|The new 1.4L turbo for the Cruze. Click to enlarge.|
GM will double its global production of small four-cylinder engines (1.0L to 1.4L) by 2011, with more than half of the increase coming in North America. The strategy is highlighted by an all-new, 1.4L Turbo engine that will power the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.
To support that expansion, GM will invest $370 million in the US to build a new manufacturing plant in Flint, Michigan for the global 4-cylinder engines. The plant will begin production in the US in 2010, and will build two engines: the 1.4-liter turbo for the Chevrolet Cruze and a 1.4-liter naturally-aspirated variant for the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV).
|The 1.4L naturally-aspirated range extender for the Volt. Click to enlarge.|
Estimated power ratings for the 1.4L Turbo will be 140 horsepower (104 kW) with a torque rating of 148 lb-ft (200 Nm). (Earlier post.) The 1.4L’s turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility in smaller vehicles. A reinforced crankshaft and stronger connecting rods are unique, delivering additional strength to support the engine’s pressurized, high-rpm performance.
With a power density of 100 hp per liter, the new turbocharged 1.4L has the power of a larger engine but retains the efficiency of a small-displacement four-cylinder in most driving conditions. In addition to the Chevrolet Cruze, GM will introduce the 1.4L turbo in the US in two additional GM models in 2011.
GM’s small four-cylinder gasoline engines include displacements of 1.0L, 1.2L and 1.4L. The engines were designed with fuel efficiency in mind, including technology such as full variable valve timing that optimizes power and fuel efficiency across the rpm band.
Torque for these engines is generated at lower rpm, for strong, off-the-line launches and confident acceleration at all speeds. Supporting powertrain features, such as torque converter design and transmission gearing, accentuate engine power.
All engines in the family share design elements including:
- Dual overhead camshafts
- Roller-finger follower valvetrain
- Chain-driven camshafts
- Flow-controlled oil pump
- Piston-cooling oil jets
- Thermal management
The engines also incorporate numerous mass-reducing features, including a cast iron block with a hollow frame structure, hollow-cast camshafts, and on non-turbo engines, crankshafts with hollow-core main bearing journals and connecting rod journals.
One-third of GM’s North American engine volume will be four-cylinders by 2011, and 21% percent of the four-cylinder volume will be turbocharged—a seven-fold increase over today’s volume of turbo engines.
The Chevy Cruze compact car that will be built for worldwide distribution at GM’s Lordstown, Ohio facility. It will be offered with the 1.4L Turbo in North America, along with additional small-displacement engines for models sold outside of North America.
The new Flint plant. The investment in the Flint engine plant includes construction of the new 552,000 ft2 plant, machinery, equipment and special tooling to support production of the new 4-cylinder engines. In addition to the $349 million facility investment, GM will invest an additional $21 million for vendor tooling to support the new Flint operations. Construction on the new facility is slated to begin immediately, with completion in 2010. The project will retain about 300 hourly jobs.Approximately 300 highly flexible stations will allow assembly of multiple 4-cylinder engine families without retooling. The plant will be a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified facility. The plant will be landfill free, meaning no waste from manufacturing operations will go to landfills, but will be recycled, reused or converted to energy.
The investment in Flint is one of several that have been announced at US plants in the past 10 years, adding up to more than a $9 billion total investment in Michigan and more than $42 billion in the United States.