Products and the Environment

Products and the Environment

Strategic environmental cooperation

Volvo Cars focuses on carbon dioxide in all respects. The environment strategy therefore encompasses the car’s environmental impact throughout its life cycle – from development, use and service to recycling when the car is scrapped. Greatest focus is on the actual use of the car because it affects the environment the most.

The stake on new engines, electrification and a new platform paves the way for efficient technical solutions that make Volvo Cars’ products some of the industry leaders in terms of fuel efficiency.

Even lower carbon dioxide emissions
In 2011, carbon dioxide emissions from Volvo Cars’ fleet were reduced by an additional 4 percent. The fuel-efficient diesel engines made considerable contributions to this reduction, including the C30 DRIVe with 94 grams per kilometre and V50 DRIVe with 99 grams/km.

Entirely electric powered cars are also developed and tested in parallel. Launching electric cars on a large scale represents a pioneering move in the automotive industry, and one that Volvo Cars has accepted with considerable effort and energy. An example is the fully battery powered Volvo C30 Electric, which has no emissions when driven. In 2011/2012, Volvo Cars delivered a fleet of 250 cars that are now in city traffic in several cities and the response from the users is very positive. C30 Electric is charged with regular household electricity and has a range of up to 150 kilometres. The top speed is 130 km/hour and the car can accelerate from 0 to 50 km/hour in 4 seconds.

Cooperation for the environment
Volvo Cars participates in a number of projects to learn more about environmental issues. Long-term sustainable solutions demand an active cooperation with other companies, the public sector and the research world. Volvo Cars has initiated strategic cooperation with Siemens with a focus on developing technology for electric power, power electronics and charging technology.

Efficient new engines
In 2013, Volvo Cars will be launching its new, Volvo-developed engine family of the Volvo Environmental Architecture (VEA) – four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines that reduce both carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption. The engine is approximately 40 kilograms lighter than today’s engine and improves fuel economy by 15–35 percent, depending on the model. The VEA engines combine high performance with lower emissions and are an excellent alternative for the future. The new lighter platform of the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and opens for electrification of the entire product line. The first out with the platform is the new XC90. Thanks to SPA, most models can be built on the same production line, regardless of the car’s size or complexity, which provides flexibility and efficient resource management in the production process as well.

Tough targets encourage creativity
All markets in which Volvo cars are sold have different legal requirements and it is a challenge to manage them from a product planning perspective. Legal requirements can be fulfilled with sophisticated technology, but the concept of sustainable profitability also includes making cars that customers want and that there is a market for. Studies show that the customers gladly buy environmentally sound cars, as long as they meet their various needs and expectations.

As a next step in the electrification strategy, Volvo Cars is developing test cars with ”range extenders” – a combustion engine that increases the electrical car’s actual range by around 1,000 km – on the top of the 110 km range provided by the car’s battery pack. Carbon dioxide emissions remain below or far below 50 grams per kilometre.

The KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) flywheel technology is also in the pipeline, recycling braking force – a solution originally developed for Formula 1. The flywheel’s stored energy drives the car for brief periods, which reduces fuel consumption by up to 20 percent. At the same time, the combustion engine gets an extra injection that significantly increases the acceleration power.

The future is in smaller engines that provide lower fuel consumption together with various degrees of electrification without compromising on the driving experience. Volvo Cars has a significant research and development budget and is on the forefront of offering sustainable mobility solutions.