GM Reported To Be Considering Three-Cylinder Range-Extending Engines For Chevy Volt, Cadillac ELR26
To bring you up to speed, General Motors and Chinese partner SAIC announced back in August of 2010 (and again in October 2011) that they will co-develop small displacement, three cylinder engines and twin-clutch transmissions for future vehicles. And according to a report from Edmunds, The General is considering implementing such engines into the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR plug-in vehicles as the new range-extending powerplants.
If this does happen, we would see a three-cylinder engine replace the current 1.4L four-cylinder gasoline range-extending motor in the Volt by 2015, with the ELR following suit in 2016. The engines would displace anywhere from 1.0 to 1.5 liters, and would also help the Volt and ELR achieve GM’s internal 15-percent weight savings target by 2016, thanks to the lighter weight of the engines.
Naturally, GM would not confirm the application of three cylinder engines in the Volt and ELR, considering how far the plans are into the future.
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Now let all the confused souls post there comments… Cant wait to read the coming comments…
I was about to say the same thing.
*sits back and waits*
The 3 cylinders are coming and every company with small cars will have one. Many markets need them to meet the tax breaks on the smaller engines. We will need them here to meet the crazy CAFE standards.
Ford will be the first to blink here.
I just wonder how long till the Spark is the first to get one.
I agree they are inevitable. Not sure what to think about one going into the Volt or ELR. I guess it would have to not lose much power over the current 1.4L. Lighter weight and better fuel economy are a given. My guess is it’s more likely the Volt will get a 3-cylinder than the ELR.
Call me a confused soul. Why does GM see twin clutch a fit exclusively for cars over 40 K$ ?? The “cost” excuse was also cited for direct injection. I noticed that Hyundai had trouble making twin clutch work with a turbocharged engine (see the Veloster options). So GM could be having difficulties making it work with their strategic decision to go with small turbos. Either way, if it is development cost recovery that is at issue, why would you not want to put twin clutch into as many vehicles as possible if you really know how to do it? Perhaps it is long-term, binding contracts with suppliers that is restricting GM’s hand. Would just like to know the story on this one.
where does it say the dual clutch will be exclusive to vehicles 40k and up?
Bronco624, Dude the gas engine in the Vilt is a generator for the BATTERIES it dies not drive the car in any way; the electric motor drives the wheels… This is what I am talking about, miss informed comments like this. The Volt could have a 2 cyl at the end of the day… Come on people…
Actually no, a normal sized 2 cylinder would not work in the Volt.
The engine runs a generator which runs the electric motor for the drive wheels.
If you put too small an engine in it, it would not be able to give the motor enough power to allow the Volt to be driven as a normal vehicle. This may be acceptable for a limp home mode but not meet the customer demands that GM wants for it. Acceleration would be severely diminished and top speed would probably too low for expressway driving, just as a two cylinder in a Cruze would not work.
The engine does not charge the batteries in the Volt.
It directly supply’s power to the generator when the battery gets to a certain point.
Current Volt in some circumstances DOES mechanically couple the engine crankshaft directly to the transaxle gear to gear.
That should be Volt and does not drive…
I’m one of those confused types that likes to choose what I want (usually the best I can afford), but hey perhaps your right maybe it’s time for one size fits all. One car, one brand, one choice of supermarket & product, one choice of white goods, one choice of clothing etc, etc. & that choice made by whatever product generates the most profit for its makers, life would be boring, everything would be the same with rubbish products & no completition. People’s spelling, grammar & intelligence would also suffer as there would be no motivation to do better. Fine your choice of car in your opinion is the best, but don’t slate the rest of the range & put down other people’s choice of car it’s a world in which we all have a choice.
The ignorance of people astound me. 1) The volt wheels do directly engage the engine when the battery has been depleted at certain speeds. 2)The generator generates electricity to charge the battery which provides power to the electric engine. At no time does the generator supply electrical energy directly to the electric engine. It goes to the battery first. I’m a volt owner so take this as a fact.
You are somewhat incorrect and somewhat correct.
“When asked if the Volt can use the on-board gas engine to charge up its own batteries, the official PR response has gone something like this; “Under normal circumstances, the Volt’s gasoline engine does not produce excess energy that can be stored in the battery.” But here’s the rub, Mountain Mode is not a “normal circumstance.”
As the Volt drives using the electricity stored in the battery, it gradually drains that battery just like any electronic device. But if you’re driving the Volt with the batteries nearly depleted and find yourself facing a long, steep grade, the gasoline generator alone may not be able to produce enough electricity to maintain normal performance. Mountain Mode is the remedy for this possible problem. Mountain Mode is a driver selectable feature that runs the gas engine in order to store up energy that the drive system can later pull from when traveling up a long steep hill. The catch is you have to know ahead of time that you’ll be driving up hill because if you wait until you’re at the bottom of that long, steep grade to select Mountain Mode, it’s too late.”
So the gas engine can charge the batteries but only if you tell it too ahead of time. Normally the gas engine drives the electric motor directly. Trying to explain mountain mode just confuses people.
Also from GM (Rhadigan)
“”The reason it does that is because we want you to arrive with the batteries ’empty,’ filling up on grid power costs about 1/6th of what it does with gas.””
Perhaps I misread your statements?
It would be a waste of energy to have the gas engine charge the battery and then the battery power the electric motor. Inefficiencies happen whenever you add complexity to a system.
A side note, GM got tripped up when the were stating that the volt is a pure electric vehicle because in some situations the gas engine actually mechanically drives the wheels
yaba, please read the other comments, and also note that this is the superiority of the Volt over something like the Leaf. It can run on the gas engine like a normal car when the batteries are depleted.
