Volvo will use the Frankfurt Motor Show to show off a concept car that lays out the tenets of future Volvo car design. The company plans to exclusively use four-cylinder engines, a flywheel-based hybrid system, and lightweight modular platforms in its future vehicles.
The concept will demonstrate the new Volvo Environmental Architecture of four-cylinder engines, which will available in either diesel-fueled or direct-injected gasoline variants. The VEA can be used to produce vastly different types of engines, theoretically ranging from torquey engines fit for sportier cars, to fuel-sippers ideal for city cars. However, the adaptable, modular nature of the VEA means that 60 percent fewer unique engine parts will be needed to build such an array of engines than before.
In addition, Volvo claims the new engines will be as much as 198 pounds lighter and 35 percent more efficient than current powertrains. The engines are said to produce more power than today’s six-cylinder mills, yet consume less fuel than today’s four-cylinders.
Volvo plans to continue developing its flywheel-based Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), which uses a carbon-fiber flywheel to store energy on vehicle deceleration. When the car accelerates, the flywheel can add an 80-hp boost, helping improve fuel economy by 20 percent. The company will test a KERS-equipped prototype on public roads this fall, which may lead to a production version. Volvo also w2ill continue to work on battery cars, like the C30 electric and V60 plug-in hybrid.
The concept car also provides our first look at Scalable Platform Architecture, which will allow almost any Volvo car to be built on the same core set of chassis components. SPA can apparently be scaled to suit everything from the smallest, simplest cars, to the largest and most complex. Using advanced materials will also help trim 220 to 330 pounds from the weight of current Volvo chassis designs. That would reduce fuel consumption, as well as improving vehicle performance and dynamics.
While Volvo has yet to reveal much about the concept car itself, the company promises that future Volvos will have “more exciting looks.” The company uses words like “dynamic,” “athletic,” and “prestige” to define the new styling language that will be seen on the concept and future production models. We hope to learn more once the car is unwrapped at Frankfurt.