The 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine and seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox combo used in the Proton X50 1.5 TGDi Flagship has received a top award from China’s Society of Automotive Engineers. SAE-China awarded their highest honour, the “China Automotive Industry Science and Technology Award”, to Geely for the development of the 1.5TD + 7DCT powertrain.

SAE-China is China’s most prestigious non-governmental professional association for scientists, academics, engineers, and technicians working in the world’s largest and most competitive automotive market.

Each year, automotive industry peers in SAE-China nominate and select achievements and innovations that have advanced and influenced the automotive industry for the award. For 2020, Geely’s 1.5TD + 7DCT powertrain was selected among 170 other innovations by top Chinese universities, science academies and global automotive R&D centres. The award is like a “Nobel Prize” for the industry, Proton says.

Panel judges and industry peers selected Geely’s latest powertrain, co-developed with Volvo, for making key breakthroughs in three major challenges faced by the industry – developing a highly versatile compact engine, balancing performance with fuel efficiency, and increasing the utilisation and reliability of hybrid power.

The powertrain was the result of years of collaborative R&D between Geely and Volvo. Designed to be versatile and high performance, the combo can provide sufficient power for models in a wide variety of segments. It’s modular too, designed to be integrated into four different hybrid power setups – 48V mild hybrid, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and range extender EV.

In the Proton X50 1.5 TGDi Flagship, the turbo triple makes 177 PS and 255 Nm, good enough for 0-100 km/h in 7.9 seconds. The 7DCT transmission is claimed to have an industry leading 97.2% transmission efficiency, can handle up to 450 Nm of torque, and shift gears near instantaneously in 0.2 seconds.

Commonly used in fuel-efficient economy cars, three-cylinder engines have a bit of a stigma when it comes to refinement. Geely says that it has overcome this, achieving NVH performance levels equal to four-cylinder engines on the market. The 1.5TD (the official designation of the TGDi) was developed with over 120 NVH optimising parts, reducing perceivable engine jitter and noise. At idle, engine noise inside vehicle cabins can be as low as 38db, Geely says.

Counterweighted crankshafts, dual-mass flywheel with centrifugal pendulum absorber damper, single balancing shaft, low noise timing belt, high stiffness oil pan, asymmetric oil pump impeller, and an engine compartment and vibration dampener are among the army of parts combating NVH in the 1.5TD – full story here.

For maximum fuel efficiency, the engine can also run on a Miller cycle for hybrid applications. We’ve previously detailed this downsized turbo engine family with its tech and applications – read more here.

In just over two years, more than 1.6 million 1.5TD engines and 7DCT transmissions have been produced and delivered. The engine can be found across the Geely group, in models such as the Proton X50/Geely Coolray/Geely Binyue, Geely Azkarra/Geely Boyue, Geely Okavango, Volvo XC40, all Lynk & Co models and the LEVC TXe, among others.

The powertrain is now in service in over 21 countries including Sweden, the UK, Russia, Philippines and Malaysia. Geely says that it has invested 20.73 billion yuan (RM13 billion) in R&D projects in the last 10 years up to 2019.

GALLERY: Proton X50 1.5T Standard


GALLERY: Proton X50 1.5T Executive
GALLERY: Proton X50 1.5T Premium
GALLERY: Proton X50 1.5 TGDi Flagship
GALLERY: Proton X50 official photos

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