Next-Gen Chevy Volt To Be First U.S. Model With New 1.0-Liter 3-Cylinder Engine

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 49

 2016 Chevrolet Volt

2016 Chevrolet Volt

Opel's 1.0 Liter 3 Cylinder Engine Expected To Find A Home In Next-gen Volt

Opel’s 1.0 Liter 3 Cylinder Engine Expected To Find A Home In Next-gen Volt

Further confirming what we’ve long believed to be true is a new report on the next-generation Chevy Volt getting a 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine.

This time, it’s Automotive News reporting the following:

“Opel unveiled three-door and five-door versions of its next-generation Corsa small car… the first redesign for Opel’s top-selling nameplate in eight years—will play a key role in the brand’s turnaround efforts.”

“But it’s what’s under the hood that will most interest U.S. market watchers: A new, turbocharged 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine that should find its way into several Chevy models in the next few years.”

“The Volt should be the first U.S. car to get the three-banger when the next generation of the plug-in hybrid goes into production in late 2015, sources have said.”

While it’s not clear to us if the next-gen Chevy Volt will be the first U.S. General Motors’ offering to get this new 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine, it’s becoming more and more likey that our assumption from way back when will turn out to be true.  Here’s what we wrote more than one year ago when Opel debuted its Monza Concept:

Opel says the Monza Concept previews next-generation Opels and that it’s a further development of the technology found in the Ampera (aka Volt).

The tie to the Ampera and Volt is all that we’ll deal with here.

The Opel Monza Concept features GM’s next-generation three-cylinder 1.0 SIDI turbo engine.  In the Monza Concept, this engine acts as a range extender and burns CNG (compressed natural gas).

We don’t expect to see CNG listed as a fuel option on the next-gen Volt, but we do suspect that this engine might be the unit that handles the Volt’s range-extending duties.

As for that 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine, here are some highlights direct from Opel:

New All-Aluminum 3-Cylinder Turbo Sets Refinement Benchmark

New 85 kW/115 hp, 1.0-liter turbo raises bar for three-cylinder refinement

First in all-new family of small-displacement direct injection gasoline engines to debut in Opel ADAM

Higher torque, better fuel efficiency than 1.6-liter engine

Cylinder head-integrated exhaust manifold

Teamed with all-new six-speed gearbox, 30 percent lighter than predecessor

Rüsselsheim/Frankfurt. Clean, smooth and quiet: Opel’s all-new three-cylinder celebrates its world premiere at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (September 12 – 22, 2013). The 1.0-liter turbo gasoline engine is not only climate-friendly, it also represents a new benchmark for refinement in three-cylinder engines, with noise and vibration characteristics superior to many four cylinder units.

Developing 85 kW/115 hp, this pocket powerhouse also delivers high low-end torque of 166 Nm all the way from 1,800 to 4,700 rpm, belying its diminutive size. The 1.0 SIDI Turbo (Spark Ignition Direct Injection) generates more torque throughout its operating range than equally powerful, higher displacement engines, while fuel efficiency is improved by 20 percent compared to Opel’s current 1.6-liter naturally aspirated power unit.

To be launched in the ADAM small car next year with an all-new six-speed manual gearbox, the 12-valve, 1.0 turbo is the first in a new, modular family of three and four-cylinder gasoline engines in the up to 1.6 liters class. State-of-the-art technologies such as direct injection, continuously variable valve timing, and a lightweight aluminium cylinder-block, are key efficiency enablers. Opel expects the new engine family to deliver impressive fuel economy and CO2 emissions significantly lower than 100 g/km.

“In developing this small engine, we not only set out to minimize fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, we also wanted to demonstrate that three cylinders can be just as refined as four or more,” says Dr. Matthias Alt, Opel’s Chief Engineer, Small Gasoline Engines. “We tackled at source the balance, noise and vibration issues typical of conventional three-cylinder engines, and we’re confident customers will be pleasantly surprised by the results. This is a very lively and refined three-cylinder engine which doesn’t compromise on driving fun.”

Source: Automotive News

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49 responses to "Next-Gen Chevy Volt To Be First U.S. Model With New 1.0-Liter 3-Cylinder Engine"

  1. ct200h says:

    Team that 1.0L motor with a 19kwh pack from the spark and you could have quite a combination. 55 mile aer and 45 to 48 mpg?
    sign me up!

