General Motors Announces New Generation of Efficient Engines

general motorsIn a press release issued on Friday General Motors announces a new generation of their efficient Ecotec engines. The new line will comprise 11 engines of varying sizes that will be produced and distributed around the world.

The 11 engines will be three and four cylinder designs with displacements of 1.0 to 1.5 liters. GM reports that power output will range from 75 to 165 horsepower, with torque output ranging from 70-184 ft.-lbs. Some of the engines will be turbocharged.

These engines are designed to work with both hybrid drive systems and with alternative fuels.

Fuel efficiency is important in the new series. Many of the engines will also use direct fuel injection and auto stop-start systems. The 1.4 liter turbocharged engine is five percent more efficient than the equivalent engine now used in the Chevy Cruze.

GM plans to build 2.5 million of the engines per year in various locations around the world, including Flint, Michigan. One-quarter of all General Motors vehicles sold around the world will eventually use the engines.

The new Ecotec line will eventually replace three of GM’s engine lines.

Exact plans for the United States are not clear. USA Today reports that early applications in American cars might include the Chevy Sonic sub-compact and the Buick Encore mid-sized crossover.

GM Vice President of Global Powertrain Engineering Steve Keifer announced that the engines would find their way into five GM brands and 17 models by the 2017 model year. One goal of the new engine line is to meet differing global requirements for engines that match local travel conditions. The Ecotec engines will be used in 64 countries.

Keifer said that to keep production costs down there will be many shared components. Front and cam covers, fasteners, sensors, roller ringer followers and cam drives will be shared by all 11 engine variants. These and other details were shared the General Motors press release that announces the new line of generation of efficient engines.

The European market Opel Adam will be one of the first models to feature the new Ecotec engines, being made available with a 1.0 liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine that is reportedly 20 percent more efficient than the engine it replaces, while producing the same horsepower as the 1.6 liter engine it replaces. The Chinese market version of the Chevy Cruze will get new 1.4 liter and 1.5 liter Ecotec engines in 2015.

The new engines are “clean sheet” designs like the earlier V6 and V8 Ecotec 3 engines.  Tom Sutter, global chief engineer at GM, said the designers had hit their targets in performance, efficiency, noise, and vibration.

General Motors engineers have been working on the new designs for about three years, logging almost two million miles of durability testing in that time. Engineers used the engines in 735 test vehicles around the world in that time. More than 1,600 of the engines were built and tested.

Competition from other companies’ small cars and small engines no doubt had some role in the massive Ecotec development efforts. Gm offers comparisons with small Volkswagen and Audi engines that would be in competing models, noting that the Ecotec engines are quieter and lighter.

The 1-4 liter turbocharged engine for example is quieter than the 1.4 turbo engine in the Audi A3, a Volkswagen Group car. The three-cylinder 1.0 liter engine is three decibels quieter than Ford’s EcoBoost engine.

General Motors announces a new line of energy efficient engines and provides some information on how those engines fit into the corporation’s global strategy.

By Chester Davis

USA Today

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