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Volvo electric and hybrid roll-out

Volvo is expected to start rolling out hybrid models from 2012.

That’s Volvo’s plan as it begins to roll out a range of electric and hybrid cars. It is making its own four-cylinder engine and plans to turbocharge it and add it to hybrid drivetrains within a few years. That means the end of Volvo five and six-cylinder engines, says Volvo’ senior vice president for product, Lex Kerssemakers. Speaking to Carsguide in Frankfurt, Mr Kerssemakers says Volvo’s Chinese owners - Geely - have supported the Swede and allowed a fresh look at new product.

Though Mr Kerssemakers was reticent on detail, he says Volvo was now ready to release a new S40 - and its wagon variant, the V50 - which would boast increased fuel efficiency. “We had to ook at what we were and what we represented to our buyers,’’ he says. “We have always been seen as a company that was very aware of its social responsibility - and that includes the emissions of our cars - through safety. “We have progressed to making very good looking cars. We also make very good turbocharged engines - we have been doing turbocharging for 30-odd years - so now we have the basis for a step into the future.’’

Kerssemakers says the new four-cylinder engine will be available in power outputs from 110kW to 220kW and deliver up to 440Nm of torque. “Now, put that with an electric hybrid drive with 200Nm and you have a very fast car that is capable of very low fuel consumption,’‘ he says. “Instantly, you have a sports car. It’s a very clear choice for us - ditch the cylinders. “We are developing our own engine nd it will be available in a few years. There will be overlap from the existing engines but ultimately, we will be a four-cylinder car company with hybrid and plug-in electric capability.’’

Volvo is trialling a fleet of C30 plug-in cars in Scandanavia and is expected to start rolling out hybrid models from 2012. Kerssemakers says while Sweden doesn’t offer government subsidies for private motorists who choose low-emission cars such as hybrids, he says the cost benefit to the owner was very significant. Kerssemakers expressed concern about the plight of Saab. He says the possible loss of the company from Sweden would be “devastaing’‘ to supplier companies and to Sweden itself. “It also affects engineering and design students coming through universities and in that way, erodes Sweden’s value as a supplier of intellectual property,’‘ he says.

Saab is still fighting for financial survival and was absent at the Frankfurt motor show.

Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist
GoAutoMedia Cars have been the corner stone to Neil’s passion, beginning at pre-school age, through school but then pushed sideways while he studied accounting. It was rekindled when he started contributing to magazines including Bushdriver and then when he started a motoring section in Perth’s The Western Mail. He was then appointed as a finance writer for the evening Daily News, supplemented by writing its motoring column. He moved to The Sunday Times as finance editor and after a nine-year term, finally drove back into motoring when in 1998 he was asked to rebrand and restyle the newspaper’s motoring section, expanding it over 12 years from a two-page section to a 36-page lift-out. In 2010 he was selected to join News Ltd’s national motoring group Carsguide and covered national and international events, launches, news conferences and Car of the Year awards until November 2014 when he moved into freelancing, working for GoAuto, The West Australian, Western 4WDriver magazine, Bauer Media and as an online content writer for one of Australia’s biggest car groups. He has involved himself in all aspects including motorsport where he has competed in everything from motocross to motorkhanas and rallies including Targa West and the ARC Forest Rally. He loves all facets of the car industry, from design, manufacture, testing, marketing and even business structures and believes cars are one of the few high-volume consumables to combine a very high degree of engineering enlivened with an even higher degree of emotion from its consumers.
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