Flint Engine Operations To Begin Mass Production Of 2016 Chevy Volt Range Extenders By Year’s End

AUG 30 2015 BY MARK KANE 53

2016 Chevrolet Volt 1.5-Liter Engine

2016 Chevrolet Volt 1.5-Liter Engine

GM’s Flint Engine Operations reached a milestone of the one millionth 1.4-liter engine produced.

Those engines were produced in volume since 2011 and used in the Chevrolet Cruze, Volt, ELR and Sonic.

This type of engine is becoming history as Flint Engine is in the midst of a $200-million upgrade and transition to a new global Ecotec engine for the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze and Volt.

2016 Volt will be equipped with new 1.5-liter engine, while Cruze will get a new 1.4-liter version.

“The all-new Ecotec small gas engine will be built in eight engine plants in six countries, including Flint, producing 2.5 million engines a year by 2017. To date, only the Volt (1.5 liter) and Cruze (1.4 liter turbo) have been announced as recipients of the Flint-built engine.”

Volume production of Ecotec engines will begin this fall. Flint Engine still needs to complete installation and testing of equipment.

2016 Chevrolet Volt With Running Lights On (Image: Mike Anthony/InsideEVs)

2016 Chevrolet Volt With Running Lights On (Image: Mike Anthony/InsideEVs)

The press release is indicating that at first GM will launch Flint volume production of the new 1.4-liter engines for Chevrolet Cruze, while new Volt engine production is scheduled for 2016.

Currently, 2016 Volt engine demand is satisfied out of the company’s Toluca, Mexico facility.

“Once production of the 1.4-liter engine ends this week, the facility will complete installation and testing of equipment with the first production engines heading to GM’s Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant for the Chevrolet Cruze before the end of the year. Volt production will begin later in 2016.

Throughout the transition, Flint Engine will continue to produce the 3.6-liter engine for the Chevrolet Colorado and Traverse, GMC Canyon and Acadia and Buick Enclave. Employees who build that engine, which surpassed 1 million units in 2013, are represented by UAW Local 659.”

Terri Burden, Flint Engine plant manager said:

“Attaining 1 million engines produced is always an important milestone. But this is particularly special because it comes as we prepare to launch an engine that will be a key part of GM’s global engine program for many years to come.”

Dave Aiken, UAW Local 599 chairman said:

“One million engines! Our Local 599 members are proud of this accomplishment, as we built a superior quality 1.4-liter engine that has been a success for our customers, as was our tremendous 3800 engine. As we launch the Ecotec small gas engine our team is ready and able to build an engine that will also prove to be a leader in quality and performance for many years to come.”

Older video on the 2016 Chevrolet Volt powertrain:

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53 Comments on "Flint Engine Operations To Begin Mass Production Of 2016 Chevy Volt Range Extenders By Year’s End"

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I like the Volt but I won’t ever buy another ICE car. If GM offered the Volt with no ICE and more batteries in place of the engine, gas tank, exhaust, radiator … it would be a compelling all electric car (BEV).

Well, there are plenty of pure electric vehicles available for you if that is what you want.

I’m in the boat as eco Logical but there really are not much in choices. Yeah, there are a lot of ~80 mile commuter EVs. And I already have one and like it. But now I want more. But there is a huge gulf between the affordable ~80 mile EVs and the Tesla Model S 70.

David, I hear you but I kind of disagree. I couldn’t use a Leaf most days, I just have too many last minute emergencies that require me to drive 70 to 100 miles. Now if the LEAF had 120 miles of AER and fast charging capability, it might work the vast majority of the time. But 84 miles just doesn’t cut it. 150 miles would work 99.9% of the time. I think we are still almost a year and a half from a sub-$40k electric car that will work for 80% of the people often enough to hit the market.
The new Leaf will be close but it sounds like it won’t be 150 miles or more. The Bolt, then the III are going to be VERY interesting. It looks like the Bolt will arrive soon enough that there will be enough full $7500 GM tax credits left to cover at least the first 6 months of its sales. Then they will have 2 quarters of half credits ($3750), then 2 quarters of a quarter credit ($1875).
Tesla may have already used up all of their credits due to the popularity of the Model S.

