BY GERRY MILES
Think of this as the Swedish example of KISS: Keep It Simply Swedish.
With a new set of engine variants in its 4-cylinder engine stable, Volvo is producing more efficient gasoline and diesel iterations for the future. With independence to build things on its own now, tossing in an electric drivetrain, Volvo is eager to embrace what it views as increased flexibility and quality.
“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,” says Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain Engineering.
Modern production plant with efficient 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 about 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 the engine versions are built on the same line, which runs through the new part of the plant and makes for very efficient production.
“One of the biggest challenges was the remodelling of the line for cylinder block processing. 30 machining cells were replaced or converted at a cost of about half a billion kronor,” says Oskar Falk, Vice President Global Engine Production.
Billions invested in a competitive engine family
Development and investment in the new engine family is part of a comprehensive expansion plan at Volvo Cars. About two billion kronor was 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.
Developed at Volvo Cars
The new VEA engines were developed by a Swedish team of engineers. The new, smaller engines are optimized 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 and what we wanted to offer them in regard to good fuel economy, low environmental impact and immense driving pleasure at an attractive price. At the same time, however, it’s also about the fact that Volvo Cars gets a sound basis for developing future-generation technologies featuring fuel economy of absolute world class,” says Derek Crabb.
Launched this autumn
VEA consists of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. Together with driveline electrification, VEA replaces the previous eight engine architectures on three different platforms.
The new 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 2000 units a week.
The first variants will be fitted to the Volvo S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70 and S80 in autumn 2013.