In the past five years, Geely’s electrification has steadily progressed through the introduction of different hybrid technologies. But following the launch of the NordThor Power hybrid powertrain brand last year, the pace of electrification has accelerated exponentially. Here’s a look at the different hybrid technologies that Geely has introduced throughout its many brands.
As early as 2010, after Volvo joined Geely, the two companies saw the future of the automotive industry was moving towards greater electrification with zero-emission electric mobility as the ultimate target. The transition would take several decades with hybrids playing an important role as infrastructure is built and consumer behavior changes. The two brands jointly worked on the latest VEA – Volvo Engine Architecture, a modular engine architecture developed from the onset to support hybrid electric powertrains.
In mature markets such as Europe, infrastructure for a fully electrified transportation system is quickly becoming complete with many consumers receptive of plug-in electric vehicles, while in developing markets, fully electric vehicles remain unviable outside of major cities and many consumers are still transitioning from motor bikes to their first cars.
In 2016, Geely Auto made an ambitious promise to make hybrid electric vehicles the majority of its sales and offer hybrid vehicles at prices competitive to traditional fuel models. With the launch of the NordThor Power hybrid powertrain brand, Geely is now accelerating its introduction of hybrid models with more than a dozen planned to launch on the market by 2025. The hybrid technologies that Geely has introduced so far included mild hybrids (MHEV), full hybrids (HEV), and plug-in hybrids (PHEV).
Mild Hybrid – 48V EMS
Geely’s mild hybrid technology or some markets called 48V EMS (Electric Motor Synergy System) was first shown in 2018 on the Borui GE model. A 48 volt e-motor is attached to the belt of Geely’s 1.5TD three-cylinder engine, enhancing the performance and efficiency of the compact engine.
The e-motor assists with start-stop operations at low speeds and coasting at higher-speeds on the highway to improve fuel efficiency. At low speeds or start-up the e-motor provides a boost of instant torque which lets the engine reach its optimal RPM almost immediately.
Geely’s 48V mild hybrid system helps the compact efficient engine punch above its weight with performance similar to larger 2L four cylinder engines. Geely’s 48V EMS is offered on several models globally including the Geely Azkarra, Okavango, and ICON.
NordThor Hybrid System
With the launch of the NordThor Power hybrid powertrain brand in 2021, Geely’s latest hybrid technology was unveiled. The NordThor Hybrid system was first shown on the Xingyue L Hi-X. The system is a full hybrid system (HEV) designed to maximize fuel efficiency, comfort, and convenience.
It comes with two e-motors, one connected to the engine (P1) and a second connected to the 3-Speed Dedicated Hybrid Transmission (DHT) (P2). Propulsion comes primarily from the e-motor at the P2 position powered by electricity from the onboard battery. The engine powers the smaller e-motor at the P1 position which acts as a generator for the battery.
At low speeds below 20km/h, the system can drive on purely electric power while at higher speeds and cruising, the engine is utilize as a range-extender with the e-motor still providing all the vehicle propulsion. If more power is required for maneuvers such as highway overtakes, both the engine and e-motor can provide power to the wheel and utilize the DHT’s planetary gears to access up to 4920 N·m of wheel torque.
The NordThor hybrid system runs on a specially designed version of Geely’s 1.5TD three-cylinder engine tuned to run on the Miller combustion cycle. The Miller cycle offers lower power but is much more fuel efficient with a cleaner combustion. Acting as a range-extender a majority of the time, greater fuel efficiency is preferred over greater engine power. On the large Xingyue L SUV, the NordThor hybrid system can reduce fuel consumption to 3.6L/100km, roughly 40% lower than its non-hybrid equivalent. Following the launch of the Xingyue L Hi-X, two more HEV models were unveiled to be launched in 2022, the Emgrand L Hi-X sedan and the world’s first methanol hybrid sedan.
While mild hybrids and full hybrids help reduce fuel consumption and emissions immensely, neither of the two technologies can match the zero-emission capabilities of plug-in hybrids. With most daily commutes below 20km in China and 40km in the EU, a 50km range PHEV is able to provide zero-emission mobility nearly 90% of the time they’re used.
Geely and its many brands have developed several different configurations of PHEV powertrains to meet the needs of different users. For example, Volvo has offered PHEVs as its top of the line trim for many of their model lines. The T8 Twin Engine powertrain adds a powerful rear-axle e-motor to an already exceptional twin-charged engine providing drivers with a high performance and low environmental impact vehicle. In 2017, Volvo made an ambitious commitment to offer plug-in options for all its models.
Lynk & Co and Geely Auto, focusing on comfort and range, use larger capacity batteries powering an e-motor attached to wet dual-clutch hybrid transmission. With the engine running on odd number gears and e-motor on even number gears, Lynk & Co and Geely Auto PHEV models seamlessly transition between zero-emission electric drive and hybrid performance. Pure electric range offered by the Lynk & Co and Geely Auto run between 60km to 85km depending on battery size. In the future, the two brands plan to offer longer range PHEVs with up to 200km of pure electric range.
The road to electrification is a long one and hybrids will continue to play an important role for decades. Meeting the needs of different markets, different environments, and different users, the brands under Geely has launched over 30 hybrid models. The rise of the hybrids is already here and more is coming in the future.