making it clean and simple – Nexcel

Castrol has developed a cartridge system to make changing the oil an filter in a car a simpler task that could be carried out by anyone, without specialist facilities or knowledge. The cartridge, known as Nexcel, contains an oil filter and all of the lubricating oil necessary for the engine of the vehicle to which it is fitted. The owner simply removes the old cartridge and replaces this with a new one which, according to Castrol, takes a total of 90 seconds.

nexcel cartridge

This product has the potential to revolutionise one of the most important service items required to keep an internal combustion engine running efficiently and also to maximise the like of engine. As well as enabling quick and easy servicing, this system has the potential to provide a solution to the issue of collecting used oil for reprocessing.

This approach could be applied to other aspects of product maintenance, designing-in accessible components which could help to manage complex and difficult service tasks, allowing users to take good care of their possessions.

It is important to examine the full impact of any solution that claims to offer significant environmental benefits. Whilst this system would make reprocessing easier and more likely, it may demand a greater level of technical complexity than existing solutions. This has the potential to negate the environmental benefits as more parts demand more resources. However, when considered from an enabling perspective alone, this system is likely to encourage non-expert owners to engage with servicing their own vehicles.

easy access – gogoro

The Gogoro is an electric scooter and infrastructure project initially launched in Taiwan. I was fortunate to visit Taipei in November and came across the showroom for the bikes.

There are many interesting aspects to the vehicle and the service that supports it, but the two most relevant that relate to this project are the technical simplicity and the simple, quick access to servicable parts afforded by the design of the scooter.


The rear of the scooter lifts up to allow quick and easy access to the power-train section. Here, fluids can be topped up, belts tightened and other regular adjustments made with real ease. This aspect is designed in from the outset and adds enables the maintenance that will keep the scooter running reliably and efficiently. Once the rear of the bike is open, and servicable parts are clearly identified.

gogoro rear wheel

The rear wheel nut is another example of a feature that enables quick and simple maintenance. Whilst it does require a specialist tool, it does allow for a simple, reliable and fast attention to the rear tyre and brakes. It is not unusual for ‘specialist tools’ to be restricted to authorised service agents. It has not been possible to ascertain if this tool is supplied with the scooter, but the regular stops needed to exchange batteries would provide and opportunity to make tools available to users.

6-all-parts-gogoro-smartscooter-all-parts-on-white Electric propulsion can be significantly simpler than combustion engines as there is often no need for a separate gearbox as electric motors deliver maximum torque from zero revs. The mechanical simplicity contributes to the ease of maintenance as there are less parts to take care of and much less mechanical wear.

The Gogoro represents a product where ease of maintenance has been considered as an integral aspect of the design. This approach is not generally seen even in  much more complex vehicles requiring more comprehensive servicing. As a consequence these more demanding vehicles require expensive and inaccessible equipment to keep them in good working order and to ensure a long life for the product.