General Motors investing $854 million to build V8 engines amid EV shift

GON

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The "ICE" age is definitely not over at General Motors.

The automaker has announced a $854 million investment in four factories to build a new generation of V8 internal combustion engines (ICE) for its full-size trucks and SUVs.

"These investments, coupled with the hard work and dedication of our team members in Flint, Bay City, Rochester and Defiance, enable us to build world-class products for our customers and provide job security at these plants for years to come," Gerald Johnson, GM executive vice president of Global Manufacturing and Sustainability, said.

"We’re not going to abandon our internal combustion engine segments," GM president Mark Reuss told FOX Business in November.


 
I agree that the ICE age is not over yet despite what the 🤢 say but I don’t understand the investing back into V8s. Build a turbo six with better fuel economy.

They didn’t learn from the 70’s.
That i agree with. I love my ohv v8's but i wouldn't mind an equally powerful yet more efficient inline 6 as long as it's reliable. And having 1 bank instead of 2 should make that easy. Chrysler, Mercedes, and even Mazda are moving to powerful inline 6's.
 
They didn’t learn from the 70’s.
The only thing the 70s did, was delay innovation and efficiency vs. power ratios.

Today, we have V6 and V8 engines that are 4 times more powerful and twice as efficient as those from the 70s. If we continue innovation and investment into ICE, we probably have many more iterations of efficiency, especially coupled with turbo chargers.
 
The "ICE" age is definitely not over at General Motors.

The automaker has announced a $854 million investment in four factories to build a new generation of V8 internal combustion engines (ICE) for its full-size trucks and SUVs.

"These investments, coupled with the hard work and dedication of our team members in Flint, Bay City, Rochester and Defiance, enable us to build world-class products for our customers and provide job security at these plants for years to come," Gerald Johnson, GM executive vice president of Global Manufacturing and Sustainability, said.

"We’re not going to abandon our internal combustion engine segments," GM president Mark Reuss told FOX Business in November.


Give me the hurricane I6 and day of the week over a gas pig v8.
 
The only thing the 70s did, was delay innovation and efficiency vs. power ratios.

Today, we have V6 and V8 engines that are 4 times more powerful and twice as efficient as those from the 70s. If we continue innovation and investment into ICE, we probably have many more iterations of efficiency, especially coupled with turbo chargers.
I would actually politely argue the other side of that argument. The absolute crap they built in the 70's and weren't able to improve on no matter what else they tried mechanically - forced them kicking and screaming into closed loop processor based controls - which is the reason your getting 4X the power now. It just took them a decade or more to figure it out and wait for the microchip that would do what they needed.
 
Today’s ICE is getting to be what, upwards of 40%? At best we’re only going to double what we can get from it, and I think those with thermodynamic backgrounds could explain where the actual limit is, with the Otto cycle.

A big lumbering big block, small turbo at low pressure (mostly to offset power loss at altitude)—I have to wonder if that couldn’t be a smooth low cost path for vehicles that spend most of their time under load. High pressure engines can better deal with low load situations, while doing ok under high load, but I wonder, for vehicles expected to last years and years, if a bigger engine at lower boost might not hold the edge. Just a swag.
 
I would actually politely argue the other side of that argument. The absolute crap they built in the 70's and weren't able to improve on no matter what else they tried mechanically - forced them kicking and screaming into closed loop processor based controls - which is the reason your getting 4X the power now. It just took them a decade or more to figure it out and wait for the microchip that would do what they needed.
Engines were plenty powerful in the 60s, just less efficient. The CRUSHING efficiency requirements killed innovation for power + efficiency and refocused all efforts on simple economic efficiency. That gave birth to pathetic car power from around the early 70s until the late 90s, with rare exceptions and some turbos. Gas became cheap and available by the early 1980s, but the cars were still just pathetic without power.

The innovation we see since around the late 90s has some relationship to fuel economy, but as you point out the microchip had a lot to do with it. Fuel injection as well. Other advances that have nothing to do with raw power, are critical to keeping that power safely on the road - advances in tire technology and materials, ABS, traction control, steering, braking, suspension, etc. Because they could probably do 600+ HP in the eras, theoretically, but it would have been totally impractical and unsafe while also drinking a gallon of fuel every few miles.

