Monday 13 May 2013

Volvo Car starts new engine family

Volvo Car Group has begun production of the first engine variants in the new, high-efficiency four-cylinder engine family.

The development and production take place in-house at Volvo Car Group and form a vital part of the company's strategy for independence.

The strategy of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and driveline electrification is the path that Volvo Cars has chosen for the future. With its ability to control the development and production of engines and drivelines and by reducing the number of engine variants, Volvo Cars claims the result is increased flexibility.

"This marks a milestone in Volvo Cars' history. With our new engine family we are focusing on two additional vital properties - driving pleasure and fuel efficiency," said Derek Crabb, vice president powertrain engineering.

                                    State-of-the-art assembly

In Volvo Car Group's engine plant in Skövde, preparations for the production start of the new Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA) engines have been under way for two years.

One of the highlights is a brand-new, state-of-the-art addition to the plant for assembly of the new engines. All versions are built on the same line, which runs through the new part of the plant and makes for efficient production, claims Volvo Car.

"One of the biggest challenges was remodelling the line for cylinder block processing. Some 30 machining cells were replaced or converted at a cost of about half a billion kronor," claimed Oskar Falk, vice president global engine production.

Development and investment in the new engine family is part of a comprehensive expansion plan at Volvo Cars.

About two billion kronor has been invested in the Skövde plant. This secures operations there and a large number of jobs for a “long time to come”. The investment is the most important in the engine plant's history.

                                Downsizing at Volvo Cars

The new VEA engines were developed by a Swedish team of engineers. The new, smaller engines are optimised and deliver higher performance than today's six-cylinder units, while offering lower fuel consumption than the current generation of four-cylinder units.

"During the development of VEA, the starting point was our customers. We wanted to offer them good fuel economy, low environmental impact and immense driving pleasure at an attractive price. At the same time, however, it is also about the fact that Volvo Cars gets a sound basis for developing future-generation technologies featuring fuel economy of absolute world class," said Crabb.

VEA consists of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. Together with driveline electrification, VEA replaces the previous eight engine architectures on three different platforms.

Interestingly, JaguarLandRover has chosen to follow the same path as Volvo Car with the introduction of the Hotfire four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines in 2014 - 2015.

The new Volvo Car engines will be introduced between 2013 and 2015. Almost 20,000 engines will be produced in 2013, and by the end of the year the production pace will be 2,000 engines a week. The first variants will be fitted to the Volvo S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 in autumn 2013.

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