Volvo Downsize Engine

September 14th, 2011
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Founded nearly 85 years ago, Volvo, an established automotive company has dedicated their years to the promise of passenger and pedestrian safety.

Recently, Volvo has developed a new desire, to fulfill the goal of having no-one die as a result of a Volvo accident by the year 2020. With that being said they will be introducing a range of newer, lighter, smaller and fuel-efficient engines in their company-wide downsizing of their engines.

No More Than Four

In the past Volvo, alongside every other automaker, has offered its share of high-capacity engines with six or more cylinders. Putting them in models anywhere from Station Wagons to SUVs. But, just last year Volvo dropped it 311-horsepower, 4.4 liter V8 gasoline engine from its 2011 XC90 lineup, stating it just wasn’t need.

“It’s time to stop counting cylinders,” said Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Volvo. “At the Frankfurt Motor Show we will reveal a new concept car. It proves that downsized engines can go hand in hand with our customers’ expectations on luxury and driving pleasure.”

Volvo says the new four-cylinder Volvo Environmental Architecture (VEA) engines will be up to 200 pounds lighter, more powerful than its current six-cylinder engines, and consume up to 35 percent less fuel than its current four-cylinder engines, unlike the gas-guzzling straight-4 found in Volvo Station Wagons of years passed.

Kinetic Energy Recovery System

Later on this year, Volvo said they would be testing a flywheel hybrid system, which claims to reduce discharges by 20 percent while increasing power output by 80hp.

The Flywheel Hybrid System is a heavy, high-speed rotating disc that builds up kinetic energy (the force that causes movement) as it spins, and further, it stores exponentially more energy the heavier it is and the faster it rotates.

Based on the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) principles used in Formula 1 racing cars, Volvo’s system will evoke braking energy and store it in an ultra-low friction flywheel capable of spinning at up to 60,000 rpm.

Volvo is also planning a new vehicle architecture called Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA), which they say will allow most models to be built on the same production line, regardless of the size or complexity of the vehicles.

This evens the playing field, allowing Volvo to beat out their competitors in areas such as driving dynamics and fuel economy. In addition, SPA will allow for much lighter vehicles, with weight reductions in the range of 100-150 kg. compared to current models in Volvo’s lineup.

“The new architecture means we can sharpen our design language, carving out just the right athletic and dynamic aura that is so important to the most demanding prestige car buyers,” says Peter Horbury, Vice President Design at the Volvo Car Corporation.

Volvo plans to unveil the new automotive concept at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, demonstrating how the SPA can also offer designers a larger freedom for designing.

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