Volvo details new Drive-E powertrainsFri, 16 Aug 2013
Volvo released details of its new Drive-E family of powertrains on Friday. Vehicles with the extra-efficient engines will arrive at dealerships early next year.
Drive-E is also Volvo's name for all of its green innovations, encompassing everything from a sustainable manufacturing process, use of recycled materials and low-emission powertrains.
The new Drive-E engines will weigh nearly 100 pounds less than some of the company's current engines, with fuel economy savings ranging from 13 to 26 percent. Official fuel numbers will be available next year, according to Volvo.
Two Drive-E engines will be offered in the United States: a 240-hp gas-powered four and a 302-hp, gas-powered four that uses both a turbo and a supercharger. Volvo also says both engines could get electric power or “other spearhead technology,” and could also work as plug-ins.
Technical features of the new engines include friction reduction with new ball bearings, high-speed continuous variable valve timing and intelligent heat management. The Drive-E cars will also use stop-start and brake regeneration to save energy. An electric oil pump keeps pressure up when the engine is stopped. Volvo says that using a supercharger to boost low-end torque gives the engines a naturally aspirated feel, while the turbo boost kicks in when airflow builds up. Lastly, eight-speed transmissions will cascade down the Volvo range, tuned for efficiency.
These new engines have been prepared for electrification in the future. They both sit transversely in the engine bay, leaving space for an electric motor in the front or back. Volvo says it expects batteries to be located in the center.
Derek Crabb, vice president of powertrain engineering at Volvo sees this architecture as a long-term solution.
“A four-cylinder, transversely mounted engine is a way of building up for an electrified future,” said Crabb. “Hybrids are definitely going to be a dominant part of the top end of our range.”
The 2014 Volvo XC60 will get engines from the Drive-E range.
By Jake Lingeman