• Aug 20, 2009
The Chevrolet Volt's 230 mpg number continues to be questioned. The latest to criticize is Bill Ford, who takes issue not only with the General Motors-approved 230 figure, but also Nissan's claim that its Leaf EV will get 367 mpg. The real culprit here, Ford said, is the EPA's methodology, which he argues is meaningless. "This question devolves into madness," Ford reportedly told Green Car Advisor:
"The government will have to come up with a meaningful number for customers - a user-friendly label. And I think they will. I can't dispute that number, but I'm not sure it's relevant to the customer either."
Ford also said that since his company doesn't "have any particular expertise in batteries," they'll probably buy the batteries from established manufacturers for their own electrified cars.

Speaking of relevance, Advertising Age, the publication that was first to guess that the whole 230 teaser campaign was a GM plot, has determined that the stunt was a bad idea. The big problems it sees with the campaign are that it often gave people the wrong idea (that 230 would be the U.S.'s new a standard voltage for outlets) and didn't give people enough breadcrumbs to follow to the Volt. It created more questions than answers, until the big reveal last week. In any case, the whole thing was targeted at a younger, hipper audience, but are these the people who have $40,000+ to buy a Volt?



[Sources: Green Car Advisor, Advertising Age]


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  • 38 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really think everyone's missing the point with the '230MPG' claim.

      The Volt will be a commuter car and *hopefully* people will be smart enough to plug the damn thing in and take advantage of its electric car capabilities, because that's what they bought it for. If you drive around 50 miles per day, you'll get gas mileage hovering around the 200+ range. If you drive less than 40, you'd potentially have mileage approaching infinity. If you drive more than 50, your mileage will decrease. It won't be a roadtrip car, it won't be a towing vehicle. And no matter how you cut it, as long as you stay in that commuting range, it'll still get far superior GAS mileage to any ICE vehicle.

      And electricity from the grid is pennies compared to gasoline.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's exactly how I see it. Excellent post, sums it up nicely IMO.
      • 5 Years Ago
      you(r)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bill Ford has a point. But the fact remains that his family runs an automaker that is a major competitor to GM and does not have any competitor to the Volt yet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Unless the big secret GM is holding out is that since the 4cyl engine is acting as a generate it uses less gas then it would be using if where actually moving the car...so used as a generator its actually consuming a lot less gas then it would normally do...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lol,, where I typed "rage-extender" above, it's supposed to be range-extender. Kind of a funny, unintentional spelling mistake there.
        • 5 Years Ago
        True and if some one wanted to be even claim 1000mpg it would be accurate also if I were to drive daily under 40 miles with out never needing the assistance of the gas engine...I guess we all have to wait and see what measurements guidelines are going to be used for plug in hybrids...but for comparisons sake The Tesla is rated some where around 256MPG with current EPA measurements so 230mpg might be a believable figure...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was going to reply to your comment above but then saw this one that goes in the direction my reply was heading. Most stories I've read place the range-extender mpg over 50mpg. That would result in a figure of about 90mpg using your logic above. I think you're on the right track since the rage-extender is simply that, it's not directly driving the Volt and thus its mileage won't be the same as a 4cyl car that's using solely the ICE for propulsion.

        Again though, that doesn't tell the whole story and the majority of users would find their mileage to be much higher since not many of them are going to be driving the car far enough in a single day to burn at least 1gal. of gasoline. The majority are going to commute back and forth to work(less than 40miles for the vast majority of Americans) and then they will plug in the car overnight and have a fresh charge in the morning. Driven like that(as most people tend to drive their commuter cars) you surely agree that a 70mpg figure like you quoted will be completley inaccurate and woefully low(when looking at the amount of gasoline burned as the GM estimate does).

        That said, the 230mpg figure should not be taken at face value either since it ignores any other number of uses for the car besides solely driving about 50mi/day. For instance, one who choses to drive their Volt on a cross-country trip can't expect 230mpg. But on the other hand, one who drives in a lot of stop and go and less than 40mi/day should never expect to be anywhere close to 50mpg, they'd be hard-pressed to drop below the 3-digit range really.

        The real world figures will understandably be all over the board, but don't be surprised when they often climb into the 3-digit range.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Now that they are Government Motors, they think it is all campaign rhetoric. They will soon be reminded that there is something known as "false advertising." They'll suffer from it (as if their reputation could get worse) and, maybe, even be charged with falsification of facts, figures and whatnot....

      Come to think of it, that would be nice to do with many folks earning their living on false campaign promises...without having to wait another 3.3 years!
      • 5 Years Ago
      What they need to do is calculate how many kilowatts per 100 miles for basing electric cars. If the car uses a gas motor to generate electricity then they need to say how much gas will generate a given quantity of electricty. Then calculate over a 1,000 miles what the cost of propelling the car is.

      The idea of generating a system that will equate into how many miles per gallon is crazy. Where talkig apple s to oranges here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll take my $18,000 Ford Fusion with 30+ mpg anyday over a $40,000 Volt with questionable mpg!
      • 5 Years Ago
      lmfao at Ad Age being the one to first "guess" that the ad campaign was GM's. any designer/Chevy enthusiast could take a look at the font and know it's Chevy's trademark.
      • 5 Years Ago
      hey ill,
      While GM isn building its own electric cars, Ford is buying Manga's and Smith's. And you have the audacity to criticize others? Shame on you!
      Jim.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No purchase, but the effectiveness of cooperation.
      • 5 Years Ago
      its actually quite brilliant what they are doing here, you see the gas mileage completely irrelevant, what they have done is caused a stir about the volt, if they hadnt done this the volt would just be another car coming out too late for any one to care about

      so i propose that, while the 230 may have some tiny relevance to the actual gas mileage, it is just a number GM knew would get ppl talkin about the volt more
      this was deliberately made to be a controversial attention grab.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why don't they just use something similar to the "Dollars spent on energy per year to operate" like they post on refrigerators and ovens?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I assume that putting one gallon of gas to the volt would give you the 230 miles with all it has batteries, regeneration system, and gas. So with no gas its 40 miles, and with gas it should be 230 mpgs, and then it goes down as the battery drains itself and it needs more regeneration and gas to keep running. This is why its confusing with the Volt. Wherever the deal is, this Volt would totally kill the Prius in daily commuting since many drivers going to work, groceries, etc etc normally would drive less than the 230 the Volt gives you with the first gallon of fuel, a full battery and whatever other technology the Volt Offers.

      I am a Ford guy, but I have to admit that if greenies n those trying to save on fuel truly want a green car, the Volt is the way to go. Its a lot better looking, fuel efficient that the Toyota Prius which in my eyes its just #@#@#@#@#..
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