Volvo shuns big bores, opts for efficiency with Drive-E tech

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Date:12 March 2014 Tags:,

‘Drive-E’ is the name given to Volvo’s all-encompassing approach to sustainable driving. Think improved efficiency, powerful engines, plug-in hybrids, high-output batteries, energy recovery systems, and more.

If you thought car engines were all about big bores and lots of cylinders, think again. Volvo’s new Drive-E range of powertrains, recently launched to the local media, focus on optimised output and efficiency rather than cubic centimetres – and the results are impressive.

The eight engines that currently power the Volvo line-up will gradually be reduced to just two: a four-cylinder petrol engine and a four-cylinder diesel. Remarkably, these two engines can be configured to meet the power needs of the entire range, from the V40 hatchback to the future Volvo XC90 SUV.

The first of the new Drive-E engines to arrive in South Africa – the T5 petrol and D4 diesel – are now available across the Volvo 60s range, including the S60 sedan, V60 sportswagon and XC60 SUV. The top-of-the-range T6 Drive-E petrol engine will follow later. The engines are coupled either to a new eight-speed automatic gearbox or to an enhanced six-speed manual, both tuned for improved fuel economy.

Explains Volvo’s Derek Crabb: “The power you get from an engine has nothing to do with its size; it is about the amount of air that you can get to flow through it. You can also make an engine more efficient if you make it smaller. So, if you can get more air through a smaller engine, you can still get the same power, but at better efficiency.”

Producing a formidable 225 kW of power, with CO2 emissions measured at 149 g/km, the Volvo S60 T6 is reportedly the first vehicle in its segment to deliver over two horsepower per gram of CO2. Oh, and it’s no slouch: the car accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 5,9 seconds.

The diesels feature what Volvo call “i-Art” technology. In essence, it works by measuring pressure feedback from each fuel injector rather than using a single pressure sensor in the common rail, making it possible to continuously monitor and adapt the fuel injected into each of the four cylinders. The result: even better fuel economy.

This video explains what Volvo’s Drive-E technology is all about…