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GM News: Meet The Next-Generation GM EcoTec Engine Family


William Maley

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Today at a media briefing, General Motors unveiled their next-generation EcoTec engine family. The family will go into production later this year and promises to be more refined and efficient than before.

The engine family is made up of eleven different three and four-cylinder engines ranging in displacement of 1.0 to 1.5 liters. Both naturally-aspirated and turbocharged engines will be on offer and the engines have been designed with hybrid and alternate fuel configurations in the future. Power will range from 75 to 165 horsepower and 70 to 184 pound-feet or torque.

"The new Ecotec architecture represents the most advanced and efficient family of small-car gas engines in GM's history. Along with performance and efficiency targets, we've also aimed for segment-leading refinement with low noise and vibration - and we've hit the bulls-eye," said Tom Sutter, GM's global chief engineer.

The first vehicles to get the latest EcoTec engines will be the Opel Adam and the Chinese-Market Chevrolet Cruze. The Adam will get a new turbocharged 1.0L three-cylinder that is 20 percent more efficient than the 1.6L four-cylinder it replaces. Meanwhile, the Chinese-Market Cruze replaces the 1.6L four-cylinder with a new turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder with 148 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

GM plans to roll out the engine lineup to twenty-seven different vehicles globally. Oddly, GM hasn't announced any plans for the U.S. for the new EcoTec family. We'll likely hear about that later this year.

Source: General Motors

Press Release is on Page 2


New Modular Ecotec Engines are More Adaptable, Efficient

  • Modular architecture streamlines powertrain portfolio, reduces manufacturing complexity
  • Global design and manufacturing processes enhance adaptability, with 11 engine variants ranging from 1.0L to 1.5L
  • Up to 2.5 million annual production at five global plants by 2017

DETROIT – A new generation of Ecotec small-displacement engines streamlines General Motors’ global powertrain portfolio with a modular architecture that broadens its adaptability to global markets and reduces manufacturing complexity – while offering customers leading-edge efficiency, refinement and durability.

The new engines were developed for GM’s global vehicle portfolio and will power many of the company’s highest-volume small cars and compact crossovers – including the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze specifically tailored for China, which launches in 2014 as a 2015 model.

By 2017, more than 2.5 million new Ecotec engines are projected to be built annually in at least five manufacturing locations around the globe: Flint, Mich. (U.S.); Shenyang, China; Szentgotthárd, Hungary; Toluca, Mexico; and Changwon, South Korea. The Flint facility alone represents an investment of more than $200 million in technology and tooling to support the engines’ production.

“Transportation solutions vary around the world and GM is committed to developing engines matched to the needs of the regions where they’re sold,” said Steve Kiefer, GM vice president, Global Powertrain Engineering. “The new engine family is designed to achieve segment-leading refinement and efficiency, and will make its way into five GM brands and 27 models by the 2017 model year.”

The new Ecotec portfolio will include 11 engines, with three- and four-cylinder variants ranging from 1.0L to 1.5L – including turbocharged versions – and power ratings ranging from 75 horsepower (56 kW) to 165 horsepower (123 kW), and torque ranging from 70 lb-ft (95 Nm) to 184 lb-ft (250 Nm). The architecture is also designed to support hybrid propulsion systems and alternative fuels.

The first production applications include a 1.0L turbocharged three-cylinder for the Opel ADAM in Europe, and 1.4L turbocharged and 1.5L naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines for the 2015 next-generation Chevrolet Cruze in China.

The turbocharged variants enable the engines to deliver the power and torque of larger-displacement engines with the efficiency of smaller engines. For example, the turbocharged 1.0L three-cylinder used in the Opel ADAM makes as much power as the naturally aspirated 1.6L four-cylinder it replaces – with an estimated 20-percent improvement in efficiency.

In fact, the new Ecotec family is on the leading edge of efficiency, with the new 1.4L turbo up to five percent more efficient than the 1.4L turbo engine it will replace. The new Ecotec engines also deliver segment-challenging refinement. Noise intensity is up to 50-percent quieter than Volkswagen’s EA211 1.4L four-cylinder and up to 25-percent quieter than Ford’s 1.0L turbo three-cylinder.

Clean-sheet design

The new Ecotec engines represent a clean-sheet design and engineering process, leveraging the diverse experience of GM’s global resources. Technologies such as central direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing, turbocharging and variable intake manifold airflow help achieve efficiency goals with broad power bands, for an optimal balance of strong performance and lower fuel consumption.

