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Chevy Volt rated at 230MPG in City!!!

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Chevy Volt to get 230 mpg rating

Ultra-high mileage for GM's electric-drive Volt could give it a marketing boost.

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com senior writer

Last Updated: August 11, 2009: 8:42 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Chevrolet Volt, GM's electric car that's expected to go on sale in late 2010, is projected to get an estimated 230 miles per gallon, the automaker announced Tuesday.

That exceptionally high government mileage rating could give the Volt a major boost. For the first time, car buyers will easily be able to compare electric cars with ordinary gas-powered cars.

"Having a car that gets triple-digit fuel economy can and will be a game changer for us," said GM CEO Fritz Henderson.

Determining fuel economy for an electric car is a tricky matter, and General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) has been working with the Environmental Protection Agency for years on the issue.

50 mpg? or 5,000?

Fuel economy for hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius is displayed in the same way as it is for any other gasoline-powered vehicle. It gets 46 mpg, for example, versus 19 mpg for a V-6 Ford Mustang.

That standard works because all the energy used by the Prius ultimately comes from burning gasoline. The Prius just uses that energy more efficiently than other cars do.

The Chevrolet Volt, on other hand, runs on electricity that comes from two sources -- a battery as well as a gasoline engine. How much is generated by burning gasoline depends on how far the car is driven.

The Volt's lithium-ion batteries will hold enough juice to drive the car for about 40 miles, GM has said. Once the car goes beyond that, a small gasoline engine will turn on, generating electricity to power the wheelsfor longer drives.

When gasoline is providing the power, the Volt might get as much as 50 mpg.

But that mpg figure would not take into account that the car has already gone 40 miles with no gas at all.

So let's say the car is driven 50 miles in a day. For the first 40 miles, no gas is used and during the last 10 miles, 0.2 gallons are used. That's the equivalent of 250 miles per gallon. But, if the driver continues on to 80 miles, total fuel economy would drop to about 100 mpg. And if the driver goes 300 miles, the fuel economy would be a just 62.5 mpg.

The EPA rating for the Volt is based on a draft report and applies to city driving.

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I don't like how they rated it, it will confuse people. If you put 1 gallon of gas in the Volt and charge the battery all the way and drive as far as you can before it stops, you won't make it 230 miles. They EPA sticker should tell the electric range and cost of electricity, and have a separate mpg rating for when the battery is dead. Then consumers know what to expect and know the benefits of running it on electricity.

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It's a bragging right that GM would be smart to make good use of, but it is misleading. I think as more plug-in's come out, we will see the EPA forced to develop a whole new way of rating these cars.

I was hoping for (and would have been much more impressed with) the 230 being a range number for a quietly developed all-electric version of the Volt.

Edited by PurdueGuy
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I haven't heard anything official, but someone posted that 230 number previously on GM-Volt.com claiming the following methodology:

You drive the city loop as many times as you can until your are on gas, then you drive it one more on gas. Take the total miles travelled and divide by the amount of gas used.

It is an OK measurement in that it takes into account the electric range of the vehicle. It is a bad measurement in that it doesn't reflect what the vast majority of drivers will experience (i.e. anyone who drives less or more than ~50 miles/day will get a different number).

Remember when people complained about the Prius "only" getting 50 MPG when it was rated in the 70s/80s? Wait until people take their Volt for a road trip and end up with their 230MPG/100MPG car getting ~40MPG.

Now that they have quoted this big number, GM better hope the EPA goes with this scheme. This may turn into the GM hybrid bus fiasco all over again. Even so, it sounds like they are still quoting numbers with the HVAC off.

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I don't like how they rated it, it will confuse people. If you put 1 gallon of gas in the Volt and charge the battery all the way and drive as far as you can before it stops, you won't make it 230 miles. They EPA sticker should tell the electric range and cost of electricity, and have a separate mpg rating for when the battery is dead. Then consumers know what to expect and know the benefits of running it on electricity.

But all MPG ratings are based on consumption and not cost. The only true comparison would have to be with a kW rating which is easy for people to determine cost since it's right on their electricity bill.

It's already the same for fuel, since cost varies from location to location.

If I owned the Volt, based on my usual trips, I'd likely use little-to-no fuel on a single trip. I would rarely have to make more than one trip per day, so there isn't much extra driving involved. Depending upon the charge times, it's highly conceivable that I could go a whole day on electricity, which is $0.07463 / kWh CDN. To determine how much it will cost me to use a Volt, I just need one of those tags as seen on a kitchen appliance to tell me.

Edited by ShadowDog
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Yeah, smk, because electricity rates are completely uniform across the country and do not vary AT ALL! :rolleyes:

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Kilowatt hour usage would be better, although no one will understand the cost. I just think they should have 2 ratings, one for kilowatts used and one for gas used. The Volt can't travel 230 miles without stopping with only 1 gallon of gas in it. Consumers may feel misled and that will tick them off.

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Kilowatt hour usage would be better, although no one will understand the cost. I just think they should have 2 ratings, one for kilowatts used and one for gas used. The Volt can't travel 230 miles without stopping with only 1 gallon of gas in it. Consumers may feel misled and that will tick them off.

