End of the Road for Volvo’s Gas Powered Engines

by Editorial Staff

For years Volvo relied on its gas powered engines. But all that is about to change.

Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson stated in an interview with Speaking to Road & Track that the current 3 and 4 gas cylinder Drive E engines will be the last.  Samuelsson also added the company may built an electric compressor for the 2.0L, enabling it to get to 400 HP without the need for hybrid help.

EVs and Hybrids

Samuelsson’s statements did not surprise industry observers. Back in July 2017, he had already stated that electric vehicles (EV) and hybrids will be the future of Volvo beginning in 2019. The company stated in no uncertain terms that 2019 is the “end of the combustion engine only car”.

Steps had been taken in this direction. Weeks prior to the interview, Volvo declared the Polestar brand will now rely on EV and hybrid powertrains exclusively. A company representative also said Polestar trims will still be available for their high end cars.

The shift towards EVs and hybrids is in full gear at Volvo. Its parent company Geely unveiled Lynk and Co, an EV brand based in China. The company also announced that the Geely lineup will be overhauled and use Volvo EV and hybrid technology.

In interviews, Samuelsson has stated the final objective is to make all Volvo cars battery electric. While admitting this will not happen overnight, steps in that direction are being taken.

The Drive E Family

When Volvo unveiled the Drive E in 2013, it produced a good deal of excitement among car enthusiasts. Compared to other internal combustion engines at the time, the Drive E was built from the ground up for use with electrical assisting, super and turbo charging.

The Drive E engines could handle one or all three. Optimized for 2.0L displacements, the Drive E also met the requirements of global emissions tests. The engines were also built for long term use, similar to the engines it replaced.

The previous Volvo engines came out in 1990 and were used in the 960 line. The 2.9L inline 6 lasted for 20 years. In fact, the Drive E didn’t take completely take over the 4, 5 and 6 cylinder engines until 2017.

The Last Gas Engine Family

The announcement that the present generation of twin and single inline engines will be the last indicates how serious the company is with the shift. As Samuelsson said, “Volvo won’t continue using its budget to develop new internal combustion engines.”

The date given is 2019 at the latest, but models with ICE parts will still be around. The average engine product life cycle is 6 to 7 years so they will be around for at least that long. As Volvo goes into a transition period, the company will not manufacture any product with a regular gas ICE.

What the company will do instead is use any of the following powertrains: an (EV) electric vehicle), a plug in hybrid or a 48V mid hybrid assistance. But for the global market Volvo says diesel models can still go on their own.

More Power

Volvo was also quick to assure that shifting to EV and hybrid won’t mean less power. The Volvo hybrid and EVs will produce less emissions but still generate a lot of power. According to Volvo, the motors are going to produce higher revs and all the torque will be relayed to the rear axle.

The goal is or Volvo models to have AWD systems and be faster, safer and more enjoyable. According to Volvo, from 2019 to 2021 they will release 5 new electric vehicles. Two of the vehicles will be under the Polestar brand and the other three from Volvo.

Aside from the vehicles, Volvo plans to invest heavily and develop new technologies. In 2019 there will be a move to infotainment that’s based on Android software, and this is expected to revolutionize car apps. When this is fully implemented a driver can receive assistance for all Google related services.

End of an Era

The termination of gas engine development and marks the end of an era in Volvo. It also shows that the trend towards electric and hybrid vehicles continues to grow. During a press conference Stockholm, Sweden to announce the launch of the 2019 wagon, Volvo talked about the company’s future.

It has been known for sometime that Volvo as headed in this direction. But it is only now that the company firmly stated its future will not include gas powered vehicles. As one industry analyst put it, this announcement spells the end for gas powered drivetrains.

The Drive E engine family is still quite new so experts say you’ll be able to use it for a while. But there is no question where Volvo wants to go. With the development of the SPA architecture for its 2019 vehicles, the future of Volvo will consist of powerful hybrid electric vehicles.

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