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Volvo Says New Drive-E Powertrains Will Offer 13-26 Percent Fuel-Efficiency Improvement

August 22, 2013

The new lineup of Drive-E engines from Volvo will include two gasoline models that will be available in the U.S. in future Volvo vehicles. Photo courtesy Volvo Cars.
The new lineup of Drive-E engines from Volvo will include two gasoline models that will be available in the U.S. in future Volvo vehicles. Photo courtesy Volvo Cars.

Volvo provided technical details about its new Drive-E powertrains, which represent a new direction for the company. The new engine family features a mix of high-efficiency gasoline engines, and a diesel engine, designed to be compatible with future electric powertrain technologies, according to the automaker.

The new Drive-E engines, originally called Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA) by the automaker, are smaller, lighter (by 100 lbs. on the company’s higher performance engine), and improve fuel efficiency by 13 to 26 percent, Volvo stated. The automaker plans to release fuel economy number before vehicles with Drive E powertrains arrive in the market.

The Drive-E engine family consists of two four-cylinder gasoline engines, one common rail diesel engine, and one direct-injected gasoline engine. These engines will replace eight engine architectures on three platforms. The diesel and gasoline engines share the same architecture, Volvo stated.

For the U.S. market, Volvo plans to offer the T6 four-cylinder turbocharged and supercharged 2.0L 240 hp engine and the T5 four-cylinder 2.0L turbocharged 302 hp engine. The T6 can produce 295 lb.-ft. of torque and the T5 can produce 258 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines are for front-wheel-drive models, according to the automaker.

The automaker doesn’t plan to discontinue all of its other powertrain offerings in the U.S. market and said it will offer its lineup of all-wheel-drive powertrains and the new Drive-E engines. Volvo does eventually plan to transition completely to the new engine lineup, though.

Some of the technologies the automaker is using in the new Drive-E engine family include start-stop and brake regeneration (all engines in the lineup feature these technologies); friction reduction through using ball bearings on the camshaft, high-speed continuous variable valve timing and intelligent heat management with a fully variable electric water pump; the use of turbocharging and supercharging; and an eight-speed transmission.

Lastly, Volvo said it built the engines so the automaker can easily connect them to electric drive components. For example, the integrated starter generator is built for this, according to Volvo, and the size of the four-cylinder engines allows the automaker to put an electric motor in the front or rear of the vehicle (Volvo’s plans for the battery pack are to locate it in the center of future vehicles).

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