Sources: Next-Gen Chevy Volt To Get 1.0 Liter 3 Cylinder Engine, Seating For 5


Next-Gen Chevy Volt Teaser

Next-Gen Chevy Volt Teaser

Nearly one year ago, InsideEVs broke the news that the next-gen Chevy Volt was expected to received the 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine that debut in the Opel Monza concept.

That was further confirmed yesterday when General Motors revealed the lone teaser image of the next-gen 2016 Volt.

At the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, GM made the next-gen Volt reveal.  Automotive News was on hand for the event and hunted down “sources” who confirmed that GM will “downsize to a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine, from the current 1.4-liter four-cylinder.”

Those same “sources” further confirmed that the next-gen Volt will seat 5, which we at InsideEVs consider a necessity if sales success is what GM seeks in the next-gen Volt.

Here’s a schematic of that 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder engine:

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

When Opel unveiled the Monza concept, here’s what we reported:

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.

And here are the known specs on that Monza concept engine:

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

 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

Categories: Chevrolet

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58 Comments on "Sources: Next-Gen Chevy Volt To Get 1.0 Liter 3 Cylinder Engine, Seating For 5"

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Is 115 hp really necessary for a range extender engine? Wouldn’t a simpler, less expensive drive train in which the ICE only charges the battery pack and the only vehicle propulsion is provided by an electric motor be a better design? An ICE could be designed that would be very efficient at a fixed speed and could run at this speed whenever the battery pack needed charging. The i3 Rex seems to work well enough with a much less powerful ICE. But instead, GM seems to be keeping the complex, heavy Voltec drive train in which the ICE not only charges the battery pack but also provides vehicle propulsion under certain conditions.

Don’t give up on propulsion for a gasoline engine! Your premise is that Electric propulsion is always more efficient than propulsion from a Gasoline engine. This is not the case. In stop and go traffic, when accelerating or when cruising at a lower speed Electric drive is more efficient, but when cruising at highway speeds (70-80 mph) a small gasoline engine can supply enough power to drive the vehicle and do it more efficiently than running at a higher r.p.m. to charge the battery. Said another way, if the computer determines that the r.p.m. of the engine would be lower to drive the wheels than to create electricity to drive the electric motor, then it should use that engine power to do so. To operate the other way would cause the car to use more gas to travel the same distance.

ICE is never as efficient as electric drive. But if you are going to use it, a steady speed is most efficient. This situation only exists on long highway stretches. And then it is more efficient to use it to drive the wheels directly, to avoid conversion loses which are always present when converting from one form of energy to another.

There are lots of other considerations when using ICE and electric drive together, which can complicate the design decisions. But the above statement remains true.

Electric is always more efficient than ICE, but only when you have stored electricity. Using an ICE to spin a generator to power a motor to spin the wheels will often be less efficient than using an ICE to spin the wheels directly. Every time you convert energy, you lose some of it.

Based on what hypermiling strategies work in hybrids, what you actually want to do is have an ICE that can run at a few power levels and speeds efficiently, and then use the motor/generator to fine tune the power/speed as required to control the car. This is essentially what pulse and glide is doing, but the engine computer can do it with a shorter duty cycle and more effectively than a person can. For efficiency, you definitely want the engine to directly power the wheels (possible in series with a speed adjustment motor) once your primary energy source is gasoline. The only reason not to is to reduce complexity in the drivetrain.

My understanding was GM decided to use the ICE to drive the wheels at highway speeds to provide better highway performance ie when going up large hills/mountains. Electric motors do very well at low speed but torque drops off quickly as speed increases. The opposite is true for ICE.
Yes it would have been simpler and probably cheaper to just put in a M.G. set and run the electric motor and or recharge the battery but then highway performance would have dropped off.

Actually they did it for increased efficiency. In fact, if you floor the accelerator when the gas engine is running at, say, 70mph, there is a brief hesitation while the motors change to a series configuration to supply full power from the main electric motor.

But under lower power demands, having the engine directly drive the wheels (using the electric motor as a carrier) boosts efficiency by 10-15% by avoiding energy conversion losses.

Except that a big change just happened with the new direct free piston generator of Toyota. It is now also more efficient at constant highway speed that a mechanical transmission through crank and shaft to the wheels. The line fuel piston electricity motor wheels is now more efficient than the line fuel piston crank and shaft clutch gear box wheel, in ALL circumstances.
This is what make non serial systems obsolete.

The I3 Rex has a performance drop in extended range mode because the engine is too small and it doesn’t come on until there is only 6% battery charge remaining, way too late…

And that’s why GM designed the Volt to handle a cross country trip, thru the Rockies. And to avoid bad reviews.

