Volvo Cars' new DRIVE-E powertrains - efficient driving pleasure with world-first technologies
Volvo Car Group's (Volvo Cars) new DRIVE-E range of powertrains takes efficient driving pleasure to a new dimension, where the number of cylinders doesn't reflect power or drivability. The first engines from the two-litre, four-cylinder DRIVE-E power train family will be launched in autumn 2013. The most powerful gasoline version arrives with a class-leading combination of a compressor and a turbocharger.
"We have created smaller, more intelligent engines with power curves that give exciting driveability compared to engines with more cylinders yet deliver the fuel economy of only four cylinders," says Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain Engineering at Volvo Cars, "In addition, by adding electrification such as plug-in hybrid technology, we will reach power figures in the V8 territory."
The whole DRIVE-E range, which during the development phase was called Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA), consists of exclusively four-cylinder engines. They replace eight engine architectures on three platforms. DRIVE-E petroleum versions will start at 140 hp and go all the way up to 300-plus hp.
Several levels of turbo charging open up the flexibility to cover the whole range, from fuel-efficient derivatives through to high power and torque variants. In order to cover all customer requirements, some engines will also gain added performance via electrification or other spearhead technology in the future.
Three DRIVE-E engines
Initially, the new S60, V60 and XC60 will be available with the 306 hp turbo T6 and the 245 hp T5. A new 8-speed automatic gearbox contributes to a refined drive and excellent fuel economy. The T5 will also be available in the new Volvo XC70 and S80.
Volvo Cars' powertrain experts have developed the engines in-house. They are being built at Volvo Cars' high-tech engine plant in Skövde, Sweden.
New eight-speed automatic gearbox
In order to deliver the desired responsive, smooth and fuel-efficient drivability, the engines are teamed with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox, tuned for improved fuel economy.
"The sophisticated DRIVE-E technologies give the customer high performance, improved fuel economy, considerably lower emissions and a powerful sound character. Our four-cylinder engines will offer higher performance than today's six-cylinder units and lower fuel consumption than the current four-cylinder generation," says Derek Crabb. He adds: "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 anywhere from 10 to 30 percent, depending on which engine you're comparing it to."
Petrol engine with compressor and turbo
Using the supercharger to fill in the bottom end torque gives the petrol engine a big, naturally aspirated feel. The mechanically linked compressor starts to function immediately at low revs, while the turbocharger kicks in when airflow builds.
Other improvements to the DRIVE-E petrol engines include friction-reduction measures such as ball bearings on the camshaft, high-speed continuous variable valve timing and intelligent heat management with a fully variable electric water pump.
Prepared for electrification
The DRIVE-E engines are prepared for future electrification from the start. Key components, such as the Integrated Starter Generator, can be connected easily - and the compact size of the four-cylinder engines means that the electric motor can be fitted in the front or rear of the vehicle. The battery pack will be located in the centre of the car.
Downsizing without compromises
Volvo Car Group is highly confident that the focus on four-cylinder DRIVE-E powertrains is the right way to create the desirable blend of power, drivability and fuel efficiency.
"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," says Derek Crabb, concluding: "When I was involved in Formula One engines, they were producing 1.5-litre turbo charged engines capable of over 900 hp. 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."