    1. mike w says:

      I want to get in line also.

    2. GeorgeS says:

      It will be perfect timing.
      My Volt lease is up in 6 months.

      1. Brian says:

        “the next generation of the plug-in hybrid goes into production in late 2015, sources have said”

        How is that perfect timing? Sounds to me like you’ll have to either extend your lease by 6 months or go without a car.

  2. veselin says:

    ……..This is a very lively and refined three-cylinder engine which doesn’t compromise on driving fun.”

    I don’t see any fun in drivinf small Opel Corsa. Is just going from dot A to dot B as cheap as possible.

    1. Nargg says:

      You have no imagination? Small cars are a blast to drive if driven well.

  3. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    This motor is an improvement, but without Atkinson cycle will likely provide class-tailing fuel economy, alas. Hopefully a combination of an ‘efficiency’ cam profile and DI will allow for a low-load mode with good efficiency.

    Atkinson-cycle would have been better though…

    1. GeorgeS says:

      Atkinson is heavier.
      I want the turbo 3 for the wt savings.
      ….and I bet the turbo has a kick ass SFC map also.

  4. Josh Bryant says:

    In my experience, turbo != quiet. Boost of any kind for that matter usually increases noise.

    Is there something I am missing here? Not a Volt driver myself, but I have heard from a few that they get annoyed when the generator is running. It seems like a turbo is headed in the wrong direction.

    1. liberty says:

      Turbo allows a physically smaller ice, which gives designers more ability. A miller cycle turbo should be more efficient than an atkinson mode ice all things being equal, but that turbo will cost more money. You probably needed at least a 1.6L atkinson, and perhaps packaging was more of a concern than cost.

      1. Josh Bryant says:

        I think you were replying to Dr. NW above. I was just trying to understand the noise considerations.

      2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

        Modern Atkinson cycle is done with valve timing mainly, and Miller = Atkinson + Turbo.

        So, why not have both, in the same motor? 1l Atkinson would likely return an efficient 25-35kW, which is adequate for maintaining 70mph on level ground. Add an electric turbocharger/generator to that and reclaim whatever heat and air pressure remains in the exhaust to eke out a bit more power while in Atkinson mode, but have it push air when the driver demands more power (or encounters extended hill climbs) and go into 100kW+ Miller mode.

        1. Sublime says:

          I think this engine would likely not be turbocharged in the Volt. Without the turbo, assuming it’s about 10-12psi of boost, the engine should be good for 50-60kW. With an Atkinson cycle cam profile around 40-50kW. With good aero that’s probably still good enough to allow the driver to go 90mph without any electric drive.

        2. koz says:

          Would much prefer them to put the $ in the battery rather than turbo. 35KW is more than sufficient for Volt highway power requirements with an 8kwh mountain mode buffer. A mountain mode with settable kwh like hold mode would even be better. 17kwh pack with 13.5kwh usable.

          52 miles AER
          45ish mpg

          Both nice bumps from current Volt and combine with more rear seat interior space with 5 person capability it should be a winner.

        3. snev says:

          “Modern Atkinson cycle is done with valve timing mainly, and Miller = Atkinson + Turbo.

          So, why not have both, in the same motor?”

          Toyota/Lexus recently came out with turbo and non-turbo engines that run on both the Atkinson and Otto cycles. Toyota’s new variable valve timing & lift system called VVT-iW allows the engine to run in the Atkinson cycle at part loads and in the Otto cycle at full loads.

          “VVT-iW . . . allows the engine to run in the Atkinson cycle at low revs for improved fuel economy and lower emissions, and in the Otto cycle at higher engine speeds for enhanced power delivery and performance, while delivering high torque output throughout the rev band.”

          http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/09/20140905-camry.html

          Engines with VVT-iW can be found in the European 2014 Camry, the US 2015 Lexus NX 200t, and the US 2014 Lexus RC F.

