The increasingly intensive debate on climate change
and rapidly rising oil prices on the world market have
prompted a sharper focus on the automobile industry’s
work on alternative fuels and powertrains.
Volvo Cars has developed and marketed methanol-powered cars for more than ten years – and the aim for the future is to further expand the range of alternative powertrains.
“After more than a century dominated by petrol and diesel, we are now facing a period in which regional priorities, resources and preconditions will create a world market for a variety of alternative fuels,” says Lex Kerssemakers, head of branding, business strategy and product planning at Volvo Cars. “We will offer the technical solutions that the market wants, and will continue to be a competent partner with a firm focus on sustainable mobility,” he adds.
“The development of environmental technologies in cars is largely governed by political decisions, and Volvo Cars welcomes legislative measures such as tax relief in the short and medium terms aimed at establishing a market for alternative fuels. Once a fuel is established, it should be able to bear its own cost. A stable long-term energy policy is crucial to continued investment in the development of vehicles and infrastructure for alternative fuels.”
Focus on renewable fuels and hybrid technology
“We already have a very strong offer as regards powertrains for alternative fuels,” explains Lex Kerssemakers. “Five of the eight models in Volvo’s product range feature alternative powertrains. The Volvo S40 and Volvo V50 will shortly be available in a FlexiFuel version running on E85 (85% ethanol and 15% petrol). The Volvo S60, Volvo V70 and Volvo S80 are offered in Bi-Fuel variants, that is to say powered by engines running on methane (natural gas and biogas) with petrol serving as the back-up fuel.
The main thrust of short-term and medium-term development at Volvo Cars is on methane and biogas, ethanol and hybrid technology.
“In the short and medium terms, we expect increased sales of cars that can run on renewable fuels such as biogas and ethanol. Hybrid technology, involving cars that are powered by both electricity and petrol, is an area in which demand is increasing, particularly in the USA and Japan,” says Lex Kerssemakers. “We also hope that it will be possible to increase low-level blends of biofuels such as ethanol and RME in petrol and diesel, since this is an environmentally very effective way of exploiting liquid biofuels.”
“Volvo Cars continues with its strategy of always leading the way and of always delivering market-optimised environmental solutions that our customers find attractive.”
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