Volvo’s current engine strategy relies on a mix of Volvo-designed gasoline and diesel engines, pre-dating the company’s days under Ford ownership, as well as diesels jointly developed by PSA Peugeot Citroën and Ford. At the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, the company signaled that this will change.
A new family of gasoline and diesel engines, featuring a common architecture, is in the works. None of them will have more than four cylinders, and the plans include three-cylinder designs, company officials revealed.
Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development, told AEI, “We are in the midst of developing a complete new engine family, which is actually designed around this four-cylinder strategy.”
The common architecture "gives us a very efficient way of manufacturing and having only one engine installation in our vehicles, which makes it very weight efficient and that’s why we have chosen to go that way," Mertens said.
In this respect the company is adopting a similar strategy to the one it used to design a common five-cylinder gasoline and diesel platform in the early 1990s, for the 850 car range.
Mertens' vision is of a four-cylinder engine with the potential for more power than Volvo’s current inline six-cylinder gasoline engine but with greater fuel efficiency than current four-cylinder designs.
“It helps us to improve not only the proportions of the vehicle but also the weight," he noted. "By reducing the weight of the engine and vehicle, it gives two effects. One is driving dynamics are improved, specifically on the front axle, and the second is lower fuel consumption, so less CO2. It’s one of the big challenges ahead of us. We all have to be at 95 g/km in 2020. This is part of our answer to this.”
Mertens suggested that there will be a mix of turbocharged and normally aspirated engines with direct injection. “We have had an external benchmark on this engine, and we have been praised for using top-notch cutting-edge technology and package space. It will be introduced in 2013.”
The first of the new family will go into existing vehicles. It will then be fitted to Volvo's new vehicle architecture a year later (MY2014). The engines also will be used in Volvo’s future hybrid drivelines.
Commenting on Volvo’s future electrification and hybrid plans, Mertens said, “We’re not going to go with the strategy of doing electric vehicles, by making a showcase by doing 20,000 of them. We want to electrify our regular lineup, so this becomes a choice for the customer, like the choice of an engine or trim level.”