The EPA is aware that range-extended electric vehicles can game the current fuel economy test to deliver mileage estimates way up in the stratosphere. It makes for impressive advertising, like General Motors' touting of the Chevrolet Volt's estimated 230 mpg, but the EPA wants to give a more realistic reflection of the fuel efficiency of these types of cars, and it's not alone.
According to USA Today, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory would like the EPA's new formula to provide buyers information about the efficiency of the vehicle on either of its two fuels, providing two different numbers. An Israeli company also wants more data, pushing for three pieces of information: electricity used when fully charged, electricity consumed to top off the batteries, and how much fuel the range-extending gasoline engine uses when pressed into service.
The new ratings are important to consumers and automakers alike. If accurate, these new ratings would give buyers more insight into what they can actually expect to get. For now, carmakers are holding their breath to determine just what they'll be able to get away with claiming when advertising... let the lobbying begin!
[Source: USA Today]