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 Range 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