Chevrolet and Cadillac Mulling Three-Cylinder for Volt and ELR, Report Says
If you had suggested just five years ago that we could have a Cadillac powered by a three-cylinder engine, you’d have been locked away in a loony bin. They’d have made you eat the key. Yet according to a report by Edmunds, that’s what could be on the horizon for Cadillac and Chevrolet. The report says that while the plan has yet to be approved, General Motors is considering the use of three-cylinders as part of its plan to reduce vehicle weight and fuel consumption.
As they stand, the Chevrolet Volt and the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrids are powered by an 84-hp, 1.4-liter four-cylinder working in conjunction with a 149-hp electric motor. If the source of the Edmunds report is correct, that four-banger would be replaced by a 1.0- or 1.2-liter inline-three. About 18 months ago, GM announced it would be working with its Chinese partners to develop a new generation of three- and four-cylinder engines, which likely would be the source for the new Volt and ELR combustion engines. The Volt likely would be the first recipient of the triple with a refresh expected for 2015, while the ELR would follow suit a year later.
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Just last week, GM CEO Dan Akerson spoke of the need to reduce vehicle mass, saying, “A good rule of thumb is that a 10-percent reduction in curb weight will reduce fuel consumption by about 6.5 percent. Our target is to reduce weight by up to 15 percent.” Last November, the man at Ford with the company’s longest title—executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service, and Lincoln—Jim Farley, told us, “Probably the most exciting fuel economy technology we never talk about is ‘lightweighting.’” It just so happens that Ford’s been hard at work on a three-cylinder of its own, which we’ve sampled in a European-market Focus and in the 2014 Fiesta, which will go on sale later this year.
By John Lamm