Just days after GM might have slightly cannibalized Chevy Volt sales for the next couple of months by announcing a tweaked battery and other updates due in August, an insider reportedly let the cat out of the bag that 2.0-liter turbo engine will be introduced by summer 2013 for the 2014 model.
Since their respective launches, the extended-range electric Volt and Opel/Vauxhall Ampera siblings have relied on an 83-horsepower 1.4-liter generator mated to electric propulsion for a combined 149 horsepower, 273-pound-feet torque. But that four cylinder is “definitely not” going to make it to 2014, according to an anonymous source at GM speaking to Inside EVs.
The 1.4 was reportedly always considered a compromise pressed into service at a time of limited/frozen budgets when GM was undergoing bankruptcy restructuring. If the info leak is correct, the now better-funded company will select for the gasoline portion of the powertrain something closer in general specification to the 260-horsepower, 2.0-liter (GM-sourced) turbo engine Fisker uses in the Karma – although a better-engineered design.
The 2.0-liter Ecotec Turbo in question – currently rated at between 220-270 horsepower – has “been thoroughly vetted” and “will most likely” be the 2014 replacement, said Inside EVs today.
This more potent powerplant would possibly also call for an upgraded electric motor and the improved gas-electric powertrain would also be used in the pending Cadillac ELR which GM has said will rely on the Volt’s powertrain, and which is positioned as a sleek, high-line corporate halo.
No speculation/news by the GM insider was reported as to possible updates to the 2014 Volt’s battery pack, or what should be specifically expected regarding range, or other performance parameters from the more powerful powertrain.
In any event, since it has also been leaked that the Cadillac ELR will launch in 2014, updating the Volt’s powertrain for that year would make all the more sense to fit with the sporty image portrayed by the extended-range Caddy that would compete with Fisker’s six-figure extended-range Karma.
The 2.0-liter Ecotec believed to be in the most-favored status at the moment will be used in the pending Buick Verano as well, and Inside EVs quoted GM Global Chief engineer for Ecotec engines, Mike Anderson, who praised the engine that already sees duty in the Buick Regal GS.
“Our continuously variable valve timing is tuned to work in tandem with direct injection and twin scroll turbocharging to achieve optimum fuel economy, lower emissions, and instant performance when needed,” he said. “Having 295 pound-feet (400 Nm) of torque available over a wide range of engine speeds makes for a very exciting driving experience.”
Of course, if utilized the in the Volt, Ampera siblings, and ELR, the 2.0 Ecotec Turbo engine that was awarded by WardsAuto as one its “10 Best Engines,” would be tuned for use as a generator for the plug-in cars. It nonetheless promises to spice up performance, or it could be optimized to help extend range, or offer a combination of both.
As would be expected, GM refused to confirm or deny truth of the news leak of the 2014 engine, citing the usual policy of not commenting on future product, so this is officially a rumor until further notice.