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Opel wins PSA engine role

One more time: Opel’s decades-long engine development role for GM will carry over into the PSA era with a new four-cylinder engine for all five brands by 2022 when it will join PSA’s award-winning three-cylinder PureTech engine (left).

New four-cylinder engine family to be developed by Opel for Group PSA

Opel logo14 Jun 2018

OPEL engineers have been given responsibility for developing a new four-cylinder petrol engine family for parent company PSA Group in what might turn out to be one of the last hurrahs for internal combustion engines within the French-owned conglomerate as it moves towards electrification.
 
The 1.6-litre direct-injected turbocharged PureTech engine will be fitted to vehicles across all five PSA brands – Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall – when it is launched in 2022.
 
By then, PSA will be well down the path to electric powertrains, introducing four new electric vehicles (EVs) and seven plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by next year.
 
PSA’s goal is to have at least 40 electrified vehicles – full EVs and PHEVs – across its brands by 2025, with at least one electric powertrain in each model.
 
The new four-cylinder engine will be designed to accommodate hybrid technology in vehicles sold in Europe, China and – ultimately – North America where PSA is planning a comeback within the next decade.
 
Current Opel and Vauxhall vehicles are still using petrol and diesel engines developed and built in-house by Opel for global use by its former owner, General Motors.
 
For example, the latest Opel/Vauxhall Corsa GSi hot hatch to be released in September will employ GM’s 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
 
Ultimately, the plan is to transition all Opel and Vauxhall models on to PSA powertrains and platforms.
 
One of the first cars to benefit from the new engine might be the seventh-generation Opel Astra that is due about 2022, most likely sharing the next Peugeot 308 platform.
 
The decision to task Opel with the engine development job for PSA might have been influenced by the German company’s investment of €210 million ($A327m) in a new engine and transmission development centre at its base in Ruesselsheim, near Frankfurt, in 2016.
 
That Ruesselsheim engineering centre with its 880 engineers has also been given the job of hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain development for PSA Group, along with development of light-commercial vehicles and cars for the North American market.
 
The new four-cylinder engine that is already under development will slot into the PSA range above the current PureTech three-cylinder engine that recently won an Engine of the Year award for the fourth year in a row.
 
According to Opel, the high-efficiency engine will be developed with the latest technologies to meet future global emissions standards.
 
Opel/Vauxhall engineering managing director Christian Mueller said the Ruesselsheim engineering centre had decades of powertrain engineering experience and had global responsibility for engine development for GM.
 
“With the development of the new generation of four-cylinder petrol engines, we can exploit one of our key competencies,” he said. “The economic direct-injection, in combination with hybrid technology, will consolidate the strong position of Groupe PSA in lowering CO2 emissions.”
 
As PSA has specifically announced that the new engine family will be 1.6 litres and will slot beside the smaller three-cylinder engine family, it appears that PSA is planning to axe larger engines such as the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines in the Insignia large car that also sold as the Holden Commodore in Australia.
 
It is unclear where the new engine will be built. Opel currently builds three- and four-cylinder engines at a number of plants, including Poland and Hungary, for global GM products.
 
GM recently announced that it will build a new three-cylinder engine at one of its GM Korea factories under an agreement to save the operation from bankruptcy. 
 
This will spell the end for the GM three-cylinder EcoTech engine production at the Hungarian plant where it will be replaced by PSA’s PureTech alternative that is currently made at the Tremery plant in France.
 
Tremery has been nominated for electric motor production from next year, using technology supplied by Nidec of Japan under a €220 million ($A344m) joint venture signed late last year.
 
PSA set up a stand-alone EV business unit in April to take control of electric vehicle development for the group.

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