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Second-Generation Chevrolet Volt Could Use Rotary Engine

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Second-Generation Chevrolet Volt Could Use Rotary Engine

Published May 26, 2010

SANTA MONICA, California — Chevrolet's 2011 Volt hasn't even made it to the dealer showroom yet and GM's engineering team is already working on cost-cutting solutions for the second-generation Chevy Volt.

"Right now, the propulsion system is too expensive, even with using an existing engine," GM's new vice president of global vehicle engineering, Karl Stracke, told Inside Line today. But Stracke confirmed that future Volt powertrains are already being tested, including several different range-extending engines, possibly even a rotary.

"We have a strategy to go rotary engines or a two-cylinder [gas] engine making 15-18 kW. I have driven the car already. Rotary has a higher fuel consumption but here's the advantage [holds up his hands to form round, frisbee-sized shape] — packaging."

"One rotor could be enough," Stracke continued. "Of course with the higher rpm of a rotary, you need to have an NVH solution."

Stracke says GM is also looking at the possibility of a diesel engine. "The cost of the engine would be higher for the manufacturer," said Stracke, "but the fuel costs would be cheaper for customers."

If GM hopes to reach the same level of mainstream success with the Volt as Toyota has accomplished with its Prius hybrid, it's extremely important to cut costs in future generations. Stracke says the cost of the 2011 Volt's battery pack is "roughly $10,000" and that GM is "working aggressively to get that cost down 50 percent" for the next Volt.

"The future of the automobile has never been as interesting as it is right now," said Stracke. "Big question is, what new propulsion system will come next?"

Inside Line says: It may be the poster child for the future of GM, but even the Volt won't survive without a viable business case. — Kelly Toepke, News Editor

link:

http://www.insideline.com/chevrolet/volt/second-generation-chevrolet-volt-could-use-rotary-engine.html

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I'm like Honda and Greenpeace, I am just not sold on the longterm viability of electric cars.

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Hmmm...makes me think of the Vega..wasn't it supposed to get a rotary engine at some point?

It was the Monza that was to use the rotary, also there was the AstroVette. AMC was going to buy rotary engines from GM for the Pacer.

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isn't the e-flex supposed to be "multi engine ready"? pick your (power)plant? ...let the customer decide...

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isn't the e-flex supposed to be "multi engine ready"? pick your (power)plant? ...let the customer decide...

the platform is very easy to engineer for different powerplants. Making the powerplant modular could be interesting, but might be too costly.

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I expect that we will see optional engines as there is little to plugging one in once you get the computer mapped out. The drivablility tuning is the hard work.

I fully expected to see a Diesl in the Opel version first and then in the second gen Volt. It is just a way more efficent way to run this deal just a little more expensive to build right now.

Rotory. Ehh. They have never really proved to be good at anything but racing in GTU. They hsd fuel issues, emission issues and have had durability issues over the years. Also the exhaust factor issues as they are hard to keep quiet.

The Rotory just has yet to really prove itself as other than Mazda few other companies really have no interest.

I also expect a full electric Volt option to come for those who think they can live with it. It would be nice if one could option the engine in the Volt.

My first thought when I saw the Leaf sold 13,000 units is How many will be along the road dead? Even with the miles to empty on the dash of longer range gas cars people alway push them too far. But unlike a gas car there is no can of electric to get you going again.

I think with Fords hold on Mazda that if the rotory was the answer it would be in other Fords by now.

Edited by hyperv6

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mazda's rotaries burn oil. what is the point of saving on gas if you are just going to burn oil instead?

the gas engine on the volt does not need all the mechano trickery with vvt etc to get a broad torque curve. something like a 3 cyl. in line SOHC that simply is fuel efficient and maybe has HCCI or something would make sense. I think its even hard to justify the turbo.

A simple 3 cylinder that could be shared with the Spark or Corsa or maybe they strike a deal with Tata to develop a basic 3 cyl engine, one for the Volt and another for offshore Nanos.

Edited by regfootball

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Take the Volt, throw out the current engine and replace with a nice clean-burning diesel I2 or I3 and the efficiency would go even further thru the roof.

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mazda's rotaries burn oil. what is the point of saving on gas if you are just going to burn oil instead?

the gas engine on the volt does not need all the mechano trickery with vvt etc to get a broad torque curve. something like a 3 cyl. in line SOHC that simply is fuel efficient and maybe has HCCI or something would make sense. I think its even hard to justify the turbo.

A simple 3 cylinder that could be shared with the Spark or Corsa or maybe they strike a deal with Tata to develop a basic 3 cyl engine, one for the Volt and another for offshore Nanos.

You're right... due to the nature of the what the engine is doing, it just needs to run at a set RPM and do it very efficiently. HCCI would be a great addition.

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You're right... due to the nature of the what the engine is doing, it just needs to run at a set RPM and do it very efficiently. HCCI would be a great addition.

a great way to introduce and amortize the HCCI in a production vehicle.

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Agreed, but I understand from a technological standpoint why the rotary idea was raised.

I can't believe that GM would even consider such an engine due to its inherent reliability and lifespan issues, not to mention its thirst (especially in this application)!

Rotaries are a dead end in the automotive realm.

Not to mention that the electric aspect of the Gen II Volt is the critical part of the game.

Edited by Camino LS6

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It's just an idea floating around.... I bet there is some wiz of an engineer who thinks he can address the issues the rotary currently has and suggested it.

how about a direct injected HCCI rotary with much improved seals? It's not impossible.

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It's just an idea floating around.... I bet there is some wiz of an engineer who thinks he can address the issues the rotary currently has and suggested it.

how about a direct injected HCCI rotary with much improved seals? It's not impossible.

Stranger things have happened, I suppose.

Still, an odd tidbit for GM to allow to become public as well as a distraction from the main focus of a second-gen Volt.

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"Right now, the propulsion system is too expensive, even with using an existing engine,"

DI, HCCI and diesel are all most likely out as they would most likely be more expensive than the alternatives. I'm not sure how a rotary engine compares price wise, but I assume it would be the size/weight that would be of interest to GM.

I think GM is right to be focusing on cost. That is the Volt's Achilles heel. I really don't think they should spend much of any time focusing on the fuel efficiency of the ICE. Sure, it would be nice if the Volt ICE offered better FE than a Prius, but I don't think that is going to happen. Nor should any Volt buyer plan on using the ICE on a regular basis (if you do, a hybrid is almost certainly a better option for you).

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