It took until probably the first decade of the 2000s to really crack the code on incredible ICE power + efficiency, and fuel has been relatively inexpensive. Compared to inflationary costs, fuel is far cheaper today at $3.50 than it was when I was a teenager at $1, especially considering fuel economy has effectively doubled. Fuel is cheaper and one can drive twice as far on it. A 500hp Mustang is more fuel efficient than a 120hp 1980 Buick Skylark as well.
 
So you want a highly complex twin turbo gas pig with two less cylinders to save 1 to 2 m.p.g
But at what percentage? going from 10 to 11 or 12mpg is a pretty sizable savings. Going from 20 to 21 or 22... not as much. But then, what is the miles per year? Something getting 5k/year is different than something being driven 50k/year.

Question becomes, what is the extra cost of the turbos etc, and what is the fuel savings, and is the ROI there over the expected lifespan?

Of course, it gets complicated, if the more expensive vehicle saves money over the long run, you get "bit" by having to pay more up front, so sometimes it's not a straightforward.

It is interesting that GM is investing here, but, I'm lost at the scale of this. I mean, what is the cost to overhaul / bring out the next generation of any given model vehicle? what does GM spend per year on R&D? This sounds to me like a huge investment--but if this is spread over 2-3 years and then is used in several models, with a payback over a decade...
 
With the electric craze, nobody is talking about alternative fuels like LPG and CNG which the new high compression ice engines are well suited.
We see the odd fleet of school buses and government vehicles running on these clean fuels, but not as before in personal transportation.
 
With the electric craze, nobody is talking about alternative fuels like LPG and CNG which the new high compression ice engines are well suited.
We see the odd fleet of school buses and government vehicles running on these clean fuels, but not as before in personal transportation.
I forget, do those have cold start issues, in cold climates? Regardless, high pressure tanks and limited range are other considerations?

Tangently, the local garage that services busses in our district (might not be the only one, not sure) blew up from one. Link1. Link2. At the very least, my school district might have issues adopting, regardless of reasons for the accident and/or reasons to switch.
 
If these are in trucks, then turbos are the wrong direction. We only need to look at Ford and see there are zero turbo options despite them having lots of experience and even one very capable 3.5 turbo on the shelf with similar output numbers; yet they stuff two big block gas options in their work trucks. That's pretty telling.
 
Again, intending to exchange information - not be impolite.

Engines were plenty powerful in the 60s, just less efficient.
1960 engines were just huge - not really that powerful. A 426 hemi was rated at 425 horsepower and 490 ft/lbs or torque - so 1HP per CI and 1.15 ft/lbs per CI. My ho hum 4.0 l pickup - 241 CI engine has 261HP and 281 Ft/lbs - or 1.1 HP and 1.16 Ft/lbs. It makes more power per CI. No turbo, no special performance items. Its in a cheap mid size pickup truck.

Now you could make a pretty good argument the 426 Hemi was under rated - fair point. But My 4.0l is the furthest thing from a performance engine that there is. 1960's non performance engines were dogs also - pull the specs from a small V8 family car back then - they were like 130 HP type thing.

The CRUSHING efficiency requirements killed innovation for power + efficiency and refocused all efforts on simple economic efficiency
There was no real innovation in the 1970's. Unlike the 60's where they pushed the envelope, they simply tried to put bandaids on their old designs - things like air pumps and EGR valves and other add ons - instead of new engine designs. They didn't try new materials. They kept making the same old crap. Not until the very late 80's - so call it 15 years, did they start to try do things different. like lighter weight materials, better engine designs, and electronics especially.

I don't know if they would have had the technology in 1974 to switch then anyways, but as someone that worked on a lot of cars from the 1970's when I was young, they were pretty much all the same - from whenever all the way to mid 80's. Then they changed immensely and all at once - likely due to off shore competition.
 
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