GM didn't last long.... LOL...
230 mpg for Volt? Not for very far
General Motors trumpets its upcoming Volt; skeptics do the math. When
dealing with electric cars, it turns out, your mileage may really, really,
General Motors astounded the auto industry Tuesday when it announced its
Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car would get 230 mpg in city driving
when it is released late in 2010.
Unfortunately, you won't be able to put a gallon of gasoline in it and go
That's the brain-teaser confronting both car buyers and federal regulators
as more electricity-boosted cars begin to come to market. GM's claim is
mileage four times better than the current champion, the Toyota Prius. But
is miles per gallon the best measure if you're not burning gallons? Many
skeptics don't think so.
"You can't give electric cars a free ride," a Consumer Reports blogger
wrote. "That electricity comes from somewhere and needs to be counted in
what the car consumes."
Rival Nissan isn't convinced either. Its all-electric Leaf is expected to
arrive next year. In response to GM, its engineering team sniped on Twitter,
"Nissan Leaf = 367 mpg, no tailpipe, and no gas required."
The Volt will be powered by an electric motor and a battery pack with a
40-mile range. After that, a small internal-combustion engine will kick in
to generate electricity, giving it a total range of 300 miles. The battery
pack will be rechargeable from a standard home outlet in about eight hours.
It all depends
It would be possible to drive a Volt forever without burning a drop of
gasoline, as long as you didn't drive more than 40 miles before you
recharged. Beyond that, the gasoline engine would kick in; with that engine
running, the Volt would get more than 40 miles per gallon on a longer trip.
However, the Volt could indeed get 230 mpg -- if you included the
electricity-only miles and your trip was only about 50 miles.
On longer trips, though, every mile after that would reduce the "mileage."
GM estimates the car's range on a full charge and a full tank of gas at 300
miles. If the Volt's tank took six gallons at that point -- the size of the
tank isn't final yet -- traditional measurements would return the
40-plus-mpg figure. And even that doesn't account for the electricity
introduced into the car's battery during an overnight charge.
The Prius and other hybrids such as the Ford Fusion don't require that
owners plug them in; instead, drivers recharge their cars' batteries as they
coast and brake while operating on gasoline power. The vehicles can move on
electricity alone for only very short distances. The Prius achieves 51 miles
per gallon in city driving, the Fusion 41.
With its promise of 230 miles per gallon, is the Volt for real? Dutch Mandel
of AutoWeek and Brian Moody of Edmunds.com examine the claims.
Nissan's figure for its all-electric car comes from methodology used by the
Department of Energy, not the Environmental Protection Agency, which makes
the rules. GM is marketing the 230-mpg figure after early tests using draft
guidelines from the EPA for calculating the mileage of extended-range
electric vehicles. The EPA guidelines, developed with guidance from
automakers, figure that cars like the Volt will travel more on straight
electricity in the city than on the highway.
But even the EPA is hedging its bets. The agency said in a statement Tuesday
that it has not tested a Volt "and therefore cannot confirm the fuel economy
values claimed by GM." The agency said it applauded "GM's commitment to
designing and building the car of the future."