Oh, so that’s how the EV tax credit phase out works? I’ve often wondered about that. I would think GM would be dropping the prices of both the Volt and Bolt by $3-5k during that period, and hopefully milking as much press out if the price drops as possible. It ought to bring in more buyers, as some people don’t even bother once they see the ($33,995) MSRP.

The credit is kind of interesting. There is a way to game the timing of the 200,000th sale so that you get an extra quarter’s worth of sales. I would bet that each car maker will happen to make that 200,000th sale during the first month of a quarter, not the last month, thereby eking out a couple more months of full credit.
On the price drop, I REALLY hoped that GM would have found ways to reduce the cost to produce a Volt and would be able to market the base Volt near or just under $30k. Obviously, $33,900 is a bit over that. But if GM isn’t making a profit on each Volt sold, even the base model, they have no incentive to build many of them. And that is probably what kept the Gen I inventory so low for so long.

Don’t hold your breath for a sub 30k Volt.

One can hope, but I agree, it probably won’t happen soon. It is too bad, there are a lot of car shoppers who simply won’t look at a car with an MSRP over $30k. EVEN when there is a tax credit involved. But I do think the dealers will be making deals on the Gen II Volts by March. At least $1,000 and probably $2,000 at the dealers that tend to sell more Volts.

Thanks to the Mods for fixing my typo error! Much appreciated!

I agree, the Volt would be awesome as a pure electric car. The best thing we like about the Volt is driving in EV mode, so why not have an option of a Volt EV. Give us the range of a Bolt at 200 miles.
I am on my second Volt and I have never driven more than 200 miles. I will take my larger vehicle on cross country trips anyway, once a year.

The problem I have with many people who criticize the Volt for having an ICE is that they neglect to mention that in lieu of getting a Volt, they’ll just keep driving their Prius/Civic/other ICE car.

It’s one thing to argue about the EV purity of a Volt if you’re driving a Model S or a Leaf. But if you’re driving an ICE car now, the Volt would be a huge reduction in your petroleum consumption.

It sure seems like GM is slowfooting the rollout of the Gen II Volt. I was hoping that we would see a pop in sales figures when most of the states were selling it, but it may not start selling in decent amounts until the end of the winter.
Definitely seems like GM bigwigs never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. I wish the leadership at GM was as excellent and aggressive as the engineers.

Agreed. I was all ready to buy a Volt this year. Either the 2015 (but GM botched that up by only offering good incentives to current Volt owners) or the 2016. But if I can’t get a 2016 by December to take advantage of the early tax rebate, then I probably won’t end up getting one.
Too bad, GM management.

I think you meant too bad American tax payer, GM will need another bailout as they miss the transition to BEV.

You can change your witholding amounts to account for the future tax credit.

Not complicated.

This is what I did, it worked out fine, just make sure at the end of the year you change it back to what it was originally.

To estimate what you should change your witholdings to, use the IRS’s tax witholdings claculator on the IRS.GOV website.

No kidding. GM must be taking pointers from Tesla on production ramping.

Wrong…GM is not taking pointers from TESLA, if GM was taking pointers, GM would be serious about BEV production. I think GM wants another bailout in a few years.

Dude we get that you aren’t trying to add anything to the conversation.

Josh said:

“GM must be taking pointers from Tesla on production ramping.”

GM is ramping up production of its plug-in EVs by between 40%-50% per year, as Tesla is? Ummm… no. Not even in the ballpark.

I think you were trying to say that GM must be taking pointers from Tesla regarding delays in putting a new(ish) model into production. But that would be quite unfair to GM; it certainly hasn’t had chronic delays of two years or more for each model.

I was making a joke about the what looks to be very slow ramp of Model X. Model S followed a very slow ramp.

I don’t think the humor came through there.

I am talking more about the initial new vehicle ramp from Tesla. They admittedly take is slow in the beginning to minimize quality issues.

Tesla’s production capacity increases since the initial launch is unlike anyone else in the EV biz.

What the heck are you talking about, Ziv? It’s only the end of August, and you are complaining about the new Volt not being in showrooms yet?