It’s designed for America.

That’s one of the differences between an EREV and a regular PHEV.
You are not supposed to drive it with the ICE, it’s an electric car designed to drive on electricity.

If you want a car that you don’t have to charge any time at all if you don’t want to and can get you on any roadtrip you want easily with just petrol and no electricity then go PHEV like the Volt or the Prius plug-in.

A Volt is an EREV, with a powerful enough engine to notice zero decrease in performance when the battery is depleted.

A regular PHEV needs the engine under heavy acceleration or top speeds. The VOLT does not. Hence it is an EREV. It doesn’t matter if it uses a patented transmission to gain an additional 15% efficiency to use the engine to power the wheels using a motor as a carrier at high speeds and low load after the battery is depleted. It is still an EREV and the best of both worlds.

The current engine barely cuts it for climbing long hills, so I think the upgrade to 115 hp will broaden the appeal of the Volt. Here in Colorado there are many climbs of 10-20 miles where 86hp in a rather heavy car limits your maximum speed to something less than the posted speed limit. For these applications the Cmax or Fusion Energi are better cars.

Driving blow the posted speed limit is illegal?

It is more efficient to use energy directly from the gasoline, rather than convert gasoline-to-mechanical-to-electricity-to-chemical (battery) and then back into electricity and mechanical (spin the wheels).

So the Volt (and also Honda Accord hybrid) is designed to use the gasoline engine directly to the wheels where it’s most efficient to do so: Approximately 35 miles/hour and up.

After the battery is depleted, the EV mode is only used at slow speeds.

You are focusing on the wrong metric. The metric is the rpm at which power is produced sufficient for the drivetrain. Not peak power.

Here, the turbo three produces at a greater amount of torque and power at a much lower rpm than 4 cylinder. 166Nm at 1800 rpm all the way to 4700 rpm that would equate to 31 KW at 1800 rpm up to 81 KW at 4700 rpm.

So the 3 cylinder turbo operates a much lower RPM and has a much greater fuel efficiency. It has a 400 RPM difference in sweet spot for BSFC compared to the 4 cylinder, while producing more power. A 20% reduction in fuel consumption would be easily obtainable. 25% less cylinders and 19% less RPM.

Taser, nice summary. I was curious about exactly that. I was concerned that a smaller engine would result in higher RPM’s and greater NVH.

Sounds like the opposite is true based on your comment, assuming your tech data is accurate. 🙂

That’s generally the case for turbo-charged engines. The torque curve is broader and the peak torque starts at a much lower rpm – makes them more fun to drive, as well as (usually) more efficient than a larger-displacement engine with the same output.

I would like to see a compromise with the current Volt ICE (63kW) and the i3 REx (25kW). The REx is underpowered for hill/mountain conditions or or 75MPH on flat terrain. Somewhere in the 45kW range would be great.

“The i3 Rex seems to work well enough with a much less powerful ICE.”

Except that the reality is that it does not work well enough. Not even close.

If the i3 tries to climb any significant grade at highway speeds, it doesn’t have enough power to maintain its speed and soon you’re in an unsafe situation and not keeping up with traffic.

Even the Volt’s current 84hp engine still requires a “Mountain Mode” to be engaged to build up battery charge in advance of attempting to ascend a long, steep climb at highway speeds. So increasing the power of the engine will help in this circumstance.

Also, having a small engine with a turbo seems like a perfect match for an EREV. You can get high efficiency most of the time, but the turbo can kick in when you need that extra boost in mountain driving.

I hope it isn’t turbo-charged.

Probably a turbo, considering how efficient, and ubiquitous small turbos are becoming. BMW went turbo-3, the next turbo-4 from VW is rumored to add another 5mpg (~37Hwy), etc. Direct injection and incredibly precise fuel metering, and ignition, have actually made big strides. Big enough to overcome diesel (higher $ fuel and maint).

I like Honda’s approach better. A 2.0 Atkinson getting 50mpg out of the mid-size Accord hybrid. As a series drive train, there are synergies. But, if GM wasn’t thinking “mass market”, they wouldn’t develop such things. They borrowed from Opel, for their “compliance” car (Afterall, that’s what Mahoney’s “California and the Northeast” are code for). And if you’re Honda (Toyota, etc), you bank on customers being happy going from $225/month, to $210/month in fuel, instead of $50/month with a PHEV they don’t understand.

I don’t think CA and the NE are code for “Compliance car” The data simply supports that people on the coasts adopt these vehicles far more than the middle of the country. Maybe that’s partly due to incentives, though I think that’s more the case in CA than the northeast.

Demographics and population density also likely play a role.

