2015 Chevy Volt and 2016 Cadillac ELR To Perhaps Get 1.0 or 1.2-Liter 3 Cylinder Engine

5 years ago by Eric Loveday 8

Cadillac ELR On Stage at Detroit Auto Show

Cadillac ELR On Stage at Detroit Auto Show

Engine downsizing and vehicle lightweighting seem to be all the rage these days.  With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that the crew at General Motors is reportedly considering ditching the current 1.4-liter four cylinder engine found in the current Chevy Volt and upcoming Cadillac ELR in favor of a range-extender with one less cylinder.

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

As “industry sources” tell Edmunds, either a 1.0-liter or 1.2-liter three cylinder engine will likely power the next-generation Chevy Volt and future Cadillac ELRs.

General Motors’ official stance on the topic is as expected when its comes to discussing future vehicles and plans.  As GM spokesman, Tom Read, told Edmunds:

“We’re not ready to talk about any applications.  We don’t have one right now for the U.S. and I wouldn’t be able to say that we have one planned for the US at this point either. We have not announced any of that.”

The move to a more fuel-efficient and lighter engine would certainly make sense in the Chevy Volt and possibly even in the ELR, so the next obvious question is “which engine will General Motors turn to?”

Edmunds says either a 1.0-liter or 1.2-liter 3-cylinder is the most logical choice and we sort of agree.  We’d suggest the 1.2-liter is the more likely solution.  The 1.2-liter three cylinder Smart-Tech engine first debuted in India in 2011.  It boasts adequate low-end torque and features aluminum cylinder heads, lightweight pistons with low tension rings to increase fuel economy, a DOHC valvetrain and a lightweight counterbalanced crank shaft to improve NVH.

GM Launches 1.2-Liter Smart-Tech Engine in India in 2011...Is this the Future Volt/ELR Rnage Extender?

GM Launches 1.2-Liter Smart-Tech Engine in India in 2011…Is this the Future Volt/ELR Range Extender?

Edmunds reports that engine development and production specific to the Volt and ELR would likely occur in China.

It’s believed that the Chevy Volt will employ the three-cylinder engine in 2015 when the next-generation version launches.  The Cadillac ELR is expected to get the three-cylinder treatment in 2016.

No additional details are available at this time.

The 2013 Volt features a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a 149-hp electric motor.  The Cadillac ELR uses a slightly modified version of the otherwise-same powertrain.

Is a three-cylinder engine the right choice for the Volt?  Will it work in the upscale, more performance-oriented ELR?

via Edmunds

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8 responses to "2015 Chevy Volt and 2016 Cadillac ELR To Perhaps Get 1.0 or 1.2-Liter 3 Cylinder Engine"

  1. David Murray says:

    I would think a 3 cylinder, or even a 2 cylinder engine would work. They only need to provide enough power to keep the battery at a specific state of charge. It is not needed for peak loads, since the battery can handle that.

  2. Mark H says:

    This is definitely going to be the direction of the EREV. I like the concept of the Free piston linear generator in this application as well.

  3. Future Leaf Driver says:

    Sounds like GM is going the way of the BMW i3 idea -a 35 bhp two-cylinder engine. Hopefully GM can increase the EV range to match the i3 as well or sell it for under $30K to be more affordable.

  4. James says:

    Been saying this all along. Remember, Ford’s 1.0L Turbo 3 cylinder won 2012’s
    prestigious International Engine Of The Year Award. I might add that this engine
    won by a larger margin of votes than any powerplant in the award’s history!

    Ford will introduce it’s turbo 3 to NA first in the Focus, and is mulling over selling
    it in the Fiesta here, as it does in Europe. Motor Trend drove a Focus with the 3cyl
    turbo and found it had no more noise, vibration and harshness than a typical i4
    compact. 3 cylinders today mostly suffer from imbalance/vibration woes at low
    and very high revs, but are happiest in the mid-ranges, which make them ideal
    for Voltec/EREV applications. The big hurdle is harshness at startup.

    Disappointing in the above India 3pot is the suggestion of aluminum heads with
    a caste-iron block. The main impetus for this genset is weight reduction, so why
    follow the current Ecotec 1.4 with another caste-iron block?!!! I hope it aint so!

    One more observation is – photos of GM’s current 3 cylinder engines show
    belts and pulleys galore. Current Prius ditched a mechanical water pump and
    went with an electric one, eliminating all belts and pulleys which reduces weight
    and drag on the engine, increasing efficiency.

  5. Herm says:

    The Volt’s engine needs to generate 74hp to be able to sustain high speed cruises going up a mountain, and perhaps even more so they can avoid having a Mountain Mode or even have to slow down.. it also needs to do this particularly quietly to avoid irritating the noise-sensitized passengers.. this all means that GM needs a bigger range extender…

  6. john doe says:

    I recently drove the volt for a few days and my impression is that it would need a smaller engine to decrease the weight of the car as well as increase the gas mileage to be more competitive with other hybrids. 16kwh battery still receives the $7500 government subsidy so making the battery smaller here in the USA would not be a good idea. With less weight from the engine the 16kwh battery would probably get greater range which would be a good thing. Maybe have an option of two different sizes for the battery for folks that don’t get the gov subsidy such as folks over in England and don’t need the greater range like we do here in the states. I would also make sure there is room for seating for 5 passengers instead of the bucket seats in the back. Also, I like to have an option or switch to lock or unlock the doors from near where you roll the windows up or down. Also, an option for the Sunroof would be nice.

    1. Mark H says:

      There will be plenty of options for 5 seat EVs in the US but with the US average family size @ 2.6 four seats goes after the numbers. I personally would prefer more leg room in the rear seat opposed to seating five.

      If you are driving more than 40 miles per day one way, then a hybrid might be better for you. 70% of the US drivers drive less than 40 miles and 60% less than 30 miles per day. If you fit into the the 70% then a Volt is more competitive with other hybrids.

      If you are one that drives in the 20 mile range, there are a lot of options from the Ford C-Max, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord etc.

      GM has already announced a smaller engine in the coming years.This will be the trend for PHEVs. Again like the seating, GM as aimed the first round at the numbers. You can’t build one car that fits all needs. With 52,000-54,000 EVs sold last year and 23,000+ being Volts, I would say that GM got it right, at least for the US market.

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