F+L Week 2018 | Jun Han Li | Fuel Economy Trends and the Role of the Lubricant
In the recent years, fuel economy has gained much attention and this has been primarily driven by legislated fuel economy targets and the aim to reduce the overall cost of vehicle ownership. This fuel economy drive has led to many initiatives, such as engine oil reformulation and vehicle redesign, spanning across all vehicle types from large commercial vehicles to the smaller passenger cars and motorcycles, by various industry stakeholders. Lubricants have a major role to play in achieving the fuel economy goal and its challenges are well known. The key challenge is proving the improvement in fuel economy performance. Here, we are looking at fractional to single digit gains. Different chemistries in the engine oil, coupled with its physical properties, can be optimized to directly affect the fuel economy performance of the lubricant. Infineum has conducted a number of experiments in various vehicle engine types to understand the methods used to measure fuel economy. This in turn informs us of the formulation levers to deliver meaningful progress toward the target. In this paper, we will share Infineum’s experience in lubricant formulation with focus on the formulation levers and tradeoffs that have to be made in order to achieve the desired fuel economy performance.