Then, he could have said “coasts”, or could have pointed to the “Oklahoma trough”. That’s where his word choice rings the way it did, for me. The selection of “Oklahoma”, itself, is politically charged (team Inhofe).

Mahoney also doesn’t look like he’d be much for a compact. So, maybe there’s room for these being his own comments.

Everything in the blog post says it’s turbocharged, pretty much as expected these days.

Interesting. I wonder what the impact of using the smaller genset will have on NVH. If it is insulated well perhaps it will be less buzzy than the current genset. Maybe.
I don’t like the amount of noise that the current genset makes in high load situations, but most of the time my passengers don’t even know that it kicked on, so maybe I am being too critical.
I wonder if it will make a noticeable difference in CS mpg. I imagine it will get the combined mpg above 40 but have no idea how much over.

Maybe the halo’d 50/50?

I’m going to say yes on the 50AER, but no on the 50mpg.. probably 40-something.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter much to me what the CS MPG is, but it helps for marketing the car.

kdawg, any improvements will be welcome! LOL!

I only use the genset for 5% of my miles so improved mpg won’t help me much, but for a lot of people, and for PR purposes, improving the CS mpg will make a difference.

Improved MSRP and roomier rear seats plus more AER are still at the top of my wish list, and a faster charge rate, (while not necessary), would be nice.

It will be interesting seeing how things play out!

Personally as an owner of a Prius, I have a hard time getting into a vehicle which is rated at 40 mpg or less.

Though if the next gen Volt seats 5 with at least as much cargo room as a Prius and gets 45 mi EV range along with anything over 40 mpg, it will be very hard to resist.

Your comments highlight a great example of how the general public doesn’t understand the Volt.

Yes, the engine gets 40mpg, but with 40 miles of electric driving, the majority of miles use zero gasoline, and effective MPG is typically triple digits.


But, since the public has trouble grasping this, a larger MPG number for the engine can only help sales. In practice though, it does very little to increase gasoline savings.

Remember that not everyone has the same use case as you and even with 40 mile electric range they would be better off with a 50 mile range vehicle that does not plug in.

I just hope they correct the backseat…awful is being kind.

“Remember that not everyone has the same use case as you”
Just 80% of the population

“and even with 40 mile electric range they would be better off with a 50 mile range vehicle that does not plug in.”
This does not make sense. You need to do the math. And you need to realize not everyone is a hyper-miler in a hybrid and can achieve rated MPGs. And that short trips destroy hybrid MPG ratings.

If anyone remembers the Volt was originally supposed to have a 1L 3cyl engine, rumor was they substituted the 1.4L as a cost saving (It was off the shelf). And Tennessee is right, at highway speeds it’s considerably more efficient to drive the wheels mechanically with the engine than electrically with a genset. This is a great thing if the Volt’s CS mileage increases to Prius territory, it makes the market more interesting!

We still don’t know if it has a turbo or not.

I am hopeful that it WILL have a turbo as this results in a nearly 100 pound weight loss over the current 4 cylinder engine.

At the same time we should have more power than the original engine which should drop RPM and decrease NVH on steep hills. Here is the data:

add to this a 10-20% decrease in fuel consumption and it is hard to find fault with this turbo 3.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

A 1l Atkinson-cycle engine should be able to do 50kW, which would roughly match what’s available currently. A 1l normally-aspirated motorcycle engine can generate well over 100kW, probably around 150kW.

A next-gen engine with an electric supercharger and variable valve timing could choose its cycle depending on demand: Atkinson for max efficiency, Miller for max density. Add in an exhaust-driven turbine and/or Turbosteamer to recover some exhaust heat.

So what are the cons of this 1.0L, 3 cylinder engine, compared to the current 1.4L 4 banger?
More HP, more fuel efficient, less weight….are there any cons?

None that I know of, as long as GM can pull of a reliable design. Turbos are more complex than a normally-aspirated engine, but the tech has been around a while, so it shouldn’t be a relevant issue.

The 1L 3-cylinder engine will make it a more efficient plug-in hybrid, by adding more hp in a smaller displacement.

Turbocharging will offer more torque at lower rpms to help the Volt climb hills better, improved passing ability and maintaining higher freeway cruising speeds.

If this was an actual range extend EV like the i3 there would be no need for more hp or turbocharging, but it’s not and so there is the need, and the Volt will be better for it.

Noise and vibration could be an issue.

Wow – looking at ICE schematics, I’m continually impressed that they work at all, never mind the levels of engineering optimization that has gone into the tech…but then, looking at Tesla’s drive unit…ICE just looks so barbaric, laughable and just screams “Stone Age” – in fact, we need to propagate a new term…”ICE Age” I’ve seen before…what else?…”Gas Age”…meh…

An internal combustion engine is not really any older then the electric motor. Both come from the Victorian age (1800s).

