Opel Monza Concept Debuts in Frankfurt; Hints at Range Extender in Next-Gen Chevy Volt (w/video)


Opel Monza Concept

Opel Monza Concept

Opel Monza Concept Interior

Opel Monza Concept Interior

German automaker Opel has several vehicles on display at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, but only one comes with a plug: the Opel Monza Concept.

There’s no way this concept will make it into production, so we’ll keep our blurb here brief.

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.

So, what should we expect from this engine?  Well, it too made its debut in Frankfurt, so details are limited, but here’s what Opel released so far:



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

Opel's 1.0 Liter 3 Cylinder

Opel’s 1.0 Liter 3 Cylinder

 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.

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25 Comments on "Opel Monza Concept Debuts in Frankfurt; Hints at Range Extender in Next-Gen Chevy Volt (w/video)"

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Note the lack of the tunnel for a T-battery pack.

Ditch the gull wings and that could be a very useful configuration.

Good eye.
If GM doesn’t get rid of the T pack in Gen2 then I will call it a failure. GM needs a dedicated platform for the Volt.

Ditch the gull wings???

At last a car that does not assault people passing by with those dangerous butterfly doors, and you want them ditched?

Was there any mention of the weight of the new 1.0 liter, compared to a Volt 1.6?

“delivers high low-end torque of 166 Nm all the way from 1,800 to 4,700 rpm”

Does this make it sound like it was purpose designed as a range extender? Constant torque through that range would pair up well with a generator.

The 3 cylinder turbo will be about 20lbs lighter than the NA 4 cyl.

Is that all?

That’s my estimate. But remember that the CS fuel economy will be much better as it will be able to provide greater power at lower rpm than the NA 4cylinder.

The extra HP will be good on steep grades. My Volt is really winding up to 4300 RPM and making all kinds of racket on a 5% grade.

Here’s the article and supportive data:


I love the idea of that engine, but I also know it is an expensive engine! That’s a toughie.
Yes GM! Please get rid of the tunnel AND make the car wider! We need 3 across in the back! A skateboard type pack would be ideal. Seems like it would be easier to keep cool too.

GM had a skateboard design at one point in the e-flex program. I guess they went with the ‘T’ because of experience with EV1.

We already know that Gen2 Volt will be purpose-built from GM officials. It is still pretty much up in the air what they are going to do with a range extender.

I hope they ditch the ‘T’ and I really want a CNG extender. CNG in Texas and OK is readily available. There are 7 public stations within my commute.

Not only more HP, but also 20% more efficient than the 1.6L. If adopted for Gen 2, that means an increase from Gen 1 of 38 mpg in CS to 45.6 mpg w/ Gen 2, Assuming GM also does some weight reduction and a little more tweaking on the transmission and software, and Gen 2 could easily hit 50 mpg – a real benchmark.

The higher torque at low RPM’s also might mean even quieter operation in CS mode during most driving conditions, as the RPM will be even lower. Incredible!

re: T-battery pack – Our resident GM inside-engineer WOT raved about the Spark EV’s flat battery pack cooling system – how well bottom-cooling performed, with less battery pack volume, less expense, and more pack reliability. With less pack volume and a larger D2XX platform, GM would have no need for the T-configuration, use the block or skateboard configuration and get Gen 2 back to a 5-seater.

No wonder GM is really, really, tight-lipped about Gen 2 – it could have several technology breakthroughs buried inside that will raise the bar yet again on both price and performance.

Actually I wrote the article and did the raving.

but yes the Spark battery tech data did come from WOT.

I love the new lower cost cooling scheme and the higher DOD of the Spark battery. On a volumetric and weight basis this battery has a 20% higher energy density.

Oh, right, George – sorry – I always get you and WOT mixed up;)

I’m hoping that another Gen 2 Volt feature will be a “torquey” PM main EV motor like in the Spark. Think of the possibilities – 50 mpg, 50 miles EV range, 5 passengers, 400 ft-lb torque w/ 0-60 in under 7 seconds, lower cost, 5-star safety – and available as a hatchback sedan or a CUV. That’s not just a home run, that’s a grand-slam!

No kidding.
There are so many things GM can do to make the Volt a better car.
Surprisingly many of the improvements are almost free. (like DOD increase)

PS Thanks for getting me and WOT confused. I’m complimented….but I’m not sure how WOT would feel about it LOL.

GM did mention that a 3-cylinder engine could make it to the next gen Volt. This is a good sign.

Rumor has it that the highly efficient 99hp or 125hp Ford 1.0L 3-cylinder will become part of the next gen hybrid drive system for sub-compact and compact hybrid/plug-in vehicles. Replacing the current 2.0L Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder.

The i3 engine will first launch in the Fiesta later this year, which should give some indication of it’s efficiency. It’s already rated at 67mpg in the UK.

If that’s true it’s breaking news.

Atkinson Cycle replaced by 3 cyl turbo??


It’s true. The first NA Fiesta’s with the 2-time International Engine Of The Year
Turbo 3cyl are slated to hit the market by the end of 2013.

If there’s anything that’ll move GM, it’s when GM beats ’em to the punch. If there
is indeed a Volt gen 2 ( in my mind-hopeful but not a gimme ), it should have
this ReX onboard.

Toyota probably doesn’t like the sound of that.

The good news is that they are sizing down going towards more capacity and lower weight which is the good direction.

The bad news is that they seem to stick to putting a clutch and a gearbox in the thing while none of that is needed for a true range extender. This in turn means they keep the costly double motorization to the wheels which is the wrong direction instead of adopting the BMW i3 configuration where the Rex is just for range extending electricity.

… more compacity… instead of more capacity.

There is something weird going on at Opel these last few years:
they are making some good looking cars.

Sometimes near bankrupcy can be a good thing…

A 1L 3 cylinder would be a mistake again. You have to go ultra small with emphasis on the electric drive, like BMW i3 did. It cannot be a soul crushingly boring car like the Volt again if they want success. All that ICE junk in the nose ruins the purity.
But they were dumb then and they are dumb now with no outlook for change despite Akerson’s committee of dullards scowling at Tesla.

I don’t know if having the Rex in the front or in the rear makes a true difference but I agree that going with a standard rod and crankshaft based engine for pure electricity production is not the best technology around. A Wankel or a Direct Free Piston Generator would be much more advanced.

Wankel is an emissions nightmare.

The Free Piston Generator, although intriguing, will not be ready for commercialization before advances in battery technology obviate the need of a range extender.

Perhaps Wankel doesn’t have the best emissions but since it is only seldomly used, it doesn’t matter that much any more.

For the FPDG even with better batteries it will always be interesting to have an alternative energy source. It also can be more economic when real long non stop distances are involved in wild places far from superchargers or like for boats and planes.