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Chevy Volt Gets 230 MPG??

12th August 2009

Chevrolet announced yesterday that the upcoming Volt will achieve 230 MPG in the city, easily beating the Toyota Prius’ lame 50 MPG.  Chevy boss Brent Dewar was overheard saying, “nah-nah-nah…nah-nah…nah”  If nothing else, the announcement generated a lot of attention from the media.  At least 2 major networks, CNN and NBC, featured the story on the nightly news last night.  Both seemed very skeptical of the claim, which is based on preliminary EPA testing procedures for so-called extended range electric vehicles (EREV).  I read a little about the procedure and how it works.  Maybe I’m not the brightest bulb in the fixture, but it seems to translate as, “Trust us.  We plugged in a few numbers into a computer, and it gave us 230.  Woo-hoo!”

Basically, the fact that the Volt uses only grid-supplied electricity for the first 40 miles of use makes the EPA come up with a “miles per gallon equivalent” which it then combines with the fuel economy when it is using gasoline as the “range-extender.” That calculation is what resulted in the 230 city MPG.  EPA numbers are always a bit nebulous, but in this case, I think they are especially so.  In a “normal” car, you might be able to achieve the EPA numbers with conservative driving.  In this case, you have no chance, because apparently, 80% of us will never use any gas (if they plug it in every day).  What’s their economy, ∞?  And how, really, do you average ∞ with another number for the drivers who do use some gas?  These questions – and many others – will be answered in the next episode of Soap.

All of this is just preliminary, as the final numbers will depend on actual EPA testing closer to launch next year.  But if the 230 is real (and by “real” I mean what will show up on the label, not what you will actually get), it will certainly set the Volt apart from the rest of the crowd.  As NBC’s reporter pointed out last night, 230 is about 10 times the average car today.  It’s an eye-popping number that will get Chevy and GM a lot of attention.

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1 Comment »

  1. I’m not a fan of a number that bears no real relationship with the real world. Trying to fit an extended-range electric car into the EPA’s regular test is simply ridiculous.

    Here’s what I’d rather see:

    Comment by mkaresh — 6 September 2009 @ 10:30 pm

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