Fastlane

March 21, 2014

New Ecotec Engine Development Circles the Globe

Insights on GM’s new, modular Ecotec engine family from Global Chief Engineer Tom Sutter

As one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, it is our mission to produce exciting and innovative vehicles that make your life on the road easier. And as one of the largest, we have the unique position of being able to leverage an impressive amount of engineers across the entire globe. This really came in handy when designing a new line of Ecotec engines to meet the demands of international markets. Through a creative collaboration process with the help of five different GM global Powertrain Engineering Centers, we have ensured that our engines meet performance, efficiency, durability, and refinement goals for every local market.

Where else could teams from Germany, South Korea, and China all work on designing the same engine family at the same time? Our team in Russelsheim, Germany spearheaded the development of the 1.0L turbocharged three-cylinder for the Opel ADAM in Europe, while our engineering center in Seoul, South Korea led the calibration and validation of the new Ecotec’s naturally aspirated variants, simultaneously.

So, how is it possible that engineers from all over the world, with comparatively different consumer bases, are able to work together seamlessly? A sophisticated computer simulation and modeling system allowed our engineers to design and test critical engine components, no matter where they were. From friction to hot and cold temperature operation and emissions to efficiency, nothing was left unexamined. Once complete, these engines were also put through the wringer, running for more than 2,000 hours at 5,200 rpm, the equivalent of 12 straight weeks at wide open throttle.

While each variant is designed for a specific application or local market, the real beauty comes in the new Ecotec family’s modularity. The core components of the engines have been designed to be easily adapted for each market, by simply adding or removing components to help meet different markets’ stringent emissions and efficiency laws. This is no small feat in itself, even if you only have one team in one country working on it.

By tapping into our global network of engineers we reduced our costs when designing this new engine family, without sacrificing quality. Savings also will be passed along to consumers, since the Ecotec engine offers improved fuel economy for drivers.

We left nothing on the table when it came to designing the all-new Ecotec engine family, and we’re confident these engines will deliver on what customers in all global markets are seeking.


T.SutterTom Sutter is the Global Chief Engineer for GM’s Small Gas Engines. He is responsible for the design and development of GM’s small displacement three and four cylinder gasoline engines ranging in displacement from 1.0L to 1.5L.

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