“The new Ecotec architecture represents the most advanced and efficient family of small-car gas engines in GM’s history,” said Tom Sutter, global chief engineer. “Along with performance and efficiency targets, we’ve also aimed for segment-leading refinement with low noise and vibration – and we’ve hit the bulls-eye.”

Modularity in parts – such as four-cylinder and three-cylinder blocks – that share bore spacing, bore diameter, liners and other dimensions, reduces complexity while increasing the flexibility to quickly adapt the architecture for new applications.

The new Ecotec engines are calibrated to run on regular unleaded gas – even the high-output turbo variants.

The new 1.4L turbo for the 2015 next-generation Chevrolet Cruze in China is estimated at 148 horsepower (110 kW) and 173 lb-ft of torque (235 Nm). The 1.5L is rated at an estimated 113 horsepower (84 kW) and 108 lb-ft of torque (146 Nm).

In China, Cruze models with the 1.4L turbo engine will also feature an all-new dual-clutch gearbox.


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I would HOPE in 2014 that GM is developing all global engines.

WHY SO MANY?

It is good to see them prioritize 4 cylinder engine families though. Globally they will be the most used with all the damn regs for FE.

I'd like to see the new Cruze come with a beefier 1.4 or 1.5t.

I would hope they come out with some better NA engines too.

Spark could use a nice 100hp engine. Spark SS with a 1.0 or 1.2 turbo three would be the bomb.

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YAWNNNNNNNNN While I am sure they will be good engines, Sewing machines these be, I will stick with my trusty V8 as history has shown little engines in bigger heavier auto's has early death.

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Too many variants... not much innovation. I am sure they are competent engines, but not particularly ground breaking.

Instead of eleven, six would have been enough. And, that six can span the 80~300hp with 100% common bore size, bores, rods, valves, springs, cams, pumps, etc.

  • 1.5L -- 3-cylinder Atkinson -- 85 bhp @ 6000 rpm, 85 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
  • 2.0L -- 4-cylinder Atkinson-- 113 bhp @ 6000 rpm, 113 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
  • 1.5L -- 3-cylinder NA -- 130 bhp @ 6600 rpm, 113 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm
  • 2.0L -- 4-cylinder NA -- 175 bhp @ 6600 rpm, 150 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm
  • 1.5L -- 3-cylinder Turbo -- 220 bhp @ 6000 rpm, 193 lb-ft @ 2600~6000 rpm
  • 2.0L -- 4-cylinder Turbo -- 300 bhp @ 6200 rpm, 260 lb-ft @ 2200~6000 rpm

Basically, you have outputs in six steps... 85, 113, 130, 175, 220 and 300. There are only two displacements, determined by piston count. At the bottom of the output spectrum are the Atkinson cammed engines designed for maximum fuel economy. In the middle are the Naturally aspirated engines designed for decent performance without the additional cost of forced induction. At the top rung are the turbocharged engines with 150 hp per liter.

Everything has an 86 mm bore x 86 mm stroke. The valves, springs, lifters, followers, wrist pins, connecting rods, bolts, coil packs, sensors, tensioners, cam phasers, sprockets, water pumps, starters, alternators, etc. are common and interchangeable between all six engines. The crankshaft is common between all the three cylinder and four cylinder variants. There are three piston styles -- a 15:1 for Atkinson, 12.3:1 for Normally Aspirated and 10.8:1 for turbocharged engines.

Nothing here requires any technological breakthrough. the only thing significant tech here is the use of 2-stage VVL alongside continuous cam phasing on all engines. The cam switching system is already in use with the 2.5L Ecotec in the Impala and is not exactly new. In this case the cam lobe switcher is used to create distinct intake durations. This is used so that part of the compression stroke can be negated to lower effective compression and displacement. In the Atkinson engines the intake durations allow effective compression to be 9.8 or 11.5:1 and effective displacement between 325 and 383 cc per cylinder. In the NA engines, it allows 10.5 or 12.3:1 compression with 425 to 500 cc of effective displacement per cylinder. In the turbocharged engines it allows 9.2 or 10.8:1 compression and 425 to 500 cc per cylinder. Playing with intake duration extension into the compression stroke and thereby influencing true compression and displacement is key to using higher than normal compression ratios.