I agree. I think we need to know:

Electric range (to differentiate between vehicles with 10, 40 , or 200 miles). KW used to get that range, measured based on amount pulled out of the charging plug (differentiate between efficient and inefficient electric cars). MPG on ICE.

Those should all be given for city and for highway.

This is already complicated enough, but I would REALLY like to see (and this is true for ICE vehicles as well) all those factors at a couple of different temperatures (e.g. +80 degrees, 30 degrees and -30 degrees).

Edited by GXT
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Regarding the 230 number, GM better watch what they are doing. Based on this methodology Mitsu and Nissan will be able to claim Infinity MPG. In comparison, 230 will seem lame.

Then GM will be in the unenviable position of being unable to live up to their own lame number.

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This makes no sense at all. If people don't know what wheels are pushing/pulling their cars, they will CERTAINLY not understand this "hocus pocus"

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I have a bad feeling this will bite them right back in the ass.

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Nissan Leaf = 367 mpg, no tailpipe, and no gas required. Oh yeah, and it'll be affordable too!

Ouch!

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Nissan Leaf = 367 mpg, no tailpipe, and no gas required. Oh yeah, and it'll be affordable too!

Ouch!

It is going to get worse.... GM didn't use the DOE formula that Nissan used. They used a tentative EPA rating scheme. While they aren't giving out the details (which is a bit troubling), the methodology I posted earlier in this thread is likely. IF that is the case Nissan COULD have quoted Infinite MPG to be comparable to the Volt's 230.

But what is worse today is that the "up to 40 miles" appears to be 32 miles city according to the EPA. If that is the case it will likely be in the 20's on the highway.

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/volt-birt...d-game-changer/

"In fact, even Lauckner seems to admit that the whole 230 MPG hype campaign is a smokescreen. A comment further into the livechat seems to reveal that actual EPA testing may invalidate GM’s day-one Volt slogan of 40 miles without a drop of gasoline. Surprised?

Statik: The EPA rated the Volt at 25 kilowatt hours/100 miles electrical efficiency in city cycle. Does that not now mean with the Volt (which uses approximately 8 kWh of power) the AER in the city is officially 32 miles?

Jon Lauckner: We are still confident that we will deliver 40 miles of autonomous electric range (AER) on both the official EPA city and highway tests, so no change there. The EPA draft methodology reduces the laboratory result take into account a number of factors such as the use of air-conditioning, more passengers in the vehicle, cargo, etc. So, that’s the difference between the “up to 40 miles” that we stated for some time (based on EPA city and highway) and the methodology used by EPA. And, nothing is final until we run an official test which won’t happen for several months.

And with that, Lauckner sweeps aside the curtain of illusion. Testing is not official, nor does it take passengers or air conditioning into account. And when official testing takes place the Volt’s “up to 40 miles” raison d’être could fall.

"

Perhaps Toyota should start advertising the Prius fuel economy as "Up to 90 MPG"?

This really is looking like the GM Hybrid Buses all over again.

Edited by GXT
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so its 230mpg for the first gallon and then what? 20/30/40/mpg? It seems to me the only fair way to do this would be fill up the tank, charge up the battery and drive until both are dead the divide fuel used by miles driven and the same for kwh then list them both

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I agree. I think we need to know:

Electric range (to differentiate between vehicles with 10, 40 , or 200 miles). KW used to get that range, measured based on amount pulled out of the charging plug (differentiate between efficient and inefficient electric cars). MPG on ICE.

Those should all be given for city and for highway.

This is already complicated enough, but I would REALLY like to see (and this is true for ICE vehicles as well) all those factors at a couple of different temperatures (e.g. +80 degrees, 30 degrees and -30 degrees).

Agreed...

1) EV range

2) efficiency in EV operation (mi/kWh or kWh/100 mi)

3) efficiency on ICE

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so its 230mpg for the first gallon and then what? 20/30/40/mpg? It seems to me the only fair way to do this would be fill up the tank, charge up the battery and drive until both are dead the divide fuel used by miles driven and the same for kwh then list them both

I don't think that 230 MPG is for just the first gallon. This whole thing is kind of silly, but that would be sillier yet. And I don't agree with your methodology as it makes cars with larger gas tanks look worse.

The best explanation of the 230 MPG came based on a post I saw gm-volt.com prior to the GM announcement:

"Mike Duoba from Argonne National Lab devised a method to determine the MPG of an EREV; first the car is driven from a full battery until it reaches charge-sustaining mode, then one more cycle is driven. If we use the highway schedule, the first 40 miles are electric. One more cycle is 11 more miles. If the Volt gets 50 MPG in charge sustaining mode, it will use .22 gallons of gas for that 11 miles. Thus 51 miles/.22 gallons = 231.8 MPG."

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Ok, now this is getting really complicated lol. How is the average tire-kicker going to comprehend all of this?

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I don't think that 230 MPG is for just the first gallon. This whole thing is kind of silly, but that would be sillier yet. And I don't agree with your methodology as it makes cars with larger gas tanks look worse.

