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GM Releases First Details On Next-Gen Ecotec Engine Family

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GM’s next-gen Ecotec engines

GM’s next-gen Ecotec engines

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General Motors is stepping up its engine game.

Today it released first details of a new range of three- and four-cylinder Ecotec engines from 1.0 to 1.5 liters that replace no fewer than three separate engine families globally.

GM had already shown one variant, a new turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that will appear in the Opel Adam minicar in Europe.

ALSO SEE: 2016 Chevrolet Volt To Launch Next Year: What We Know So Far

2013 Opel Adam

2013 Opel Adam

Enlarge Photo

Now we have more details on the range of engines, which General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] is targeting at both Ford’s downsized EcoBoost range and Volkswagen’s range of three- and four-cylinder EA211 engines.

The goal is to gain high volumes on a single family of small engines that is more fuel-efficient and more refined than the engines it replaces.

By the 2017 model year, GM says, fully 2.5 million of the new Ecotec engines will be built each year--one-quarter of the company's entire global engine production that year.

There will be 11 difference engines in total, both turbocharged and naturally aspirated, with power outputs ranging from 75 to 165 horsepower and torque from 70 to 184 pound-feet.

Development took place at five GM centers around the world, with roughly 1,600 prototype units built and more than 2 million miles driven during testing.

One of the units, most likely the 1.0-liter three-cylinder version, is expected to be utilized for the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

GM also confirmed that the engine architecture is designed to support a hybrid version, though it didn't release any details. If we had to guess, we'd suggest it would be a next-generation version of the eAssist mild-hybrid system now used on the larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine.

There will also be versions designed to handle ethanol up to E100, in markets like Brazil, and bifuel versions capable of running on both gasoline and either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) for markets like Korea.

The engines will appear not only in the European Opel Adam but also in the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze, which will be launched this year in China with both a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated and 1.4-liter turbo versions of the four-cylinder engine.

And the redesigned Cruze for the U.S. market?

Stay tuned for more, GM says.

General Motors provided airfare, lodging, and meals to enable High Gear Media to bring you this first-person report.

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