Looking out onto the chaos and noise of the roads today it’s remarkable to see so many Volvo Cars confidently traversing this green and pleasant land of ours, their drivers utilising all of the technology present in their vehicles to allow them to travel paths that others simply cannot reach. Yet when the following news arrived up on the top floor of MotorMartin Towers it was certainly still a surprise, has it only been that long?
Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, is celebrating 20 years of mechanical all-wheel drive (AWD).
“Volvo cars are well known for what we call ‘framkomlighet’ in Swedish – the ability to get you wherever you want to go – regardless of the weather conditions. This is an important part of our heritage and a clear reflection of who we are and where we come from. With the recent addition of electric all-wheel drive to our top-of-the-line products, we have further refined our performance in this important area,” shared Henrik Green, Senior Vice President, Research & Development at Volvo Cars with MotorMartin recently.
Volvo have confirmed with MotorMartin that advances in AWD technology mean that improved handling, stability and traction continue to provide a confident, agile and enjoyable driving experience while reducing fuel consumption.
“Electrification will bring ever more flexibility to AWD. You can see the first signs of this in our XC90 T8 Twin Engine, where we have an electric rear-axle drive unit powering the rear wheels. As we move to full-battery electric vehicles and other powertrain applications, we will see increased opportunities to control each motor and wheel independently, based on either the surface conditions or the desired driving style,” said Henrik Green.
As AWD technology has advanced, the weight of mechanical systems has come down and efficiency has improved. Since the introduction of efficient ‘Active On Demand’ technology, all four wheels are always engaged to allow for the instant distribution of torque to the rear wheels when needed. The actual torque applied is controlled to constantly deliver the right properties regarding handling, stability and traction at any moment. Volvo Cars’ current mechanical AWD system is modular in design and used on all Volvo models.
“We understand the needs of our customers. We understand the need for a flexible AWD solution that quickly and automatically adapts to different real-world, all-weather circumstances. AWD is as much a safety feature as it is a vehicle dynamics system, and we are committed to delivering a confident, balanced and enjoyable driving experience that delivers a feeling of full control,” added Henrik Green.
Rather unsurprisingly, in MotorMartin’s opinion, all-wheel-drive variants account for more than 50 per cent of new 90 series car orders for the Swedish car maker. Across the wider Volvo Cars model range, the figure is more than 40 per cent.
Where will you go?