        4. sven says:

          Toyota has also developed an approach to applying the Atkinson cycle to engines in non-hybrid vehicles. The 1.0 and 1.3 liter engines are called ESTEC (Economy with Superior Thermal Efficient Combustion) engines and have a thermal efficiency of 38%.

          http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/06/20140620-estec.html

          http://www.gizmag.com/toyota-atkinson-engines-improved-thermal-fuel-efficiency/31615/

    2. pjwood says:

      The “buzzy four” effect isn’t felt until you’re out of range, or in Hold mode, and then step on it. Almost all highway engagement is where the higher geared generator steps in, and the engine steadily pulls the car along, almost without notice.

      1. Josh Bryant says:

        Thanks for the info. I’ll ask some more detailed questions to the driver that has mentioned this the most.

        So you believe that turbo three will have none of the “buzzy four” effect? What about the scenario you mentioned, hold mode and then stepping on it?

        1. pjwood says:

          “buzy-ness” tends to increase as cyclinders decrease, and an odd number of cylinders is fundamentally challenging. I remember Porsche’s 2.4ltr 4’s using counter-balance shafts (and that’s even). Not sure, but it may come down to how GM deals with the reciprocating mass, of “3”.

          1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

            BMW managed to master it in their 750cc K-bike motor over 20 years ago, it’s not impossible or even unreasonable to expect GM to manage it.

          2. mike w says:

            Mercedes put out a ton of 5 cyl diesels back in the 80s. They were rude and nasty when cold and idling but were ok when warmed up or driving. If they could do then than Opel can do it now.

          3. Nargg says:

            The “buzzy” issue can be easily addressed with compression management and counter weights. Both of which GM has become extremely good at over the past few years.

    3. Sublime says:

      The turbo provides a bit of muffling to the exhaust itself. The noise of the intake can be countered with well designed intake baffling to cancel the resonance frequency generated by the turbo. Blow-off gas is routed into the exhaust and muffled as well. With today’s computer modelling they can design a turbo system you wouldn’t even know is there. However most turbo cars are the performance variant of their model, so they actually engineer some of the turbo noise to be more apparent.

      1. Josh Bryant says:

        Good to know, thanks.

    4. DonC says:

      Supposedly NVH is reduced by integral accessory mounts, isolated fuel rails, silent cam drive chains, and bedplates. Nothing revolutionary, just all best practices. Like automatic transmissions, turbo engines are getting better.

      How well will it work? No idea but it should be an improvement over the current 1.4L. It should also be much lighter and, with a target of 2.5M/annum for all variants, a lot less expensive.

      Will be interesting to see how it’s configured. The Atkinson/Miller/Otto categories are disappearing as engines use different technologies for different purposes.

      1. pjwood says:

        Seeing more “N” reduction, not much “V” reduction, in what you point out.

  5. pjwood says:

    A “turbo” is scary, on the other hand, because it will allow smaller batteries in PHEV configuration, thus avoiding the i3’s recent issues. If this is what we wish for, than it is yet to be proven that GM won’t also follow through on marginal range improvement.

    The NVH stuff is no surprise. Good call, to be hard at work back when VWG was still focused on “diesel domination”.

  6. HVACman says:

    A 20% efficiency increase over naturally-aspirated. Figure another 10% mpg increase from lighter weight, better Cd, and Gen 2 Voltec drive train optimization. And with 85 kW peak power.

    The Gen 2 Volt will hit 50 mpg in extended-range mode and have even more extended-range HP for those long hill climbs. Nice!

  7. c4v3man says:

    I want a 1L turbo generator with enough efficiency to power the car with full acceleration going uphill without mountain mode, obtaining 50mpg, and a 200 mile battery, for $28,000

    Back in reality, I think 30 miles of battery is the minimum that is worthwhile (plugging in at home is more effort than not plugging in, and if you’re only getting 11 miles like the PiP, then why bother). The “38 mile EPA” rated Volt supposedly struggles to provide 30 miles in the winter as it is. Honestly, while I’d much prefer to have the option of a 60 or 80 mile AER at the current price, I think keeping the current range and dropping down the price to 30,000 pre-rebate or maybe 27,000 once the rebates have expired would probably help the brand out even more.

    That and make 6.6KW charging standard and give the option for a SAE-Combo receptacle that the Spark is getting… it’s hardly worth charging in public at 3.3KW unless you’re going to a movie or some other 2hr+ activity.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      30 ev miles is really to little and 200 is getting hard on battery volume and price, but 80 or 100 miles is an interesting middle that allow almost always ev driving while keeping the price down.
      The charge rate is not critical since the 1l ice can be called upon but seating five is important since it is expected in almost any car.

