It seems like Volvo Cars is not only busy with the revamp of its entire product line, but also a rollout of new engine technologies. After introducing its four-cylinder Drive-E engines last year, the Swedish automaker is now working on powerplants of a smaller scale. Volvo recently revealed that it is currently developing a lightweight three-cylinder gasoline engine.
“Investments from our parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, have enabled us to recapture our position as a leader in the field of powertrain engineering. The development program for the new 3-cylinder engine is very advanced and we have already begun prototype testing of the unit,” Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Car Group, said in a statement.
Just like the Drive-E engine family, the three-cylinder engine project is part of Volvo’s efforts to downsize its engine range. Volvo has made its powertrains in-house since the company was established in 1927 and it has previously made engines with five, six and even eight cylinders. The automaker is now focused on making smaller displacement internal combustion engines that deliver more power but are more fuel efficient.
Michael Fleiss, Vice President Powertrain at Volvo Car Group, said the team learned a lot when they were working on the four-cylinder Drive-E engines and that they applied the knowledge into the development of the three-cylinder engine, which he described as “highly responsive, compact and powerful.”
Fleiss also disclosed that the engine was being developed for Volvo and Geely’s CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform, which will underpin the 40 Series (such as the upcoming S40 sedan, V40 wagon and XC40 crossover). He mentioned that the engine will also be found under the hood of the 60 Series (S60, V60 and XC60 models). Since the compact 40 Series vehicles will debut later, it is likely that the new engine will first be used in the S60 or V60.
The three-cylinder engine is not only flexible in terms of application but also in terms of production. Mertens pointed out that the new powerplant can be built in the same production lines as the four-cylinder variety.
Volvo said that its line of three-cylinder engines could have outputs of as much as 180 horsepower. The automaker will offer both gasoline and diesel variants of these powerplants, with some of them to be equipped with turbocharging and others paired with electric motors for hybrid systems or used as range-extenders for electric vehicles.
Photo credit: media.volvocars.com