The strategy of four-cylinder engines and driveline electrification is the path that Volvo Cars has chosen for the future. With total control over the development and production of engines and drivelines and by reducing the number of engine variants, the result is increased flexibility and greater ability to influence 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.
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 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.
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.
The new VEA engines were developed by a Swedish team of engineers. The new, smaller engines are optimized to 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.
VEA consists of exclusively four-cylinder 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, XC70 and S80 in autumn 2013.