GM Isn’t Stopping V8 As New Sixth-Gen Small-Block Engine Confirmed
V8 engines were rumored to be fading away in the car market because of the automotive industry’s electrification. General Motors is one of the companies that pledged to revolutionize their production to electric vehicles. 40 percent of its models in the United States will be replaced with BEVs (battery-powered electric vehicles). By 2035, GM aims to fully eliminate tailpipe emissions from its new light-duty vehicles, which include models with V8 engines.
But it may not be the end of the road for the V8. According to automotive news outlets, GM is investing almost a billion dollars, which will help to gear up for the sixth-generation small-block V8 gasoline engine.
Discontinued models with V8
General Motors is known for putting V8s on its vehicles. They can be found in Chevy-branded cars like Corvette and Camaro, as well as Cadillac SUV models. The engine is also present in mid and full-size pickup trucks such as Chevy Silverado, Sierra, Tahoe, Ram 1500, and more.
In 2022, GM has discontinued the V8 crate engine on Chevrolet LS7. Dodge will also send its famous sedan and coupe with V8 engines — the Charger and the Challenger. Fans have to say goodbye to them very soon as the two iconic cars are scheduled to stop production at the end of the 2023 model year.
Many vehicle owners were shocked by the news that particular models with V8 engines are likely on their way out of existence. The regulations on fuel economy are getting stricter, and it’s taking a toll on the not-so-efficient V8. A lot of countries are moving to implement rules that could make brand-new gas-powered cars illegal as early as 2030.
While the V8 engine still has its fair share of devotees, the current automotive world is saturated with smaller engines with four- and six-cylinders. These engine setups keep much of the same power benefits that a V8 provides but have more fuel efficiency.
GM’s V8 offerings
Currently, General Motors offers cars, trucks, and SUVs with V8 engines. The vehicle models offered by GM are great to be paired with Rockstar wheels. One is the 5.3-liter L84 small-block EcoTec3, while the other is the 6.2-liter L87 big-block EcoTec3. The fifth-gen LT2 6.2-liter is available in C8 Corvette. These engines share many similarities but all are oriented toward mid-engine placement. The main deviations on these engines are better lubrication and performance.
GM has not revealed if the new V8 will also be used in upcoming Corvette models. However, Camaro will be phased out in 2024.
Not yet leaving the market
There is no denying that the power of the V8 engine is still very popular — and in the case of GM, a part of their brand. Since its introduction in 1954, V8 has powered a lot of GM, Dodge, and Chevrolet models.
GM is going to produce more small-block V8s in its next generation. Millions of its investments will go toward the preparation of the Flint Engine Operations plant in Michigan. The chosen plant for the new engine assembly will be located in Flint, Michigan.
The Michigan plant currently produces 3.0-liter engines, specifically LZ0 and LM2 I6 Duramax. An expansion program is set to accommodate additional engine demands. GM has not yet announced when will they begin the production, but they will start once the construction of the plant is completed.
By 2025, the company expects to make more than $50 billion a year in revenue from EVs. Across five assembly plants in North America, GM anticipates building more than a million electric vehicles a year.
According to Gerald Johnson, General Motors’ global head of manufacturing, their commitment is to become an all-EV future. With emerging EVs, GM wants to balance its current lineup of vehicles. The company does not want to lose a lot of internal combustion engines.
The company will spend $64 million on castings and components, which are crucial parts that support future EV products. Aside from building EV components, GM pushed through by investing nearly $1 billion in new small-block V8 engines. Several factories will also be built and upgraded to cater to the production of the small block V8s. So around $918 million is the total amount for the investment.
Almost a billion dollars is undoubtedly a big investment in the new V8 engines. However, General Motors is also putting money into electric vehicle technology. In 2021, the company announced a $35 billion investment into electric vehicles through 2025. Advanced driving assistance technology is also included in the investment. All of these plans reached a 75-percent increase over the automaker’s previous plan.
The love for the V8 engine
All vehicles with internal combustion engines produce a certain sound. The V8 engine can be described as loud, powerful, and classic. It has twice the cylinder count and the frequency is higher, giving a more pleasing acoustic range.
The newer versions are less than ten years apart from V8’s first generation, which lasted over two decades. The new engine shares lesser parts compared to the original version, except for the bore spacing.
The connotation of noise and vibration are not typically considered positive traits in consumer products, but these elements of the V8 have been successfully programmed with capability and strength in the minds of many drivers.
Under the hood of sports car models like the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger, you will see a V8. The engine makes the cars ferociously fast and fearsomely loud. The legendary machine has powered different vehicle models over the years, achieving iconic status in its own right. The V8 engine also gives off a proud American feel to many drivers.
A lot of pickup models are used for off-roading, especially when it is set up with a good set of truck tires. Many drivers want to experience improved torque and horsepower, making V8 engines the preferred choice for high-performance cars. Automakers typically reserve V8s for their top-end models. Whether a sports car, SUV, or pickup, it is usually the go-to engine.
The “ICE” (internal combustion engine) age is not over for General Motors. Despite particular models with the powerful engine variant vanishing from the lineup, the V8 still has a future at General Motors.
The engines are used in some of the automaker’s most highly profitable products, like full-size SUVs and pickup trucks. They have also been used in Chevrolet performance cars and some Cadillac SUVs.