“It can run on the gas engine UNLIKE a normal car when the batteries are depleted.”
Conventional cars convert gas into mechnical motion that drives the wheels.
The Volt converts gas into mechnical motion that drives a generator that powers electric motors that drives the wheels. This, only after the battery is nearly depleated.
Bronco624, My point is that at no time does the gas engine provide power to the wheels an electric motor does…
Actually it does.
above 70 mph the gas engine mechanically drives the wheels.
np man, let’s just move on 🙂
Vetee NO it Does Not… I rarely disagree with you but now I am puting my foot down… Read… From the artical you posted: At about 70 mph, the Chevy’s motor is starting to spin too fast to be efficient, so the ring gear unlocks from the case and locks to the smaller motor/generator. Now both e-motors spin, propelling the Volt to 101 mph turning at reasonable rpm in electric mode. The Prius’ gas engine must start turning when vehicle speed exceeds 62 mph.
It says there is another emotor that kicks in… At no time does the Gas engine propell the vehicle people…
Powered by GM’s revolutionary Voltec propulsion system, it consists of a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and electric drive unit that provide pure electric range between 25 and 50 miles, depending on terrain, driving techniques and temperature. A 1.4L gasoline-powered engine extends the range up to an additional 310 miles on a full tank of fuel by operating the vehicle’s electric drive system until the car can be plugged in and recharged or refueled. This distinguishes the Volt from electric-only vehicles, which cannot be operated when recharging is not immediately available – such as during a power interruption or on a long-distance trip.
I no longer know who I am disagreeing with and what I am disagreeing with:)
I do know I put actual quotes from Chevrolet engineers and PR folks on how the system works. It is a very complicated system. And gm-volt.com over simplifys.
Does anybody disagree with the excellent information I quote below?
One-Motor EV Mode
Driving around town at up to approximately 40 mph, power flows from the 400-pound, 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery to a large permanent-magnet motor, which moves the car.
Two-Motor EV Mode
The harder you push the car, the more stressed the primary motor becomes—until a second, smaller motor joins in, allowing the larger one to spin more slowly. The two motors connect to the planetary gearset, which blends power from the pair into torque that drives the car.
One-Motor Extended-Range Mode
Between 25 and 50 miles into your drive, the battery will dip to 35 percent charge, and the gas engine will start. Here, the gas engine drives the small electric motor, using it to generate electricity (an electric motor run backward is a generator) to sustain the battery’s charge.
Two-Motor Extended-Range Mode
With the battery low, at highway speeds, the primary electric motor continues to drive the car. But now the gasoline engine mechanically connects to and powers the secondary electric motor, which in turn helps the primary motor drive the wheels.
I think the terminology we all used confused/confounded what we meant to say.
Anyway from the Chief Engineer Andrew Farah himself (who I used to work with, but that does not matter) comes some tidbits to answer the questions.
Here is also
OK I found a slightly better explanation of the different modes that goes a little more into the mechanically driven mode.
Mode 1: Low-speed electric-only mode up to 70 mph. The main traction motor-generator is turning, but it can only go so fast. Here the ring gear is locked so it can’t turn. The second motor-generator and the engine are disconnected and out of the picture. The main traction motor is left alone to drive the sun gear from battery power, which sets the planets in orbit. The orbit speed is sent out through the carrier and is proportional to vehicle speed.
Mode 2: High-speed electric-only mode up to top speed (100 mph). The engine remains dormant. Now the ring gear unlocks and is instead clutched to the second motor-generator, which is acting as a motor to set the ring in motion. With the sun already spinning, any rotation of the ring in the same direction will increase the overall orbit speed of the planets, which in turn increases vehicle speed beyond 70 mph.
Mode 3: Low-speed series hybrid mode up to 70 mph. Gasoline is now the base fuel that’s propelling the Volt in series-hybrid fashion. The battery has run down as far as the control system will allow. The ring gear is unlatched from the second motor-generator and locked in place as it was in Mode 1, and the main traction motor once again is solely responsible for making the planets orbit. But the electricity to do that now comes from the gas engine, which has been clutched to the second motor-generator, now in generator mode.
Mode 4: High-speed series-parallel hybrid mode up to top speed. This is classic gasoline-powered series-parallel operation. You can’t have both electric motors driving the car at high speed like we saw in Mode 2 because the battery is discharged, meaning that the second motor-generator must continue to be a generator driven by the engine. This is where the engine begins to directly drive the ring gear. The engine is already clutched to the second motor-generator, so a straight-through mechanical connection is established when the ring’s motor-generator clutch is engaged. Compared to Mode 3, the engine works harder here because it is simultaneously driving the ring gear and the shaft of the generator.
Vettee, so looks like to your point Mode 4 does offer some type of mechanical connection… Interesting… Who knew, thanks for the info… You can’t have both electric motors driving the car at high speed like we saw in Mode 2 because the battery is discharged, meaning that the second motor-generator must continue to be a generator driven by the engine. This is where the engine begins to directly drive the ring gear. The engine is already clutched to the second motor-generator, so a straight-through mechanical connection is established when the ring’s motor-generator clutch is engaged. Compared to Mode 3, the engine works harder here because it is simultaneously driving the ring gear and the shaft of the generator.
Trains have a diesel-powered generator to run the electric traction motors.
GM used to make trains.
Why not a small diesel to run the generator ???
Give me an aluminum big block any day !