situation.
As a result, Hybrid engine oils and transmission fluids are required to cope with a much wider range of challenges than those faced in conventionally-powered cars.
Let’s explore the six ways hybrids are different.
The engine in a Hybrid system only operates when required. In typical urban driving, this is often for short periods of time before shutting down again.
Incredibly, across a Hybrid vehicle’s lifetime, the number of stop-start events can be over five hundred thousand1. That’s ten times more than a conventional car.
In urban driving, where the engine isn’t always running, the oil’s operating temperature in a Hybrid can be up to 40oC cooler than oil in a conventional vehicle2.
However, in certain operating conditions, where the internal combustion engine is required for extended periods of time, the oil temperature can reach that of a conventional car. This means the oil has to be effective over a wider range of temperatures.
Hybrid vehicle engines sometimes use high efficiency operating cycles at the expense of lower-speed torque. The electric motor makes up for this loss of torque at low speeds, meaning that the engine needs to ramp up to higher engine speeds when started. This rapid increase in engine speed can be 10x faster than in a conventionally powered car3, placing increased demands on the engine oil to prevent damaging metal-to-metal contact.
Efficiency gains can also be made when the engine is operated at higher engine output. Compared to engines in conventionally powered cars, Hybrid engines spend longer at higher percentages of their maximum output. This means the engine can work up to four times harder4, putting critical parts and oil under increased stress.
Combining engines with electric systems and delivering power smoothly to the wheels places immense stress on the drivetrain. Increased torque and intelligent drivetrain systems can double speeds inside the transmission5. This means transmission fluids can be exposed to increased shear stresses, leading to the potential for a loss in viscosity, as well as foaming of the fluid. All of this increases the risk of damaging metal-to-metal contact.
Electrical systems including the motor are often integrated with the transmission and submerged in the transmission fluid. Using the wrong oil can present material and electrical compatibility issues and increase the potential for short circuit and electrical failure.