Press Releases

Volvo Cars and the Environment 2008

Since the early 1970s, Volvo Cars Corporation's commitment to the environment covers the entire lifecycle of the vehicle, from design, engineering and production to useful life, service and recycling. Efficient energy and resource utilisation and reduced emissions is in focus, as is an allergy-friendly in-vehicle environment. During 2008, DRIVe subbrand was launched as a symbol for Volvo Cars' environmental commitment in Europe.

DRIVe covers not only CO2 and fuel consumption, but everything from production to recycling. It reflects our commitment to sustainable mobility and the drive towards zero emissions, and represents our promise for continued improvement.

Investment on reducing carbon dioxide emissions
One of the greatest challenges facing the automobile industry is to reduce fuel consumption and, as a result, emissions of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, which contribute to climate change. Volvo Cars has invested 11 Bn SEK from 2006-2011 as a first step to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 by approximately 25%.

For the European market, some examples of this work include:

  • Economical diesel variants of the C30, S40 and V50 models with fuel consumption of just 4.4 litres/100 km (C30) or 4.5 litres/100 km (S40 and V50). The corresponding CO2 figures of 115 and 118 g/km mean that the C30 and V50 have best-in-class CO2 emissions in their segments.
  • Continued development of engines and gearboxes - such as C30/C70/S40/V50 2.0D Powershift, an automatic gearbox reducing fuel consumption about 8% compared to the conventional automatic gearbox.
  • Vehicles driven by alternative fuels, such as the bioethanol-powered Volvo C30/S40/V50/V70/S80 Flexifuel, and the announced V70 2.5FT/Gas in Sweden - for five different fuels: E85, biogas, CNG, hythane (biomethane with low-blend of hydrogen); V50 Tri-Fuel in Italy - for E85, LPG and petrol; and V50 Multi-Fuel in Switzerland - for E85, CNG, biogas and petrol.
  • Ongoing research into aerodynamics - through our state-of-the-art wind tunnel - as well as into rolling resistance and weight reduction - for our complete range of vehicles.

Wide range of alternative fuels and technologies
Volvo Cars has one of the automobile industry's broadest ranges of E85 models in Europe. All told, five models are on offer, each available with one or two Flexi fuel engines. In 2008, the Volvo V70 and Volvo S80 were introduced with a five-cylinder 2.5-litre turbocharged Flexifuel engine producing 200 hp (147 kW) and 300 Nm of torque. The Flexifuel variants of the Volvo S40, V50 and C30 have a four-cylinder 1.8-litre engine (1.8F) producing 125 hp (92 kW) and 165 Nm of torque. The newest Flexifuel market is Thailand, where Volvo offers C30 1.8F and S80 2.5FT.

In Sweden, the company competed in the 2008 Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC) with an E85 bioethanol-powered Volvo C30, and finished fourth overall.

Further, Volvo Car Sweden has begun cooperating with Göteborg-based supplier Alternative Fuel Vehicles to modify the V70 2.5FT, currently drivable on E85 or petrol, to include also biogas/natural gas and hythane (biomethane with low-blend of hydrogen) as additional fuels for this model - making it a true multi fuel vehicle. Multi fuel Volvo vehicles are also under development or on offer in Italy, Germany and Switzerland.


Cutting fuel consumption is the biggest challenge facing the automobile industry and electric hybrid technology can offer an improvement in fuel economy of about 5-40%, depending on which technology is used - from start-stop to full hybrids. Volvo Cars' new hybrid development centre in Göteborg represents a major step on the road to sustainable mobility.

Five models nominated for Green Car of the Year award

The C30, S40 and V50 DRIVe models and the V70 and S80 2.5FT (bioethanol powered) have all been nominated for World Green Car of the Year 2009. The winner will be announced at the New York International Auto Show in April 2009. Volvo Cars has the largest number of candidates in the Green Car of the Year 2009 competition with five models in the 22-vehicle line-up.


New state-of-the art wind tunnel
One of the world's most advanced wind tunnels is Volvo Cars' new tool in the quest for lower fuel consumption and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Volvo Cars is the first manufacturer to own a wind tunnel that fully simulates the airflow around and underneath the vehicle's body, combined with wheel rotation on a flat road surface.


"Our 20 Million Euro investment is already paying quick dividends. We have succeeded in reducing air resistance in the new Volvo C30 DRIVe by more than 10 percent. This in turn leads to around 3 grams lower CO2 emissions per kilometre," explains Tim Walker, aerodynamics expert at Volvo Cars.

Offering an allergy-friendly in-vehicle environment is a high priority for Volvo Cars. Achievements include:

  • All upholstery materials and interior textiles are tested for over 100 harmful or allergenic substances and emissions, and meet the requirements of Oeko-Tex Standard 100.
  • All leather is chrome-free
  • Nickel leakage from metal components is minimised.
  • Volvo Cars' advanced Interior Air Quality System (IAQS) reduces the levels of certain harmful gases and particulates. With the launch of the new Volvo S80 in 2006, the company introduced the Clean Zone Interior Package (CZIP) for the European market, a feature developed specifically for allergy-sufferers, and providing interior air recommended by the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association.
  • • The Swedish Asthma & Allergy Association now recommends four Volvo models - the S80, V70, XC70 and XC60 when equipped with Clean Zone Interior Package. The CZIP consists of IAQS and automated ventilation. The IAQS is available with all models.