The best explanation of the 230 MPG came based on a post I saw gm-volt.com prior to the GM announcement:

"Mike Duoba from Argonne National Lab devised a method to determine the MPG of an EREV; first the car is driven from a full battery until it reaches charge-sustaining mode, then one more cycle is driven. If we use the highway schedule, the first 40 miles are electric. One more cycle is 11 more miles. If the Volt gets 50 MPG in charge sustaining mode, it will use .22 gallons of gas for that 11 miles. Thus 51 miles/.22 gallons = 231.8 MPG."

Interesting. So it heavily weights both EV range and ICE efficiency. However, does it include EV efficiency?

According to GM, the Volt's EV efficiency is 25 kWh/100 mi in the city. Here's how other EVs compare (the lower the better):

EV1 lead: 26

RAV4 EV: 27

Nissan Altra: 29

Tesla Roadster: 30

EV1 NiMH: 34

Ranger EV: 40

Edited by pow
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Regarding the Volt apparently falling short of 40 miles electric:

We know that GM has talked about the Volt only using 8KWh of the 16KWh available to go "up to" 40 miles with no AC. We also know that part of the reason for leaving this 8KWh reserve was for battery longevity (the other being the inability of the Volt to drive with full power when it has no reserve). We also know that GM doesn't really know how long the battery will last. We also have heard that GM is pricing two batteries into the cost of each Volt as a hedge.

If GM knows that they really are using 25KWh to go 100 miles, or 4 miles / KWh, then they can always dip into the 8KWh reserve to make the 40 mile range. In this case 10KWh might give the 40 miles city. Perhaps 13KWh would give the 40 miles highway.

I wouldn't be surprised if GM has known this for quite some time and it was the cause of the second battery price jump.

The scary part is that this is the good news. Wait until we hear the bad news.

Edited by GXT
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Interesting. So it heavily weights both EV range and ICE efficiency. However, does it include EV efficiency?

I think it is a horribly misleading way to rate a car. It really doesn't accurately reflect anyone's typical usage EXCEPT the person who does a full charge and then drives ~50 miles. And even then, as you point out, it doesn't include EV efficiency.

I really hope that GM hasn't used it to get their 230 number. But it seems that it might be the case.

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Regarding the Volt apparently falling short of 40 miles electric:

We know that GM has talked about the Volt only using 8KWh of the 16KWh available to go "up to" 40 miles with no AC. We also know that part of the reason for leaving this 8KWh reserve was for battery longevity (the other being the inability of the Volt to drive with full power when it has no reserve). We also know that GM doesn't really know how long the battery will last. We also have heard that GM is pricing two batteries into the cost of each Volt as a hedge.

If GM knows that they really are using 25KWh to go 100 miles, or 4 miles / KWh, then they can always dip into the 8KWh reserve to make the 40 mile range. In this case 10KWh might give the 40 miles city. Perhaps 13KWh would give the 40 miles highway.

I wouldn't be surprised if GM has known this for quite some time and it was the cause of the second battery price jump.

The scary part is that this is the good news. Wait until we hear the bad news.

It should be interesting if the transition to gas mode is determined by the miles driven in EV mode (40) rather than the actual SOC.

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Everyone needs to stop pissing and moaning.

The 230 MPG is a conservative estimate, so i would assume that the 40 Miles is as well.

Jesus... GM revolutionizes the car and they can't even get a break. All I've seen all day is media outlets and GM fanboys bitching and nitpicking everything to death.

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I think it is a horribly misleading way to rate a car. It really doesn't accurately reflect anyone's typical usage EXCEPT the person who does a full charge and then drives ~50 miles. And even then, as you point out, it doesn't include EV efficiency.

I really hope that GM hasn't used it to get their 230 number. But it seems that it might be the case.

Yep. The number is better used only for comparison purposes, not to calculate the actual MPG people should expect.

A Volt that gets infinite MPG for the first 40 miles, then gets 50 mpg thereafter in gasoline, would be rated 230 mpg.

A Volt that gets infinite MPG for the first 80 miles, then gets 50 mpg thereafter in gasoline, would be rated 414 mpg.

A Volt that gets infinite MPG for the first 40 miles, then gets 100 mpg thereafter in gasoline, would be rated at 363 mpg.

And an Escape Hybrid plug-in that gets 120 MPG for the first 30 miles, then gets 50 mpg thereafter in gasoline, would be rated at 94 mpg.

The bigger the number the better.

Edited by pow
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Everyone needs to stop pissing and moaning.

The 230 MPG is a conservative estimate, so i would assume that the 40 Miles is as well.

Jesus... GM revolutionizes the car and they can't even get a break. All I've seen all day is media outlets and GM fanboys bitching and nitpicking everything to death.

The nitpicking is because GM seems to be in the habit of over-promising and under-delivering. This announcement presents two problems - the first one is that people will think the Volt gets 230mpg, but when the rubber hits the road, they'll complain that it gets half that. As mentioned before, people raged when the Prius didn't match the EPA ratings, and the Volt, and GM in turn will take a huge PR hit. The second problem is that GM doesn't have much credibility to begin with, and people are rolling their eyes already.

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