The 2014 Cadillac ELR extended-range electric luxury coupe is still nearly a year away from arrival in dealer showrooms, but that hasn’t halted speculation on what the future holds for Cadillac’s Voltec-platform option.

As Edmunds reports, General Motors may be looking to replace the 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine found in the current Chevrolet Volt and the future Cadillac ELR with something a bit smaller and more fuel efficient.

Word is that three-cylinder engines, ranging from 1.0-liter to 1.2-liters in displacement are being considered, even though such engines aren’t in GM’s (NYSE: GM) current product catalog. Development is reportedly ongoing with GM’s strategic partner in China, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).

We can’t imagine that a Chinese-developed engine would play well with Cadillac’s luxury image in the United States, so another alternative for a triple-cylinder power plant may come from GM’s relationship with European partner PSA Peugeot Citroen.

Last December, the two automakers released a statement saying that they’d be cooperating on development of three-cylinder engines, also of 1.0-liter and 1.2-liter displacement and based on PSA Peugeot Citroen’s existing EB engine range.

It’s worth noting that the change to a smaller engine in the next-generation ELR and Volt hasn’t yet been approved, and GM isn’t inclined to discuss future product strategy. It’s no secret that all automakers want to improve fuel economy (even on extended-range electric vehicles), and downsizing engines is just one way to accomplish this.

Discussing the next generation of Cadillac ELR also ignores one simple fact: if the first generation doesn’t attract sufficient buyers, it’s unlikely that a second generation will even be considered for production.