Chevy Volt will ditch 1.4-liter engine for 2.0-liter turbo in 2014

Chevy VoltThe Chevy Volt may have been General Motors’ “moon shot,” but the company is not standing still on development. In addition to a host of upgrades for 2013, the 2014 Volt will experience some changes under the hood. The current 1.4-liter inline-four that generates electricity and occasionally drives this extended-range electric vehicle will be replaced by a 2.0-liter unit with a turbocharger.

InsideEVs reports that the 1.4-liter engine will “definitely not” be in the 2014 Volt. According to a source in GM, the current engine was never intended for the Volt; it was used primarily because it was available for the car’s 2010 launch. GM had thought about designing an engine specifically for the Volt, but its bankruptcy nixed that idea.

The most likely replacement is the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder currently used in the Buick Regal GS and Verano Turbo. The Verano is based on the same Delta II platform as the Volt, which makes putting its engine in the Chevy a lot easier.

The Volt’s gasoline engine is primarily used to generate electricity for the batteries and electric motor, but it could still use more power. A new engine would improve the Volt’s performance once it exceeds its electric-only range. The new engine could also be coupled to a more powerful electric motor, improving the Volt’s overall performance. The current 1.4-liter Volt engine makes 83 horsepower, while the 2.0-liter turbo is tuned to 250 hp in the Verano.

GM is also planning a version of the Volt for Cadillac. Called the ELR, this car will need to have a sportier feel no matter what driving mode it’s in. If the turbocharged engine doesn’t make it into the Volt, it could still be used in the ELR.

GM officials had nothing to say about the possible engine swap, although more information may become available as the clock ticks closer to the 2014 model year.

Talk of a new engine comes just after a host of changes made for the 2013 model year. The Volt’s all-electric range increased from 35 miles to 38, and its miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) increased from 94 miles to 98. An “EV Hold Mode” that gives priority to battery power was also added. Charge times increased slightly.

Continuously improving the Volt is a good idea, especially since its price tag isn’t going down. The Volt is a great car, but its nearly $40,000 sticker is a lot for most people to swallow. If Chevy continues to make the Volt more efficient and better to drive, it could eventually justify that price.