Second generation Chevy Volt could get rotary engine

Chevrolet hasn’t even begun selling the 2011 Volt yet, but already GM is thinking about more efficient ways of making the next-generation model. Sources spoke to GM's new vice president of global vehicle engineering, Karl Stracke, who shared some insights into the new GM thought process.

According to Stracke, the Volt's current propulsion system is too expensive and has to be cut down if the car is to compete effectively with the Toyota Prius. Its battery pack costs $10,000 and GM is keen to halve that figure for the next-generation.

One answer is to use a rotary engine. Rotaries are known for producing more power per cubic centimetre than their cylindrical equivalents. A downside is their tendency to use relatively more fuel, but Stracke reckons that one rotor could be enough for his car's purposes.

A second option is the use of a 2 cylinder petrol engine. This engine could produce between 20PS - 24PS.

A third option is a diesel engine, but GM is cautious of the higher costs involved in its manufacturing, despite the possible long-run savings for the customer.

"The future of the automobile has never been as interesting as it is right now," said Stracke. "Big question is, what new propulsion system will come next?"