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Volvo VEA engine SOP

Volvo all new engine family starts production

By Andrew Marsh, 16.05.13
Posted in: Manufacturer Profiles | Public
Effectively Geely (owners of Volvo) did not own any engines currently used in the Volvo brand. Until now. This week Volvo Car Group started production of a new pivotal part of their future powertrian strategy – an all new for cylinder engine, produced with either petrol or diesel fueling. This one engine family will replace the current engine line-up:
  • D2, D3, D4 – currently sourced from Ford of Europe, co-designed between Ford and PSA
  • D5 – originally designed and developed by Volvo.
  • 1.6l petrol engine – co-designed between Ford and PSA, built by Ford of Europe.
  • 2l turbo petrol engine – designed, developed and built by Ford of Europe.
  • Five and six cylinder petrol engines – originally designed and developed by Volvo, currently built by Ford of Europe.

The video accompanying the release has a jolly commentary, but what is not said is more interesting. From the video we can see:

  • All aluminium alloy construction with structural alloy sump, as well as the intermediate main bearing bed plate introduced by Porsche for Volvo way back in 1990 (introduced on Volvo 850, fitted to 700 and 900 series too).
  • Gear driven balancer shaft assembly in the sump. This approach has been used before, and should the crank shaft gear slip the balancer unit becomes totally un-balanced….
  • Twin cam phasing – completely in line with current technology.
  • Twin exhaust porting (odd given most of the engines will be turbocharged).
  • No integral exhaust manifold (against the current trend).
  • Lack of system integration, leaving opportunity for a huge array of brackets and widgets to install the engine into each vehicle. Time will tell if the additional parts have been successfully standardised as much as possible.
  • There was no view of the camshafts, which may mean variable lift via lobe phasing as seen on the built up camshaft assembly used on later Dodge Vipers, for example, If so, that would be interesting.
  • It is a clean, but tall engine. So it is going to be angled from the vertical in the car, or drivers will be equipped with periscopes to see over the top of the engine.

JLR are following exactly the same path, with the build of a new powerplant factory dedicated to four cylinder engines only. This makes sense with the replacement of the Ford made V6 and V8 engines (petrol as well as diesel) with four cylinder hybrid drive powertrains. Naturally this also allows JLR to replace the Ford / PSA four cylinder engines too.

Why move?

Ford gave JLR and Geely 5 years from point of sale to continue using their components under licence. After that point JLR and Volvo would either have to replace the parts or extend the purchase agreement with Ford.

Next step for Volvo?

The introduction of Geely Emigrand EC7 to rest of world, which in turn will form the platform for the smaller Volvo range and the new XC40 (perhaps). Additionally the all new flexible architecture for the rest of the range will be introduced, to be seen first on the 2014 XC90 replacement. For the engine – well, expect it to appear mainly in turbocharged form, and for higher outputs in combination with hybrid drive. In that way just one engine layout will cover power outputs from around 100 bhp through to more than 300 bhp, depending on model application.

Very, very exciting times ahead.

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