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but those configurations may not have met other requirements for refinement. the latest 2.0t is a model of smoothness that I really enjoy.

Such as? The 2.0L Turbo here has exactly the same displacement and displacement per cylinder as the current 2.0T.

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The same goes for using 614 cc cylinders on a 4-potter siuch that you have a 2.5L engine. Does it negatively impact refinement? Yes, it does. Is it horrible? No, not if you use a balance shaft. In the case of a 3-cylinder engine you'll need just one shaft rotating in the opposite direction as the crank. This actually compare favorably with a 4-potter which uses two balancer shafts which needs to spin at twice the crank's RPMs.

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I like how a lot of these new turbos drive, but I still wonder if long term, the turbos will operate well and not need expensive replacement after 100k.

The benefit of course with the turbo is the nice wider torque and power on these smaller motors.

It should be interesting to see how all these Cruze turbos hold up once they get to be 5+ years old.

For GM on a global scale, they need to continually be becoming more proficient at making bulletproof and glass smooth 4 cylinder mass market motors like this. Their rep is still not perceived equal to competition yet, I believe. They need to continually invest most heavily in these groups of motors on a global scale.

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Lets see if we have a million of these turbo's on the road after 100K miles. I wonder if this is a way to get auto's to the crusher faster to drive more consumption by selling a 100K car and then toss it.

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There are already millions of turbo charged vehicles out there will 400,000 - 500,000 - 1,000,000 miles on them.....

There is not wholesale turbo failure going on with them.

If there are turbo failures in individual models, that does not damn the entire technology to the dustbin. We did not give up on the car after Pintos started exploding, we made improvements and moved on.

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There are already millions of turbo charged vehicles out there will 400,000 - 500,000 - 1,000,000 miles on them.....

There is not wholesale turbo failure going on with them.

If there are turbo failures in individual models, that does not damn the entire technology to the dustbin. We did not give up on the car after Pintos started exploding, we made improvements and moved on.

I don't know many passenger cars of any engine configuration with 400 ~ 500,000 miles. More than 75% of new cars made don't even make it to 200,000! Most become scrap because their owners junk them before that for various reasons that are not limited to mechanical issues. When an economy car gets to 10 years of age and $3000 in resale value (Eg. 2004 Chevy Cobalt). There are many things which become "beyond economical repair".

If by "many vehicles" you mean long distance Turbo-Diesel 18-wheeler trailer trucks... that's a completely different operating regime than passenger cars. The turbos are MUCH bigger, operating speeds are much lower and operating temperatures are milder. This is in complete contradiction to today's trend in designing turbocharged engines for passenger cars. Today, we trend towards using the smallest turbos we can that the very high RPMs in the name of minimizing lag. This is something that is, in part, made possible by electronic wastegate control. And, today, many engines run tiny turbos to the limit of their permissible speeds then actually reduce boost at higher RPMs and flow rates to keep the turbo from over speeding.

I am not saying that the currently practice is reckless or un-manageable. They aren't. But, we are operating these little turbos really, really hard -- much harder than those monster scrolls in the Peterbilts. And, the verdict is still out on whether there is a significant increase in maintenance costs and longevity with regards to these engines as they age. What I can say is this... the record of the turn of the millenium VW 20V 1.8T engines are not very good. Very little has changed since then.

The biggest break through in turbo durability has been the 1990s introduction (into everyday cars) water cooled turbocharge bearing jackets and electric pump(s) that circulate coolant through the turbos AFTER the engine shuts off. This practically solves the oil coking problems and rendered "turbo timers" obsolete. However, turbos still fail at a fast rate than engines... or rather I should say that they reach an unserviceable state sooner. While catastrophic failures due to a fractured thrust bearing is rare. Oil leaks into the intake or exhaust from the bearing sections is not. Accelerated wear due to oil issues leading to the turbos grinding themselves enough play to dremel themselves to death is not. Diaphram or solenoid failures leading to waste gate failures are not. The key though is that engines in a poor condition can often still run -- not very well but run. An engine can be operable with an oil leak from the gaskets and pans, it can run while burning 1 quart of oil a week, it can run with clattering lifters, it can run with a failed cam phaser, it can run with slipping belts, it can run with a finicky starter, it can run with the loss of compression in a cylinder. If you have driven a beater in your life you will be familar with at least some of those. Turbos with a major component in a poor state fail very quickly.

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