Volvo announced that its own range of models will be equipped, starting this year, with one engine family produced internally. It will be called Drive E, and will have diesel versions and gasoline ones.
After separation from Ford and the takeover by the Chinese from Geely, some analysts have argued at that time that the manufacturer will sell Scandinavian security secrets to Asia, and then pass away. But with investment from Geely, Volvo has managed to carry on the research work in the field of safety, proposing in recent months a number of world premiere safety systems found cars as standard. To top this off, they now make new engines. These engines are produced independently by Volvo and are developed its own factory in Skövde, Sweden. This is a big step towards separation from Ford.
We're basically talking about two 2.0-liter engines – one with gasoline direct injection and one turbodiesel - which deliver very wide ranges of power due to different levels of the turbine setting.
Officially called Drive-E, the new engines have 4 cylinders, and replace 8 different engine architectures built on 3 different platforms. The diesel engine delivers between 120 and 230 hp, and the gasoline engine is made to go from 140 hp and over 300 hp. In addition, both engines are designed to be able to be part of a hybrid propulsion system with an additional electric motor.
An interesting appearance on the diesel unit is the i-Art system (intelligent-Accuracy Refinement Technology), which Volvo says monitors the activity of each cylinder and adjusts fuel-injected quantity in each cycle.
With the aid of mini-computers attached to the cylinders, the engine manages to consume less, while emitting less CO2 as well as developing a sporty sound.
“The power you get from an engine has nothing to do with its size; it is about the amount of air that you can get to flow through it. You can also make an engine more efficient if you make it smaller. So, if you can get more air through a smaller engine, you can still get the same power but at better efficiency. When I was involved in Formula One engines, they were producing 1.5-litre turbo charged engines capable of over 900 hp. And these new Volvo Drive-E engines have in fact been tested on the racetrack already. The engine we used in Volvo’s WTCC car in 2011 was a Drive-E prototype and by the last race we set a new track record”, told Derek Crabb.
The engines are mated either to a new 8-speed automatic gearbox or an enhanced 6-speed manual, tuned specifically for improved fuel economy.
“We have created smaller, more intelligent engines with power curves that give exciting drivability compared with engines with more cylinders, yet deliver the fuel economy of only four cylinders. In addition, by adding electrification such as plug-in hybrid technology, we will reach power figures in the V8 territory.
Our four-cylinder engines will offer higher performance than today’s six-cylinder units and lower fuel consumption than the current four-cylinder generation. If you take a four-cylinder Drive-E engine versus any six-cylinder engine, there’s a massive weight and size reduction for the same power. Fuel economy savings are anything from 10 to 30 percent, depending on which engine you’re comparing it to” stated Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain Engineering for Volvo Car Group.