GM's newest Ecotec small engine family.Enlarge Photo
GM’s Ecotec engines have been around since 2000 or so, and have been used to power everything from the Chevy Cavalier through the 2011 Saab 9-5. Currently available in displacements ranging from 1.4 liters (as used in the 2011 Chevy Cruze and upcoming 2012 Chevy Sonic) through 2.4 liters (as used in the 2012 Chevy Malibu and 2012 GMC Terrain, among others) the Ecotec family accounts for a significant portion of GM’s current engine production.
Since downsizing engines for improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions is the easiest way for manufacturers to comply with ever-tightening regulations, GM has announced an all-new global family of Ecotec engines, set to begin production in mid-decade. While the new Ecotec engines will feature performance-and-gas-mileage-boosting-technology such as gasoline direct injection, turbocharging and multi-fuel capability, they’ll also be quite a bit smaller than today’s Ecotec engines.
Displacements will range from 1.0 liter to 1.5 liters, and GM envisions production of over 2 million engines a year by the end of the decade. To reduce production costs and simplify global assembly, the engines will use a modular approach with interchangeable components.
GM isn’t saying where the new engines will be used, only that the engines will span “multiple vehicle architectures in various regions.”
GM’s Jim Federico, vehicle line executive for global small cars and electric vehicles, summed up the need for the new engines by saying, “We are working aggressively on vehicle electrification and other technologies, but the most immediate progress will come from continually improving the internal combustion engine.”
The new Ecotec engines will be developed jointly between GM, the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), Shanghai General Motors and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center.