"We are working towards a multi-energy society where several energy-efficient solutions interact to deal with the complex climate issues," says Volvo Cars President and CEO Fredrik Arp.
"The carbon dioxide issue has of course top priority. In order to deal effectively with the CO2 challenge, we must work with several different technological solutions that cover our entire model range," explains Fredrik Arp.
Multi-energy and energy efficiency
The terms "alternative fuels" and "fuel consumption" are frequently used in the car industry. However, when discussing the future, Volvo Cars prefers to go via "multi-fuel" to the far broader terms "multi-energy" and "energy efficiency".
"In order to more accurately judge the environmental effect of a new driveline, it is necessary to examine the entire chain from raw material extraction and fuel production to distribution and use in the car. For instance, if a lot of electricity produced by fossil fuels is needed to create a renewable fuel , this will not be CO2-efficient from a holistic perspective even if the emissions from the car's tailpipe are minimal," Fredrik Arp points out.
Holistic approach based on three cornerstones
The holistic view that Volvo Cars applies to driveline technology is based on three cornerstones:
• To innovate. Continuous efficiency improvements to today's petrol- and diesel-powered cars are taking place in parallel with intensive work on new hybrid technology.
• To co-operate. Coordination with customers, politicians, organizations and other companies is a precondition for sustainable transport. Volvo Cars is determined to influence initiatives and decisions that are taken outside the car industry.
• To deliver. Customers in a growing number of European markets will soon have access to one of the automotive world's broadest Flexifuel ranges: five models, three different bioethanol engines.
"At present, bioethanol is the most attractive alternative when you consider availability, environmental effectiveness and cost-efficiency. However, what is regarded as most favorable today may be refined or converted to an even more sustainable solution tomorrow. As an innovative knowledge-based company, we are an active and constructive partner in the global and regional forums that evaluate emerging alternatives for the future. It is our responsibility to deliver the car technology that makes transitions possible," says Fredrik Arp.
Systematization in three phases
Volvo Cars uses a three-phase system for the development of more efficient drivelines:
Hybrid solutions such as the Volvo ReCharge Concept being unveiled in Frankfurt are one example of the technologies that are still at the innovation stage.
Thanks to constructive co-operation between the car industry and several EU member states, E85-powered Flexifuel cars have definitely moved from the testing stage to delivery. Volvo Cars will soon have Flexifuel models available on most European markets.
Volvo Cars is ready for the challenge
This systematic approach is being applied to all enhanced or alternative drivelines within the Volvo Cars development programme. The aim is to stimulate and promote the viability of technological solutions that are sustainable for the environment and for society in general - as well as being cost-effective.
"Few experts today question the significance of the CO2 issue. On the other hand, there are several views and methods for solving the problem in the short and long terms. Volvo Cars is ready to take the step into the multi-energy society that is being created. We understand the difficulties and we have the expertise and the innovative approach it takes to tackle both today's and tomorrow's environmental challenges," says Fredrik Arp.