Chevy Volt sales have picked up a moderate amount of steam in 2013, and the recent $5,000 price cut is sure to bring in even more buyers for the plug-in hybrid. There’s still plenty of room for improvement though, like replacing the 1.4 liter generator that charges the Volt’s batteries. That engine could be replaced by a fresh 1.0 liter, three-cylinder turbo that GM just debuted.
The engine will debut in the Opel Adam, a micro-car rival that had an all-electric version until it was nixed late last year. The three-cylinder turbo engine is expected to replace the 1.6 liter four-cylinder currently found in the adam, while making as much power. The three-banger will deliver at least 115 horsepower and 122 ft-lbs of torque, less than the 123 horsepowe rand 148 ft-lbs of torque found in the 1.0 liter Ford EcoBoost engine. Previously the Adam’s most powerful engine only made 87 horsepower though, so this is a big improvement.
But unlike the Ford motor, GM likely has other aspirations for the 1.0 liter three-cylinder, including powering the Chevy Volt. Made entirely from aluminum and said to be 20% more efficient than the engines that it replaces, this new motor could push the Volt’s fuel economy well into the 40s.
If The Volt achieves the 20% efficiency achievement GM CEO Dan Akerson is pushing for, that would put it right around 42 or 43 mpg when the battery is drained. Should GM chop another $5,000 off of the asking price, and ups the fuel economy and all-electric range, the Volt will be even more attractive to buyers.
The battle of the three-bangers is warming up; which automaker will fire the next round in this war of the little engines?