| 11:01 AM EST

Smarter Is Better: Even for Oil Pumps


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Once upon a time, brute force was the way to go when it came to getting things done in cars and trucks. Throw whatever you needed to at it to get the job done while making grunting sounds like Tim Allen on Home Improvement (no surprise that Allen hails from Detroit).

Now it is about smarts, not force. Even in things that would probably be overlooked.

Case in point is the variable displacement oil pump being used in the Chevy Cruze 1.4-liter turbocharged engine.

By variably metering oil flow predicated on rpm rather than having fixed displacement, what's needed is used. As Mike Katerberg, assistant chief engineer for this Ecotec engine puts it, “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. 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.”

Smarter design. Smarter performance.

2 The pump body pivots, as shown by the blue lines, to adjust the vanes, shown in red.