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Volvo to Introduce 2.5-Liter Turbocharged E85 Engine

Volvo Flexifuel system for the 2.5FT S80. Click to enlarge.

Volvo will introduce a new five-cylinder, 2.5-liter turbocharged Flexifuel engine with a power output of 200 hp (149 kW) in the Volvo V70 and S80 during the first half of 2008. Both models will also be available sooner with a 2.0-liter Flexifuel engine.

This will bring to five the number of Volvo models—the Volvo C30, S40, V50, V70 and S80—available with one or two Flexifuel engines.

Flexifuel variants of the Volvo V70 and S80 will be available by the end of 2007 powered by a four-cylinder, 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine. The 2.0F has been modified for E85 and produces 145 hp (107 kW) and 185 Nm (136 lb-ft) of torque. The Flexifuel variants of the Volvo S40, V50 and C30 have a four-cylinder 1.8-liter naturally aspirated engine, the 1.8F, which produces 125 hp (92 kW) and 165 Nm (122 lb-ft) of torque.

Flexifuel has considerable potential in larger models too. That is why we plan to continuously expand the implementation of this technology over the coming years. It’s a move that is being driven by the extended availability of biofuels throughout Europe. Biofuel standardization and guidelines for sustainable production within the EU would make the fuel’s development even smoother.

—Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President Brand, Business and Product Strategy at Volvo Cars

Modifications for E85 include:

  • Fuel hoses, valves and gaskets have been adapted to handle ethanol's more corrosive properties.

  • The injection valves have been reinforced and designed for E85 as more fuel is injected into the engine—necessary since the energy content of E85 is lower than that of gasoline.

  • The on-board software is calibrated for E85. The engine management system automatically senses the current blend of fuel in the tank and optimizes the combustion process accordingly.

Fuel consumption (EU combined) Running E85
Engine Model Fuel cons.
Fuel econ.
mpg US
1.8F C30 10.3 22.8
1.8F S40, V50 10.4 22.6
2.0F V70 11.6* 20.3*
2.0F S80 11.3* 20.8*
2.5FT V70, S80 n/a n/a
* Preliminary figure.

Volvo sells its flexfuel cars in Sweden, France, Norway, Finland, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, Ireland, Belgium and Switzerland. The company plans to introduce Flexifuel cars in more countries across Europe. In total, Volvo Cars expects to sell 10,000 cars with this technology in 2007.


Bud Johns

Flex fuel is not rocket science. As the article states, it takes very little to make any engine "flex fuel" compatible. With today's ECUs it's just a software adjustment after the hardware stuff.


It seems that Volvo is introducing technologies that can take advantage of E85's higher octane, and not just tolerate it. Thus, even though E85 is less energy dense, a greater fraction of the potential energy is converted to useful work, relative to unoptimized flexfuel engines (burning E85) or even regular gasoline engines. This seems to be reducing the mileage penalty associated with E85, and would improve its economics. It is also smaller than the typical flexfuel engine seen in the U.S.

At the same time, I was under the impression that very few European countries had enough E85 availability to make this a useful development in the actual consumer market. Perhaps if this engine was marketed in the American midwest, where there are plenty of E85 pumps, you'd see a lot of takers who could make good use of it.

Bob Bastard

NBK-Boston, I believe E85 is popular in Sweden. Maybe even more so than in the American Midwest.

Bud Johns

Good comment, NBK boston. But how do they take advantage of the higher octane of E85 without raising compression, which would make it unsuitable for straight gasoline?


"But how do they take advantage of the higher octane of E85 without raising compression, which would make it unsuitable for straight gasoline?"

Raise the turbo boost pressure, just like Saab is doing with their BioPower engines.


You would use a turbo and vary boost and ign timing based on fuel quality. The high octane of E85 could take advantage of the higher boost and timing for increased thermal efficiency and thus reduce the mileage penalty.



Low 20s mpg is neither green or desirable. Esp when technology exists to double, even triple those #s.

If you were an integrated oil company, would you want your retailers selling a product that was 85% made by someone else? Bigoil has a monopoly on refining, distribution and retailing. The only way ethanol or biodiesel FTM are going to succeed here is if those producers have some control of retail.


There are at least 845 places in Sweden where you can get E85. Since Sweden is about 400 000 sqkm and only has about 9 million inhabitants is very easy to get E85, especially in the south. In my town of Uppsala (190000 inhabitants) there are 17 places that sell E85...

See the following site (in Swedish though) where you can search for places that sell differnet kinds of biofuel, and you can even get the GPS-coordinates to download to your GPS... free and simple.


In Sweden today, the E85 costs about 8.50 SEK and the gasoline (95 octane) about 11.70 SEK per liter. And the USD is about 6.70 SEK. That means the gasoline is about 40% more expensive than the E85 which makes it cheaper to use E85, regardless of the increased consumption.

And please... do convert to the metric system once and for all .. ;-)

Bob Bastard

Lunken, thanks for the info and the link. Too bad I don't read Swedish :) I assume most of your ethanol is currently derived from corn like here in the USA? Is it mostly domestically produced? And I honestly have no idea why we haven't switched to the metric system yet. Must be those damn freemasons!


This engine does nothing to increase it compression ratio and get better efficiency with E85. It's no improvement or standard flex-fuel car today.


Maybe it is my misunderstanding, but I look at variable turbo boost as a sort of variable compression ratio. If you have 20 pounds of boost, you most certainly need high octane fuel. Now if they made this dual flex fuel so that you could run it on 100+ octane natural gas, you would really have potential for plenty of boost pressure.


And WHY exactly aren't they selling the option in the US? I'd rather buy a Volvo than a Chevy Impala thank you. Thanks Volvo for not including us here in the US. Sheesh.


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