The wheel predates both. 😀

lol agreed, i never even liked engines before electric motors.

an electric motor the size of a watermelon with more power than an entire engine bay that doesnt need gas or oil, i mean come on. ICE Age

What will be interesting is if the new engine will actually engage the drive shaft or will it be strictly for charging up the battery and or maintaining a SOC.

I don’t see any advantage, efficiency-wise, to eliminating the coupling of the RE to the drivetrain. Transaxle is proven and effective.

More seating and smaller ICE? Sounds great to me. If they can reduce the price a bit more too then this should be a big hit.

You need a WAGON version for business use,
and hunters, fishers and campers.

If you recall, I’ve mentioned the ‘headline’ 2 days ago. hehe.

I want an AWD Volt SS that uses a second electric motor to drive the rear wheels. I’ll happily pay an extra $10K for that.

They hopefully will make the serial mode primary, and instead of the multi-clutch combo-mode hybrid, instead it would have 2-3 gears direct to the wheels tuned for 45-65MPH highway cruising mode. In other words, it would be a serial / parallel plugin hybrid. The engine either charges the battery, or it drives the wheels on the highway. The reduced size of the engine and transmission can be used for addition battery cells in the front; forming an elongated ‘H’. The serial mode would kick on the ICE at an appropriate point of battery charge, and all the ICE needs to do is charge above the average level of use. The ICE can be tuned for peak efficiency all the time; either to charge the battery or to move the car at 45-65MPH. It would not ever need to produce the peak power needed to power the car from a standstill or up a mountain. The electric motor would do those things. So, if the car requires ~14HP average to move at highway speeds (like the Tesla Model S does), then a 50-75HP serial genset can provide that plus enough to increase the battery charge. The battery pack would be used… Read more »

I’m pretty sure the Volt’s transmission is about as efficient as it can be for the application. Engine optimization is the right way to enhance efficiency.

What you described is already what the Voltec does today.

The series-parallel is happening between 45mph to 70mph depending on the load.

If you study the block diagram you will see that happening already.

Voltec is already simple. Anyone who thinks it is complex doesn’t know how planetary gearsets work…

I am convinced half of the Tesla success is simply because their cars are seriously quick. Hoping Volt 2.0 has better performance. Heck the new B class Merc EV is a heavy, front wheel drive pig (like the Volt) and Car and Driver just clocked it at 6.8 or so seconds to 60…that’s a healthy 2+ seconds quicker than Volt 1.0. Improve the performance of 2.0 and I am much closer to re-upping when my 1.0 lease expires next year.


Volt needs to retake the 0-60mph crown for sub $40K plugin car that it lost back in 2013….

It needs to do 0-60mph in sub 7s.

Sadly the current Volt could achieve that, if they weren’t so conservative on the ‘nanny software’ artificially limiting the acceleration from a dead start.

So it is quite possible, if they want to do it.

“Electric” turbo ?

I realize we incur noise-vibration issues, but isn’t a small turbo-diesel the optimal powerplant for a generator?
I see it mentioned precisely never, so I must have missed the memo. (my memory and limited logic says tiny turbo-diesel to CVT to optimized generator should equal 60mpg, EZ)

I hope this direct injection turbo doesn’t suffer from some of the same carbon buildup issues seen in Audi/VW’s. More power and efficiency until you have to the valves get gunked up. Hopefully they’ve figured that out and as other’s mentioned the 40mpg barrier is exceeded when the engine kicks in to supply the electrons.

I drive a seriously fast Audi but I am interested in the Volt as a future car. The turbo will work but fouling of the valves is a real issue with direct injection. Would like to know if it can be addressed? For me a little more speed to 60 and an SS handling package would be a winning combo. I think the turbo 3 will be a welcome change on that front if it is allowed to run full out when called on. I drove the current Volt and the handling was respectable (could be worked with) but power could be a bit more assertive. Can’t be all things to all people I know but a handling pack and a few more volts (pardon the pun) to the motor will get a bunch more techie car guys on board without spoiling the green efficient car that it is. My V8 is great on track days but complete overkill for work days. I’d love to see fun and efficiency in one package. Yes, I am greedy but in a good way. : ) The AWD is not likely possible for packaging weight cost etc reasons. I would love it but… Read more »

Did you drive the Volt in sport mode ?

I would also prefer an AWD version, with a little more power.

The Volt’s normal mode is like a truck with overdrive on.
Put it into sport, and it’s like the truck with overdrive off.