- BP’s innovation business NEXCEL is in discussions with seven global vehicle manufacturers regarding adoption of its sealed cell system
- Core components of the system are now standardised
- Materials and design have been tested for large scale injection moulding
- All for easier adoption of Nexcel by vehicle manufacturers
Reading, 6th March 2019
Nexcel, a BP innovation business, has announced its active oil management system has reached a key stage in its development process. A two year programme of vehicle and rig testing has now taken Nexcel a substantial step closer to production with the introduction of a highly optimised design that is getting ready for integration with future vehicle programmes. The company says it is in conversations with seven global vehicle manufacturers, who value the system’s contribution to emissions reduction, hybrid packaging improvement, service simplification and whole-life environmental sustainability.
“The technology has been further developed at Nexcel’s research centre with testing conducted by specialists including Penso, DuPont and Millbrook,” says Brian Fitzsimons, Nexcel’s technical director. “We now have a modular technology using standard components that will allow Nexcel to be easily scaled for a wide range of vehicle programmes and automotive production.”
The core design components between the dock and the cell have been standardised, but the cell body design is intended to be adapted for the requirements of each vehicle design. The oil connections are self-aligning to ensure a high-pressure seal is achieved, and the electrical connections between cell and dock are now wireless. The number of electronic components has been reduced and where possible concentrated in the dock, so they remain part of the vehicle rather than the cell.
“The testing programme has paid attention to in-service durability, looking at extreme usage conditions to ensure the reliability of each component can match the expectations set by our customers,” says Fitzsimons.
Thorough testing has been carried out in association with DuPont, including mould optimisation to ensure consistent quality levels in volume production. Materials and electronics have undergone virtual testing by Penso including structural analysis performance, and vehicle testing in extreme temperature conditions at Millbrook, including thermal fatigue cycling from -30 up to +150oC, object impact and lifetime structural testing, while equivalent on-road testing has been conducted on a range of special surfaces. The test programme ensures that cell reliability meets Nexcel’s expectations: return, refurbishment and re-use ten times before then being end-of-life recycled. Nexcel experts have focused on cell, dock and pipework weight reduction without affecting durability, with an empty cell now weighing as little as 1.4 kg and a planned route to achieve 1kg.
Ben Russell, Nexcel’s business development director said, “The basic systems and designs are now proven and we have an in-house team ready to support the adoption of Nexcel by manufacturers of a variety of mass-market light-duty vehicles. This is a big step towards being able to integrate Nexcel with a production vehicle development programme.”
Nexcel’s active engine oil management system is an easy to change unit; containing bespoke engine oil, a filter and an electronic control unit which talks to the vehicle ECU. The plug and play oil cell is original equipment in Aston Martin’s Vulcan hypercar, and has been validated in endurance motorsport as well as in the laboratory and on-road trials. The latest revisions are getting it ready for wider adoption.
How the Nexcel system works
Nexcel is a removable, self-contained, sealed oil cell that will include bespoke engine oil and filter for each vehicle, enabling a fast and efficient oil and filter change without the need for any tools, lifts, or specialist equipment. The system is designed for flexible installation anywhere in the engine bay via a docking station, it is managed by a dedicated electronic control unit in the dock that communicates wirelessly with the oil cell. An electric pump controls the fill, top-up and evacuation of oil between the engine sump and the remote oil cell. A Nexcel oil cell change has been designed to take around 90 seconds and can be accomplished from the top of the engine bay without any mess or special equipment.
In addition to the fast and efficient oil change the benefits of Nexcel include a potential cost effective CO2 emissions reduction of 2g/km, as a result of the thermal management and the hardware technology, the opportunity to create a circular ecosystem for the reuse of used engine oil and a reduction of single-use plastics.
Read about Nexcel’s contribution to Hybrids: https://www.m-eng.com/newsroom/innovative-oil-management-system-successfully-installed-hybrid-development-vehicle/
You can follow NEXCEL’s development on LinkedIn, where further technical information is available.
Nevil Hall at Market Engineering: firstname.lastname@example.org
+44 (0)1295 277 050 (office) / +44 (0)7711 861 662 (mobile)
The Nexcel cell fitted to the test Ford Focus ST
Nexcel’s Ford Focus underwent cold weather testing at Millbrook down to -30oC
The Nexcel cell can be easily extracted and refitted within the car’s engine bay
Rough road testing at Millbrook for the Nexcel-equipped Ford Focus