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3 turbos for the 4-cylinder high performance Volvo engine prototype


Volvo has presented a unique combination of performance and efficiency with the High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept – a triple boost 2-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine with a power output of 450 hp.

Following the introduction of Volvo’s Drive-E Powertrain range in 2013, Volvo’s powertrain team once again demonstrates its abilities in emission-reducing turbo technology.

Volvo Drive-E 450 hp High Performance Engine - Four Cylinder Triple Boost Technology

“When we launched the Drive-E powertrain family, our aim was to deliver the most advanced 4-cylinder engines in the industry based on emissions and fuel consumption relative to performance and drivability. We knew that 320 hp in our petrol configuration was just a starting point. The 450 hp High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept, demonstrates this ambition and the versatility of the Drive-E Powertrains,” says Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Volvo Car Group.

The 450 hp High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept is based on a set of technologies not usually found in a four cylinder engine. The engine utilizes two parallel turbochargers, which are fed by an electrically powered turbo-compressor. The compressed air from this unit, rather than being fed to the cylinders, is instead used to spool up the two parallel turbochargers. Fuel is fed by a dual fuel pump working at 250 bar pressure. With this kind of power density, this triple boost installation and unique fuel system, enables dynamic drivability without any turbo lag, compared to a mono-turbo.

Dual fuel pump and turbochargers

“There are several high power small size applications where one large turbo is used to create a high level of power available from other manufacturers, but the driving experience suffers due to slow engine response. We felt that with our heritage of being among the first car companies to embrace and offer a broad range of turbo technology since 1981, that we could improve this,” says Michael Fleiss, Vice President of Powertrain Engineering at Volvo Car Group.

The High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept attracted the attention and involvement of Volvo Cars suppliers AVL, Denso and Volvo Polestar Racing at an early stage, which allowed theories and technologies from racing applications to be infused in the development process.

Dual fuel pump by Denso

“This was a very exciting project as we pioneered a combination of technologies in the same application, and the result is a quite unique engine with its high power yet quick response. Above all, its compact size improves weight distribution between the front and rear axle and lowers the center of gravity – two factors that have a significant effect on the handling, whether it is a race car or a street car,” said Mattias Evensson, Race Engine Director at Volvo Polestar Racing.

“It may sound odd, but this 450 hp powertrain concept is an important part of the Drive-E development program. Down-sizing must offer customers attractive and usable power for broad scale emissions reduction to work. Compact powertrains free up space and weight in the structure of the car, which can be used for electrification and even further emissions reduction. And that is our ultimate ambition,” concludes Dr. Mertens.

Source: Volvo
Romain’s opinion:
Looking at the video and hearing the sound of that engine, I’m quite enthusiastic about this concept. I’m wondering how does it rank with its specific power of 225 hp/l against competitors. Do you think it will one day get into production?

1 Comment

  1. Edouard10-08-2014

    Definitely “yes” to your question Romain.

    As far as I remember, BMW already has a 3 turbos engine in production. Correct me if ever I am wrong.
    Also, this engine setup is the way to provide awesum driveability & performance features to the customer while lowering fuel consumption. It makes Premium cars easy & pleasant to drive in in smooth driving conditions, such as real beast when hiting high revs. This is simply what any dad in this planet would ask for 🙂

    still, there are 2 challenges to overcome by Volvo, which are to achieve this expected Reliability and keep it affordable. this might not be so easy.

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