General Motors could make a difference by taking a cylinder out of the the 2015 Chevy Volt, as automakers race to increase fuel economy of their vehicle fleet.
There are a number of strategies to increase fuel economy, including aerodynamic engineering, lightweight materials and engine and transmission design, to name a few.
Electrification has led to another realm of fuel economy increases, as high as 100mpge in the case of some plug-in hybrids. One way to increase fuel economy in the 2015 Chevy Volt could be to make a smaller engine.
The Chevy Volt is already powered by an 84hp 1.4ℓ i4, which is connected to a backup generator to keep the car going after it runs out of battery charge. An interesting thing about the engine, though, is that its performance isn’t directly tied to vehicle performance.
It only needs to run the generator, and so can be tuned to run in a very limited range of rpm, power and torque. A smaller i3 engine could do the job just as well, weigh less, and burn less fuel. It isn’t official, but General Motors could be looking into changing the 2015 Chevy Volt over to a smaller three-cylinder engine, increasing electric range as well as decreasing fuel consumption in gasoline mode.