It's not even in showrooms yet and GM is already looking for ways to improve the Volt.
The extended range plug-in vehicle will make its market debut equipped with GM's fuel-sipping 1.4-liter engine that has been optimized to work with the Volt's battery and electric motor. GM didn't have time to develop a new powerplant specifically for the Volt, so it tuned its existing 1.4-liter engine to operate within a narrow band, typically around 1,800 rpm, to deliver adequate power to car's battery while keeping fuel consumption low.
It got the job done, but there's still room for improvement.
GM is looking at other engines for future generations of the Volt's propulsion system. Volt vehicle director Tony Posawatz offered Wankel engines, gas turbines, and motorcycle engines as possible options, according to an Automotive Engineering article. But perhaps GM's new homogeneous charge compression ignition engine (HCCI) will also makes its debut in the Volt. The carmaker previously announced that its HCCI, which delivers near diesel fuel economy but without the need for additional exhaust trapping equipment, will eventually power the company's lineup of hybrid and extended range plug-in vehicles, but it's not saying when. I guess we'll see in a few years, but my money is on the HCCI.