During an interview with Håkan Sandquist, director of powertrain strategy at China Euro Vehicle Technology (CEVT), it was revealed that the base engine used in the Volvo XC40 Recharge T5 is the same found in the Proton X50 as well as the Geely Binyue.

As a brief recap, the XC40 Recharge T5 is the plug-in hybrid variant of Volvo’s compact SUV, which was recently launched in Thailand back in early November. The model comes fully imported from Malaysia, so there’s a strong likelihood that we’ll be getting it as an alternative to the non-hybrid T5 AWD variant currently on sale.

It features a 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, with an electric motor mounted to its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, driving the front wheels. This setup is also used on the PHEV version of the Binyue sold in China.

According to Sandquist, the engine and transmission are the same as those used in the X50 and Binyue, although the final package differs in that it has to accommodate the plug-in hybrid system. Following Volvo’s official specifications, the mill is designated as the B3154T5, while Geely refers to it as the JLH-3G15TD.

Said engine is the direct fuel injection (DI) version of Geely’s 1.5 litre turbo three-cylinder engine, also known as the 1.5TD (or 1.5TGDi as we know it here), which is found in the range-topping Flagship variant of the X50. The Proton SUV’s lower variants – Standard, Executive and Premium – feature the 1.5T engine, which uses port fuel injection (PFI) instead.

While the powertrain on the aforementioned models might have the same base engine and transmission, they are integrated into different platforms, with the XC40 underpinned by the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) – also used for the Xingyue, Xingrui and certain Lynk & Co models. Meanwhile the Binyue and X50 (plus the Lynk & Co 06) ride on the B-segment Modular Architecture (BMA), which was developed with no direct involvement from Volvo.

As we’ve reported earlier, CEVT developed the 1.5 litre turbo three-cylinder range for use in various projects by Volvo Cars and Geely Auto, the latter including the X50 as well as models by Lynk & Co. Since its introduction, the engine in its various forms has been used in over 600,000 vehicles, while the DCT is in over one million units.

The modular engine family, part of the Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA) range was designed with electrification in mind, with native support for mild hybrid, range extender, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The range includes the PFI and DI engines, with the former also made into another version that operates on the Miller cycle. This is specifically for hybrid applications and has adjusted variable valve timing to enable the engine to run on the more fuel-efficient cycle.

We also asked Sandquist why the service interval for the XC40 Recharge T5 was longer than the X50, with the Volvo SUV requiring a service every 20,000 km compared to the X50’s 10,000 km. “Actually, that’s a good question. It would have to be based on oil qualities and what other things, but I don’t know the details of that,” replied Sandquist.

“We’ll have to ask the local market representatives. But it’s the same base engine, so the only thing I can actually think of is the oil quality difference. Of course, in a plug-in hybrid, you use your engine in different ways. Oil quality would be my guess,” he continued.