    2. Spec9 says:

      If you have an 80 mile AER then you are just going to be lugging around an ICE for no reason 90+% of the time. Not sure that is a good idea. Plus that vehicle would be pretty expensive and hard to fit that much battery AND ICE in the car.

      1. BC Voltman says:

        An 80 mile AER with ICE backup!?!?

        What idiot of a company would ever produce an electric car like that?

        1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

          80mi is 25ish kWh, which would give you a power budget of about 200kW. Which is decent power for a midsize sedan or CUV, especially split between 2-4 motors.

          Ideal power train for such a vehicle is 32kWh with 24 usable, 250-280kW power budget, and Atkinson/Miller motor that operates at 35kW/100kW using its electric turbo/generator.

          1. Priusmaniac says:

            +1. We are synchro.

        2. mustang_sallad says:

          Presumably you’re hinting at the i3 REx, but it’s kind of a different approach to PHEV series hybrid than the Volt, where performance and range are limited once the battery is empty. I agree that bumping the Volt’s electric range up to 80 miles doesn’t make sense.

          Instead, GM should focus on reducing the price, and stepping up the marketing campaign to help get the message through that this car won’t burn any fuel for 90% of typical daily driving, even at 38 miles of electric range. That would have more bang for the buck in terms of effort to get more sales.

      2. pjwood says:

        Ask Leaf owners if they wouldn’t like to be lugging something more around.

        1. mike w says:

          Like the 20% of my battery that does NOT work?

        2. Murrysville EV says:

          No, I’m happy with the simplicity of the BEV, and I never have to think about gas.

          But I do have an Optima Hybrid with diesel-like fuel economy and range.

  8. Taser54 says:

    The 3 cylinder DI turbo will provide greater power, fuel economy, and lower operating RPM in a package that is lighter than the NA 4 cylinder used in Volt.

    Be prepared to be happy, GM has done its homework.

  9. Spec9 says:

    GM is doing good. This should provide better efficiency in charge sustaining mode. And 5 passengers too? GM is hitting it on all 3 cylinders. 😉

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      LOL. Good one!

  10. Victor says:

    I am a Nissan leaf owner, and I would love to have an electric car with an 80 mile all electric range with an internal combustion engine for those longer trips ( it must seat five). That would be my dream car, but I’ll settle for the second generation Chevy Volt if it can seat five.

  11. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    Should be pointed out that this is from Automotive News, the same site that Insideevs.com says made up the story about Tesla have a swap station soon.

  12. QCO says:

    This engine is essentially the same configuration as the recent Ford 1.0l ecoboost, which has turned out to be a winner in the European Fiesta and Focus (it has won many industry awards too). Similarities include counter balanced flywheel and damper, manifold cast in head and the power output. Interesting that Ford decided an iron block was more efficient than aluminum for this small block size.

    GM is playing catch up here, but it is still going to be a modern, efficient, lightweight engine which will also work well in the Volt application (likely in Atkinson trim).

    1. pete g says:

      Accept the GM engine is quieter and delivers more HP
      GM isn’t catching up Ford is being lapped.

      1. Brian says:

        +1

        Ford talks a big game, but they are anything but an industry leader. They are trying to catch up with Toyota on hybrids and GM with their PHEVs. They are losing on both accounts.

        The silver lining is that their Energis do fill a nice hole between the PiP and Volt – evidenced by relative sales success of late.

    2. pjwood says:

      RE: Counter balanced flywheel
      I once left a pressure plate bolt behind, which “imbalanced” the flywheel enough to be noticeable. Luckily, installing through the peep hole avoided tear-down.

      The point is counter balancing what is going on at the pistons, at the flywheel, would be far enough away from the plain of imbalance, that I would think it would create its own problems. Counter-balance shafts, OTOH, I think throw weight the opposing direction much closer to the pistons. Kinda tough to describe?

  13. ELROY says:

    Three cylinders actually have some inherent advantages in sound quality and smoothness over a four cylinder. The i8 engine is pretty darn smooth.

  14. iwatson says:

    This is how you improve a fantastic car. You make it “fantabulous”? Sorry I’ll stick with my fantastic 2011 version.