Together with the introduction of three fuel-efficient DRIVe cars with CO2 emissions below 120 g, Volvo Cars is unveiling an aggressive roadmap for cutting CO2 emissions. The aim is to have DRIVe models with emissions of about 100 g/km (3.8 l/100 km) within a few years. An innovative micro-hybrid will be introduced in 2011, followed a year later by a diesel hybrid.
"Environmental focus is naturally a high priority. In parallel with work on a diesel hybrid, we are conducting an intensive hunt to cut CO2 emissions throughout the driveline range. Within a couple of years we will have cars with emissions below 100 g/km," says Volvo Cars CEO and President Stephen Odell.
The systematic measures for getting there encompass both optimisation of drivelines and components on the car itself, for instance regarding aerodynamics and rolling resistance.
"Together these measures offer huge potential and we will achieve significant results during the coming three-year period," says Stephen Odell.
The aim is that the DRIVe versions of the Volvo C30, S40 and V50 should touch the 100 g (3.8 l/100 km) target within a few years.
In 2011, the aim is that Volvo customers will be able to buy a Volvo S60 with CO2 emissions below 120 g/km (4.5 l/100 km), a Volvo S80 that produces less than 130 g/km (4.9 l/100 km) and a Volvo XC60 below 140 g/km (5.3 l/100 km). All these variants will be diesel-powered.
Innovative micro-hybrid with unique benefits
The big improvements in 2011 will be achieved not least with the so-called micro-hybrid that will be introduced in early 2011.
Volvo Cars' innovative micro-hybrid, that is to say a start-stop function that switches off the combustion engine when the vehicle is at a standstill, offers several benefits compared with other manufacturers' solutions.
It can be used in combination with both manual and automatic transmission. With a manual gearbox, it additionally gives the driver the opportunity to change his mind, that is to say the engine can be started immediately even if the car has not come to a complete standstill. Nor does the gear lever need to be put into neutral.
"A micro-hybrid gives fuel savings of 4-5 percent in a mixed driving cycle. However, the actual effect is considerably greater when driving in the city with its frequent stop-go traffic. Our system also has the benefit of being able to be adapted to most of our drivelines," explains Magnus Jonsson, Senior Vice President, Research & Development at Volvo Cars.
GTDi technology in petrol engines
When it comes to petrol engines, Volvo Cars will in 2009 start introducing a new generation of four-cylinder turbocharged engines with direct injection, a technology known as GTDi (Gas Turbo Direct injection).
"GTDi technology makes it possible to step down one engine size from five to four cylinders with unaffected performance, but with 20-30 percent lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions," explains Magnus Jonsson.
Diesel hybrid with an electric motor on the rear axle
In the diesel hybrid that Volvo Cars is developing, the front wheels are driven by a further-developed variant of Volvo's five-cylinder D5 turbodiesel, while the rear wheels get a separate electric motor.
Cooperation between the two power sources and the distribution of power between the two pairs of wheels are electronically controlled to provide both effective four-wheel drive and the lowest possible fuel consumption in different driving scenarios.
This diesel engine in the hybrid system also comes with a start-stop function that switches off the engine when the car is at a standstill.
"The diesel hybrid is a highly interesting solution since it is based on a sophisticated combination of the already energy-efficient diesel and electronics. Unlike a petrol hybrid, our solution will offer considerable environmental benefits both in city driving and when out on the open highway," says Stephen Odell.
When it is launched in 2012, the diesel hybrid is expected to cut what will by then already be a lower fuel consumption figure by an additional 10-15 percent.
Plug-in hybrid next step
The next step is a plug-in hybrid, which is scheduled to come after 2012. The battery pack in a plug-in hybrid is recharged overnight via a regular household power socket and this gives the car an operating range of about 100 kilometres on electric power alone. If necessary, the car's combustion engine starts up to recharge the batteries while driving.