GENEVA, Switzerland --- At the Geneva Motor Show, Volvo Cars presented seven fuel-efficient DRIVe models with exceptionally low CO2 emission levels.
The DRIVe badge is attached to cars in the Volvo Cars' International car range (not available in the U.S.) that have the best environmental performance in their class, Volvo said. All of today's DRIVe models are equipped with a conventional diesel engine and manual gearbox optimized for extra-low fuel consumption.
These cars are also tailored specifically for low rolling resistance and reduced air drag, the company added. The low figures for the C30, S40 and V50 were made possible with an advanced start/stop system.
Here are the figures:
Volvo C30, 3.9 l/100km, 104g CO2/km
Volvo S40, 3.9 l/100km, 104g, CO2/km
Volvo V50, 3.9 l/100km, 104g, CO2/km
Volvo V70, 4.9 l/100km, 129g, CO2/km
Volvo S80, 4.9 l/100km, 129g CO2/km
Volvo XC60, 6.0 l/100km, 159g CO2/km
Volvo XC70, 6.0 l/100km, 159g CO2/km
"At the Paris motor show in 2008, we began our broad-based launch of the DRIVe models via the C30, S40 and V50. Now both the market and we are ready to step up to the next stage," said Stephen Odell, president and CEO of Volvo Cars. "By supplementing the DRIVe range with the larger V70, S80, XC60 and XC70, Volvo also has one of the premium segment's strongest ranges of attractive, fuel-efficient cars offering excellent environmental properties."
The Volvo Cars DRIVe range is divided into three categories linked to three emission levels: 120, 140, and 160g CO2/km.
"The categories signal Volvo's highly ambitious CO2 targets in each respective segment," Odell explained. "They also match the special CO2 tax brackets and other governmental green-car incentives found in many European countries. Our aim is to continue to further reduce these levels as we develop new, even more environmentally optimized products."
As of spring 2009, the Volvo C30, S40 and V50 1.6D DRIVe will be offered with an advanced start/stop function. This helps lower emissions to just 104g CO2/km for all three models. The C30, S40 and V50 thus also meet the lowest eco-tax levels (105g) in Europe.
In order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to such an extent, the new DRIVe versions of the C30, S40 and V50 have been equipped with two intelligent new features. One is a start/stop function that allows the engine to switch off when the car is at a standstill -- for instance, while waiting at traffic lights or when stuck in traffic.
If the driver puts the gear lever into neutral and releases the clutch while at a standstill, the engine switches off. The next time the driver presses the clutch, the engine starts up again. This technology can reduce fuel consumption and thus carbon dioxide emissions by 4-5 percent in mixed driving conditions. Start/stop technology is particularly effective in urban traffic, when the savings may be as much as 8 percent.
While the car is at a standstill and the engine is switched off, some electronic systems such as the air conditioning step down to standby level in order to save fuel. However, the start/stop system continuously monitors the comfort level and automatically reactivates the relevant systems if, for instance, the temperature increases in the passenger compartment. The system does not set any limits for comfort-enhancing features such as the sound system or other facilities that the customer wants to maintain.
This Volvo monitoring system has been made possible with an additional small battery that supports the larger battery by providing extra power. Thanks to this extra battery, Volvo's DRIVe models also feature particularly quick and smooth start-up and the audio system, for instance, remains totally unaffected when the starter motor is activated, Volvo said. What's more, the standard larger battery has been upgraded to handle up to 175,000 start/stop cycles.
The driver continuously receives feedback about system status via the in-car information display. The start/stop function can be engaged and disengaged via a special DRIVe button in the center console. In the default setting, the function is activated. In the future, this special DRIVe button will also regulate additional systems such as the DRIVe "economy settings" for particularly fuel-efficient performance that are on the way in forthcoming models, the company said.
The other new feature in the C30, S40 and V50 DRIVe 1.6D with start/stop is what is known as a regenerative charge facility. This is a function that charges the battery as soon as the driver releases the accelerator or brakes while a gear is engaged. By harnessing the car's kinetic energy, the alternator does not have to use diesel fuel as a power source when the battery's charge level dips. Fuel savings of between 2 and 3 percent can be achieved with this function.
For the first time, the Volvo V70 and S80 are now also being offered in DRIVe versions in Europe. The cars are equipped with the same powertrain -- 1.6-liter diesel engine and manual gearbox -- as the smaller models but with specially tailored engine software and different ratios in third, fourth and fifth gears.
The optimized powertrain is a major aid in helping Volvo's larger sedans and family cars significantly cut their fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
"We feel that the customer should not have to compromise on either driving properties or comfort, despite the smaller engine size," said Magnus Jonsson, senior vice president of product development at Volvo Cars.
Several other factors also contribute to the reduction in fuel consumption. For example, the tires are designed for low rolling resistance, and a number of special features help reduce air drag, Volvo said. In addition, Volvo Cars' engine experts have succeeded in reducing friction and pump losses in the diesel engine and in cutting the pressure drop in the intake and exhaust systems.