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Volvo Cars Aims for Environmental Leadership in The Premium Segment


  • Environmental care has top priority
  • Volvo aims to be one of the environmental leaders in the premium segment
  • Innovative technology makes Volvo cars Clean Inside and Out


Environmental leadership means setting priorities. Volvo has a tradition of environmental care, of providing environmental alternatives today and of dedication to future commitments. This holistic approach gives Volvo Cars an excellent position in the quest for environmental leadership in the future.


“Thirty percent of Volvo’s car buyers associate Volvo with the expression “pollution prevention”. It is this foundation on which we will continue to build. Our aim is to be ranked as one of the absolute leaders in the premium segment when it comes to environmentally sound mobility”, says Hans-Olov Olsson, President and CEO of the Volvo Car Corporation.


Sustainable mobility has top priority on the Volvo Car Corporation’s agenda for the future.


“Our commitment to safe mobility needs to be enlarged from the protection of occupants and other road users in collisions to include personal health for all road users and to offer them sustainable mobility solutions”, says Hans-Olov Olsson.


Volvo Cars’ environmental tradition

Volvo has long maintained that although the car contributes greatly to the socio-economic development of society, it is not without side-effects. Already in 1972, we stated that “cars produce pollution, noise and waste”. The Volvo Car Corporation also has a long tradition of developing safety and environmental milestones. Volvo introduced the three-way catalytic converter with Lambda sensor in 1976 – an innovation many people consider to be at least as important to the environment as the safety belt has been to safety.


Since then, Volvo Cars has introduced several important innovations that help alleviate the impact of its products on the environment.


The major environmental challenges

Today we want to concentrate on three major challenges:

  • Global warming, attributed to society’s emissions of greenhouse gases, is becoming one of the biggest environmental concerns of our time. For this reason, reducing emissions of carbon dioxide – a major greenhouse gas – is the biggest environmental challenge now facing the automotive industry.
  • Pollution – especially in our towns and cities – is the second challenge to the industry as poor air quality has adverse effects on human health.
  • The third issue is to provide better mobility in urban areas, where congestion in some cities has become a day-to-day burden for road users.


The solutions

Many people think that the solution from car manufacturers should be futuristic in order to make a difference. Volvo Cars is convinced that advanced technology is necessary but creating good solutions today is equally important.


“In order to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, Volvo Cars believes that in the short term, biogas, a renewable fuel produced from organic material, provides many environmental benefits”, says Anders Kärrberg, Environmental Director at Volvo Car Corporation.


“Volvo Cars sees a future where several solutions are possible. We are researching bio-fuels and hybrids as alternatives”, Kärrberg continues.


Volvo Cars has also launched the Volvo 3CC concept car, an attractive and environmentally efficient small car. The Volvo 3CC is a study of possible future sustainable mobility solutions. Developed in California at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center, its unique design provides enough space for three adults or two adults and two children. (The 3CC is described in detail in another part of this press material.)


“In order to reduce the problem of ground-level ozone, most of Volvo’s models are equipped with PremAir®. Furthermore, Volvo offers PZEV engines, which meet one of the world’s toughest emissions standards – the one applied in several US states”, says Anders Kärrberg.


Methane – a fuel for today and tomorrow

Volvo Cars has developed methane-driven cars which are highly efficient in environmental terms. Carbon dioxide emissions from a Volvo Bi-Fuel model running on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) are about 25 percent lower than those from a petrol engine. A car running on the other methane alternative, biogas, contributes virtually nothing to the global warming problem caused by greenhouse gases. Bi-Fuel cars can also be driven on petrol as a back-up.


These cars have the same characteristics as other Volvo cars – they are equally safe and spacious and deliver the same performance – but with much improved environmental performance in terms of greenhouse gas emissions!



Ground-level ozone is formed when nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons generated by traffic and other sources are exposed to sunlight. Together with other photochemical oxidants in the air, the ozone forms what is commonly known as smog. The problem is greater in the summertime, particularly in the world’s major cities.


Volvo Cars was the first car maker in the world to commercialize the technology known as PremAir®*. PremAir® is a special catalytic coating that is applied to the radiator and converts ground-level ozone into pure oxygen as the car is driven. Studies have shown that up to 75 percent of the ozone that passes through the radiator is converted into oxygen in this way.


* PremAir® is a trademark of Engelhard Corporation


PZEV – Partial Zero Emission Vehicles

PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicles) – one of the world’s toughest emission control standards – is in force in certain American states. Although running on regular petrol, emissions of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides from cars with PZEV engines are extremely low. The new Volvo S40, VolvoV50, Volvo S60 and Volvo V70 are now available with PZEV engines in these states.


Safe and healthy interior

The interior of a Volvo is designed to be healthy and safe – even for people with asthma and contact allergies. Particular attention has been paid to the use of environmentally compatible materials. The interior also complies with the Oeko-Tex 100 ecological standard – a major step towards a healthier in-car environment. Oeko-Tex certification covers components such as fabrics, threads, carpets and safety belts. In addition, the leather used in the upholstery is treated in a chromium-free tanning process based on natural plant extracts, and thus also meets the Oeko-Tex requirements. Other components such as the handbrake button, load anchoring eyebolts, Space Ball and steering wheel badge are tested for contact allergens and meet the EU directive for nickel leakage from jewelry.


Interior Air Quality System (IAQS)

Volvo Cars works systematically to create a healthy passenger compartment environment. A cabin filter helps prevent dust, particulates and pollen from entering the interior through the ventilation system. All Volvos can also be equipped with an interior air quality system, IAQS. This consists of an electronic sensor that monitors the amount of carbon monoxide in the incoming air and closes the air intakes if the level becomes too high, for example in dense city traffic, traffic tailbacks and tunnels. A combined filter with an activated carbon element helps protect the occupants from virtually all unpleasant odors caused, for example, by petrol and diesels exhaust fumes, washer fluid and oil. The combined filter also reduces occupant exposure to gases such as nitrogen oxides, ground-level ozone and hydrocarbons.


Partnerships and society’s commitments

No single car maker can alter global environmental trends. We have to cooperate to get the best results. Volvo Cars operates as part of an international network of public agencies, researchers, manufacturers and other commercial interests to minimize existing environmental problems and help prevent future problems. The purpose of this cooperation is to identify new technical solutions and to inform customers on how environmental impact can be reduced.


It is the automotive industry’s job to build clean cars. But a cleaner society is something we can only build together. As part of its contribution, Volvo Cars is participating in a number of partnerships and societal projects.

  • BIOGAS CITIES is a cooperative project undertaken by Volvo Cars, AB Volvo, local communities and fuel suppliers to encourage increased use of biogas and natural gas.
  • VOLVO ADVENTURE is an international environmental education and competition scheme for young people, a joint project with UNEP, the United Nations Environment Program.
  • VOLVO ENVIRONMENT PRIZE, worth over 200,000 US dollars, is awarded to individuals who make a significant contribution to the advancement of environmental research and development.


EPI – Environmental Product Information

Volvo Environmental Product Information is a unique database which enables the car buyer to assess the lifetime environmental impact of a car and compare different Volvo models and powertrains.


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Descriptions and facts in this press material relate to Volvo Cars' international car range. Described features might be optional. Vehicle specifications may vary from one country to another and may be altered without prior notification.