Tim O'Brien | Sep 15, 2011

If you're thinking Volvo is heading in the right direction with its current styling themes, here's a glimpse into its technological future.

Coinciding with the unveiling of its Concept 'You' large car at Frankfurt, Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development at Volvo has flagged plans to axe its six-cylinder engine range, to concentrate solely on four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

Volvo is also, as reported on TMR, to develop scalable platform architecture (SPA), allowing a range of models in a range of sizes to share basic chassis structures and the same joint modules and interfaces.

The strategy will also incorporate weight-saving targets.

New models will be 100-150kg lighter than current models with the extensive use of aluminium and high-strength steel in body and powertrain construction.

The new architecture is also planned to allow electrification across the range and stop-start technologies.

Volvo is clearly well-advanced with the strategy. It has announced that it is to begin testing on public roads later this year of a new kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) utilising a flywheel system on the rear axle.

The release of energy when braking triggers the flywheel (it can spin at up to 60,000rpm); the electric energy stored as a result can give the driver an additional 60kW when needed.

"We're now taking our technological future into our own hands," Mertens said.

"It is time to stop counting cylinders. We're aiming to develop four-cylinder engines with higher performance than today's six cylinder units, along with lower fuel consumption than the current generation of four-cylinder engines."

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