New recycling train and press line inaugurated
Volvo Cars Body Components in Olofström is investing in the future. The most modern stamping system in Europe - a new line with five presses and ten robots - produces body parts for the Volvo XC60. And the new Recycling Train, which transports scrap for reuse, means about 5,000 fewer truck transports and 55 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions in one year.


Climate-neutral electricity at Volvo
Since 1 January, 2008, Volvo Cars manufacturing units in Europe use only green electricity in the form of hydropower, thus supporting development of climate-neutral electricity production. Hydropower for production represents the company's latest step in making manufacturing centers in Europe climate-neutral.


Reduced lifecycle impact
Over the last forty years, Volvo Cars has reduced the environmental impact of manufacturing by a significant extent. An example is the emission of solvents - an area of priority in the automotive industry as a whole. Volvo Cars only uses climate-neutral electricity at our manufacturing units in Sweden and Belgium.
At present, new Volvo vehicles are designed to be 85%* recyclable, and for 95% recoverability. In addition, the Volvo XC60 is RRR-certified (Reuse, Recycling, Recovery) to 95%. This model is Volvo's first to be type-approved with regard to recycling. In order to secure this approval, the manufacturer must show how the vehicle is recycled at the end of its life.
Volvo Cars is also involved in a number of environmental projects in partnership with AB Volvo. An example is Volvo Adventure, an environmental competition for young people around the world conducted in collaboration with UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme).
* In accordance with regulations including European Directive 2000/53/EC on ELVs (End-of-Life Vehicles).
1945 Volvo introduces remanufactured spare parts - an exchange system still in use
1972 UN Global conference on the environment in Stockholm: Volvo raises the critical role of the car in society
1976 Three-way catalytic converter with oxygen sensor (Lambdasond®) removes up to 90% of noxious exhaust fumes - first on market.
1982 Torslanda plant begins to use waste heat from local oil refinery
1987 Torslanda water treatment plant removes 90% of harmful effluents
1989 New, proactive environmental policy
1989 Life-cycle assessment using EPS (Environmental Priority Strategies in product design)
1989 Volvo demonstrates alcohol power technology: cleanest car tested to date
1989 Introduction of internal environmental audits
1989 Plastics in Volvo cars marked to facilitate recycling
1990 First award of Volvo Environment Prize
1991 Volvo Cars first to introduce car free of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
1991 Paintshop at Torslanda plant is the world's cleanest
1992 Asbestos eliminated from car production
1992 Volvo Environmental Concept Car (ECC)
1993 Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) no longer used in climate systems of series-produced Volvo cars
1994 ECRIS, a new research facility for environmentally optimised dismantling
1995 Volvo Bi-Fuel, Volvo Cars' first generation of methane-driven cars for Europe
1995 Introduction of standards to improve dealers' environmental activities
1995 Launch of Car & Eco Care, the Volvo Cars range of environmentally labelled car care products
1996 Dialogue on the Environment provides environmental training for all employees
1996 Introduction of environmental standards for suppliers
1998 Introduction of PremAir® - a radiator coating designed to convert harmful ground-level ozone into pure oxygen
1998 Volvo Cars is first carmaker to publish environmental product information (EPI) for cars (originally named EPD)
1999 IAQS (Interior Air Quality System) introduced for cleaner cabin air
2000 Tailpipe emission control technology from Volvo Cars' ULEV engines becomes available globally
2001 New generation of Bi-Fuel cars for Europe
2002 Volvo Adventure environmental education programme for young people (formerly Volvo Young Environmentalist Award)
2002 PZEV engine introduced in California
2002 New Volvo cars designed for 85% recyclability
2003 Volvo Cars achieves global ISO 14001 certification
2004 Introduction of particulate filter for diesel engines
2004 Volvo Cars' new V8 engine is world's first V8 to comply with ULEV II
2004 Volvo 3CC sustainable mobility concept car unveiled
2004 European Volvo S40 1.6D is first Volvo car with fuel consumption less than 5 l/100 km
2005 Bioethanol (E85) powered Volvo S40/V50 Flexifuel launched in Sweden
2006 Volvo Flexifuel launched in eight more European markets
2007 IAQS & Automatic ventilation recommended by Swedish Asthma & Allergy Association
2007 Volvo Flexifuel offer launched in several more European markets
2007 Volvo Flexifuel vehicle offer broadened - 3 models and 5 engines introduced
2007 Volvo ReCharge Concept - a plug-in hybrid with 100 km battery range - introduced
2008 Volvo uses only green electricity (hydropower) in European manufacturing units
2008  Powershift technology introduced - automatic transmission with 8% lower fuel consumption compared to conventional automatic transmissions. Available in C30/C70/S40/V50 in Europe.

2008 Volvo C30/S40/V50 1.6D DRIVe introduced in Europe - with CO2 emissions of 115 (C30) and 118 g/km (S40 and V50)
2008  Volvo Car Corporation is the first car manufacturer to own a wind tunnel that fully simulates the airflow around and underneath the car's body, combined with wheel rotation on a flat road surface
2008 The Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association recommends for purchase the Volvo S80, V70, XC70 and XC60 when equipped with IAQS and automated ventilation
2008 Volvo V70 2.5FT/Gas announced in Sweden for five fuels: E85, biogas, CNG, hythane (biomethane with low-blend of hydrogen) and petrol; Volvo V50 Tri-Fuel introduced in Italy - for E85, LPG and petrol; and  Volvo V50 Multifuel introduced in Switzerland - for 4 fuels: E85, biogas, CNG and petrol


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