This poorly written piece seems to have given the impression that the v.2 Volt will be delayed due to Flint mass production of the range extender not occurring until… the END of the YEAR????

Omitted from the above text is this, from another GM press release from 2014:

‘The 1.5L engine will be manufactured at GM’s Toluca, Mexico engine plant for the first year of production, then shift to the Flint, Mich. engine plant.’

It isn’t us…the quotes are from GM. But we do agree, the language is not as clear as it could be – in fact, its fairly poor.

Actually when we first read it, we did a bit of a double take on the “production” quote for a moment (as it didn’t jive with reality with what they were apparently stating) before we realized what they were trying to say…and your right, they probably should have added a note (and us too) about current/Mexican production as well – as it gives the impression it is a “new” new engine build.

Will fill in the extra info to our own story now, thanks Stuart.

Here is the original GM media link to news (Volt production quote is 3rd form last paragraph)

Thank you JC.

No problem, we really should have made a better effort to suss out all the details behind the scenes and surrounding the original story.

I’ll just go ahead and blame it on the weekend…or something like that. It’s a another late night at the office, getting a jump on the upcoming sales data and whatnot for this week, (=

Stuart, if you don’t live in one of the 11 favored states you can’t order a Volt until October 1st. Then the vast majority of the Volts will take 4 to 8 weeks to be delivered. So even if someone in the 39 regular states orders a Volt as soon as possible, deliveries won’t start until November and it might not get to your dealer until December.
Heck, even the favored 10 (CA got the first bite out of the apple) couldn’t order until August 27th, and they will have the same 4 to 8 week wait after ordering.
GM is blowing it. Again.

Blowing it how? I just don’t see why you are so harsh about having to wait a month or two, other than your disappointment that GM didn’t price it under $30k. Gee whiz…..

Stuart, getting the Gen II out to 39 states by no earlier than October or November is not a good thing. The initial buzz will be on how much more AER and how much more refined the Gen II is. But that will taper off when the sales figures disappoint. And if you aren’t selling to 39 states, California can only carry you so far. 2 or 3 months is a large amount of time when you are trying to create a buzz about a new car.
If this was the first or second time GM had slowfooted the Volt it wouldn’t be so irritating but they have done this since the very beginning.

Thanks for direct injecting some facts into this discussion.

American cars are too big. When a 1500 CC engine, and an electric motor are needed to get acceptable performance, your car is too big, or you are driving too fast.

Smaller engines have to run harder to produce the same power as a larger engine. 1.5l is an appropriate size for today’s cars. Also, this car is made for the Cruze, which is produced all over the world, not just the U.S., and it competes with other cars that are the same size. Finally, if you think 70mph is too fast, then you probably live in a country that is “too small”.

The result of having 2 propulsion systems, each capable of propelling a Volt independently, is a very heavy car which then requires an even more powerful ICE and electric motor for decent performance compared with a lighter car.

BMW took a different approach with its i3 REx in that the ICE is not powerful enough to generate sufficient electrical power to propel the i3 as fast as the battery pack alone under some conditions (e.g., steep incline, high speed). The i3 REx’s much lighter ICE contributes to the i3 REx’s much lighter weight compared with the Volt.

What is the actual problem? The Volt gets amazing fuel efficiency, only marginally less than the i3, yet it never runs in “cripple mode”, so you can use it as your only car without any concern. It’s also 10k cheaper. BMW would have done well to copy the Volt, but they went with an inferior system. By the way, the primary weight savings in the i3 is in its (expensive) carbon fiber construction, not in its approach to the range entender.

It is amazing that a car that gets 42 miles per gallon is still considered amazing.

We could have 100 mpg cars now, and not using the “Fish” carburetor, but by applying the laws of physics. Conventional cars are like assault rifles, legal to own, buy morally bankrupt. And yeah, I still own one. If I thought it would change anything to light it n fire as a protest, I would. We need laws to match the science of today, but I’m not holding my breathe. When electric SUVs are taken seriously by the press as a “solution” to our transportation dilemma, I lose all hope.

