Volvo announced that its upcoming next-generation diesel engine will have an advanced direct-injection system designed to dramatically reduce its fuel consumption. The i-ART technology consists of an individual fuel-pressure sensor on each fuel injector, allowing the engine computer to more accurately dispense fuel to each cylinder.
Volvo says that the new i-ART sensor and diesel fuel rail allow for adjusting combustion in each individual cylinder; contemporary diesel engines have a single fuel-pressure sensor that oversees all of the cylinders. That allows for more consistent cylinder pressures and, according to Volvo, better power. Moreover, the direct injection system in Volvo's next-generation engines will run at a claimed 36,259 psi, higher than most of today's diesels. Overall, Volvo claims i-ART "can be described as the second step in the diesel revolution" and improves both efficiency and power output.
The system will feature in the first Volvo Environmental Architecture (VEA) engines that launch this fall. First announced in 2011, VEA will consist of four-cylinder gas and diesel engines. They will launch with eight-speed automatic transmissions. Some will be turbocharged, while others may involve electric or flywheel hybrids.
This new series of engines will allow Volvo to kill off five-, six-, and even eight-cylinder engines, fulfilling the Swedish company's promise of eventually offering cars only with four cylinders.
"We will create smaller, more intelligent engines with so much power that they will turn V8s into dinosaurs," Volvo powertrain engineering vice president Derek Crabb said in a statement.
It's still unclear in which vehicles the VEA engines will debut. By 2014, Volvo plans to launch new models on its Scalable Platform Architecture, which is flexible and significantly lighter than current Volvo chassis. Cars will combine SPA and VEA -- similar to Mazda's SkyActiv engines and chassis -- to dramatically reduce fuel consumption.