GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN -- The Volvo Car Corp. announced that a forthcoming concept car, to be introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show, will showcase the company’s new range of downsized four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines.
The upcoming four-cylinder Volvo Environmental Architecture engine range includes common rail diesels and direct injected gasoline engines. It covers everything from high power and torque variants to fuel-efficient derivatives, the company said.
"Our four-cylinder focus is the perfect way for us to quickly reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption,” said Peter Mertens, Volvo senior vice president of research and development. “We will develop four-cylinder engines with higher performance than today's six-cylinder units and lower fuel consumption than the current four-cylinder generation."
The new VEA engines reduce the number of unique parts by 60 percent, according to Volvo. The new powertrains are also up to 90 kg lighter than the present ones, and fuel economy is improved by up to 35 percent.
Modularity and compact transverse design also lend themselves for future electrification developments. To cover all customer requirements, certain engines will gain added performance via hybrid or other technology, such as flywheel drive.
Later this autumn, for instance, Volvo will become one of the first automakers to test the potential of flywheel drive on public roads. The so-called Kinetic Energy Recovery System captures braking energy in a flywheel that spins at up to 60,000 revs a minute. Once released, this stored energy can either accelerate the car or propel the vehicle once it reaches cruising speed.
"The flywheel system offers the driver an additional 80 horsepower while reducing fuel consumption by up to 20 percent," said Mertens.
Volvo said it will promote economies of scale within the company's own model range via a new vehicle architecture: Scalable Platform Architecture. SPA allows most Volvo models to be built on the same production line regardless of vehicle size and complexity.
"We're taking our technological future into our own hands,” Mertens said. “Both our new architecture and the new engine range will enable us to be on par or even beat our toughest competitors in crucial areas such as driving dynamics and fuel economy."
In addition to the industrial benefits of common vehicle architecture, Volvo said, there are also significant product-related advantages. Upcoming SPA models will be 100-150 kg lighter than current models of the same size. The new architecture enables electrification at all levels -- and new chassis technologies combined with the lower weight and improved weight distribution will boost driving dynamics.