Lotus’ next engines are coming from Chinese parent Geely
We knew this day would come, and now, Volvo has confirmed that it will merge its combustion engine operations with those of Chinese parent company Geely. Meanwhile, back in Gothenburg, Volvo’s team will focus on the all-electric future of Volvo, Polestar, the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), and the rest in the group. The new stand-alone business will become a global supplier of combustion and hybrid powertrains, working with third party manufacturers as well as for Volvo, Geely, Proton, Lotus and Lynk & CO.
Volvo is aiming for half its volume to be all-electric versus hybrid for the other half by the mid-2020s, so going it will still need combustion engines for hybrid powertrains. The same technology can then be shared with Geely and Malaysia’s Proton, with Lotus also switching to what will presumably be four-cylinder engines with some sort of electric boosting.
This begs the question whether Lotus will stop buying V-6 engines from Toyota anytime soon. What’s for sure is that Lotus built most of its cars around four-cylinder powertrains, while Geely’s mysterious V-6 with the same displacement is described by a Geely representative as an engine on its way out:
“The 3.5 V-6 was developed about 8-9 years ago for a pick up truck project that was shelved but the engine made it into the flagship KC-1 (Emgrand GT) for small domestic use and Gulf markets. I’m fairly sure it’s confined to Geely history now.”
There’s a lot going on at Lotus at the moment, including extensive construction work at the factory, along with the development of the Evija hypercar, which has a 2000-horsepower battery electric drivetrain designed by Williams Advanced Engineering.
Volvo says this proposed new ICE business is “intended to be an attractive employer for approximately 3000 employees from Volvo Cars and around 5000 employees from Geely’s combustion engine operations, including research and development, procurement, manufacturing, IT and finance functions,” with no reductions in the workforce planned.
Lotus implications aside, this merger is all about economies of scale. But it’s also another one of Geely’s shortcuts to having the best technology based on Swedish know-how. Positioned above Geely and aimed at a younger audience, Lynk & CO is about to open stores in Europe next year.