Special oil pump helps Chevy Cruze conserve fuel

(August 27, 2010) PONTIAC, Mich. — The oil pump in the engine of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze takes a laid-back approach to its work, delivering the precise amount of oil needed during all driving conditions. That requires the engine to work less versus a conventional pump and ultimately saves fuel.

A standard feature in the Cruze’s Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine, the variable displacement oil pump reduces the displacement during engine warm up and high speed conditions.

The volume of oil from the pump varies with rpm by changing the pump’s displacement through a pivoting control chamber mechanism and sliding vanes. A fixed displacement pump would typically bypass the extra oil internally.

“By lowering the volume of oil we reduce the amount of energy, or torque, required to pump the oil, without taking necessary lubrication away from the engine,” said Mike Katerberg, assistant chief engineer for the 1.4L. “Reducing the torque demand reduces fuel consumption. It’s a simple, durable, maintenance-free design that we have used in our transmissions for years and more recently in our hybrid vehicles.”

The oil pump body pivots (blue lines)
causing the vanes (red lines) to move
resulting in just the right volume of oil
being pumped. When less oil is pumped
less energy is needed which ultimately
saves fuel.

The Ecotec 1.4L turbo is standard on Eco, LT and LTZ models and helps the Cruze Eco, with a standard six-speed transmission, achieve an expected segment-leading estimated 40 mpg on the highway. 

The benefits of the variable displacement oil pump increase when used with other technologies such as variable valve timing which operate using oil pressure. Variable valve timing adjusts the engine valves' opening and closing timing for optimal performance, fuel efficiency and emissions across the rpm band — including greater low-rpm torque.

The all-new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze will begin arriving in U.S. dealerships in September.