I think you miss the point, which is like any PHEV, the Volt gets infinite mpg until the engine comes on, which for the Volt is the first 53 miles every day. So compared to a conventional car strictly in terms of gasoline reduction (electricity source is another matter), the Volt is only getting 42 mpg if its battery gets low, which could be weeks or even a month, and thousands of miles. And on the day it happens, gas consumption-wise only, that first gallon is really the Volt getting 95 mpg (53+42), with no driver compromise. That’s the amazing part you are choosing to ignore.

It uses over 300 Wh/mi on electricity. There are DIY conversions that use 175 Wh/mi. The problem is hauling around a 150-200 pound commuter in a 3500 pound vehicle. Yes, that is not a driver compromise. Tell your grandchildren they aren’t worth compromising your comfort, and convenience.

We’re talking 400lbs difference between I3 REx and 2016 Volt.

Sorry, but a loud, crippled Rex is not good design. The BEV I3 is fine, but the REx is not.

Agreed. As if Daimler doesn’t make very large V8’s for the AMG line, or even larger.

My ELR is a large and stylish luxury coupe (judging for the kudos I get every week driving it), and although I’ve taken it to task elsewhere for its “GM Idiosynchrosies”, it is definitely not too large, as Daimler makes similarly sized, even pricier vehicles.

But at 1400 cc, this quite small 4 cylinder is smaller than the VW beetle had at the end of its production, and several other VW variants from 50 years ago also were larger.

When the battery is dead, as it is usually after 50 miles, then all the power must come ultimately from the rather dinky engine. Making the 300 mile round trip to the NY State fair earlier today at an average speed of 74 mph, I can tell you that people wouldn’t believe the responsiveness ultimately from this diminutive engine. Certainly not for a large luxury sport coupe.

A low rpm larger engine is more efficient.

Well in the Volt, the engine is not used to supplement performance, only to generate electricity and/or add steady state (cruising) torque for greater extended range mode efficiency (avoids additional conversion losses) The reason for upping to a 1.5 (from a 1.4) was not to add more power, the Volt doesn’t need it because motive power is from the electric motor(s), rather to allow the engine to operate in a lower rpm band which would result in both better mpg at higher speeds and lower engine noise.

Warren:

Since you apparently think we all should give up driving and walk everywhere, your assertion that “American cars are too big” doesn’t mean much. If we were all driving microcars, you’d still call them “too big”.

Bad headline. Flint is making engines, not range extenders.

Likewise the device I am currently using has a name and several functions.

It is called a computer, and I am using it to access the internet.

I would be using sloppy language if I claim to be using an “internet accessor”

At this pace GM will need another bail out in a few years.

I have a preorder on a Volt Gen 2. My Volt is scheduled for production second week of September. They will be here soon.

What state?

Sounds like this discussion went the wrong way fast.

The good thing is GM is on schedule with the release of the new Volt.

The other good thing is the new engine will be made in the US.

ONly thing I can say is the author jumped a bit to conclusions. ALthough a 1400 cc turbo charged version may have been optional for the Cruze, the 1400 cc engines in all VOlts and ELR’s to date have been naturally aspirated.

They better hold 1000 or 2000 old engines in the inventory (1400 cc premium gas, naturally aspirated) since the 2016 ELR will used the 2011 power train until it is eliminated, or replaced somewhat by the ct6 plugin option.

We have no direct confirmation on the subject, but our feeling is that GM has a set/specific number of 2016 ELRs in mind to produce now to get maximum value out of the build-out of gen 1, then the car will quietly be retired.

always glad to see useful powerful 4 bangers…. not sure why any vehicle needs more than 6 cylinders these days. All those hungry mouths to feed. EVs are about to eat their lunches anyways. But if you’re gonna buy an ICE… don’t bother with the v8/10/12…. Gas may be temporarily cheap now while the Saudis are trying to flood the market to run out the domestic producers… but it will go back up as soon as they think they have the monopoly again.

From the article:

>> Flint Engine is in the midst of a $200-million upgrade

Why isn’t GM putting the $200M towards their own Gigafactory?

“Why isn’t GM putting the $200M towards their own Gigafactory?”

Bingo! The average car buyer is keeping their cars for 10 years in this economy.

Who in their right mind wants to commit 10 years and $35,000 to a ICE vehicle NOW?