• Jul 14th 2010 at 6:39PM
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2011 Chevrolet Volt in 'Victory Red' – Click above for high-res image gallery

Remember how big a deal General Motors made about the upcoming 2011 Chevrolet Volt's supposed 230 mile per gallon EPA fuel mileage rating? Well, you can now forget about it. According to USA Today, the Feds have decided not to use the preliminary testing procedure that produced that mythical 230 mpg figure, and a new methodology for rating electric vehicles has yet to be finalized.

Don't expect a revised mileage figure any time soon. In fact, an actual mpg-equivalent rating may not come until the Volt is just about ready to hit the market at the end of the year. In any case, you can color us unsurprised by this little bit of news. Ever since the nebulous 230 mpg rating was first announced, there have been questions as to how it was calculated and whether or not the figure would be accurate for the majority of consumers – be it too lenient or too conservative.

Considering that nothing quite like the Chevy Volt has ever been levied upon an unsuspecting American population, we may not truly have any idea what kind of mileage the average person will be able to achieve with the extended-range electric vehicle anyway. And so we continue to wait for the car's official debut...

[Source: USA Today]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      All Electric Range: xxx Miles city, yyy Miles highway.
      Range Extender Efficiency: xxx MPG city, yyy MPG highway.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Simple, easy to understand, no fancy math or assumptions about how far and how often YOU are going to drive YOUR vehicle. I voted you up. (I've also been saying this for a while).
      • 5 Years Ago
      This rating was dead the same day it was advertised.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM's EPA 230 mpg claim was so stupid on so many levels that it is hard to believe that they made it, but they did. I log all my miles for work, I drive more than 12,000 miles a year and if the Volt gets 36 miles AER, (and all signs are that it will get 40) then I would have gotten more than 300 mpg over the last 3 years. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that GM stupidly stated that the EPA cycle would give them 230 mpg, when it could possibly give them just 40 mpg in the Charge Sustaining mode or nearly infinite mpg if you only drive the car 35 miles a day. GM handed its foes nearly as effective a weapon as Nissan did when Nissan claimed its Leaf would have a range of up to 100 miles. The Leaf will give most people a reliable 75-80 mile range which is good for a car with at 24 kWh battery, but both builders should have underpromised and overdelivered. They both will pay with unsatisfied buyers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I have very little doubts about Leaf reaching 100 miles / charge with its 24kWh battery. Tesla Roadster gets way over 200miles with its 56kWh battery (real miles, not some calculated fantasy) and Leaf is probably about same weight (smaller battery, bigger size) and probably more aerodynamic (Roadster is surprisingly bad in that). Sure you can't drive like a crazy person to get that 100 miles, but it should be easily doable by just following traffic and driving smart. Especially in city traffic Leaf probably exceeds that 100miles quite a bit so mixed rating of 100 miles is very realistic.

        Volt claim is easy to get: 90% of the driving is under 40 miles which is pure electric range. Take ICE mpg-figure and multiply it by 10. So that ICE has 23mpg rating. Sounds right, doesn't it?

        Of course then all pure BEV:s have infinitempg.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The other thing to note is that Tesla Roadster comes with different characters to choose from. Those numbers above were reached in "Range mode". In this mode the car charges up to 100% (battery completely full) and while driving it allows to be discharged to a very low level (battery almost completely empty). Doing this often is bad for battery life thats why you'd normally put the car into "Normal mode" where it will only charge up to 90% and won't allow to be completely discharged. Doing this will prolong battery lifetime, but will reduce the maximum range in this mode to somewhere around 200 miles. Early customers are getting from 140 to 180 miles of real-life mixed highway and hill driving."

        • 5 Years Ago
        "Tesla lists 240+ miles per charge - but most people will not see this range for 3 reasons:

        1) It apparently comes from charging in "Range Mode" -- that is charging the battery to 100% and then discharging all the way to 0%. The car gives a warning every time you try this that you are ruining your battery when you do so.

        2) It was achieved running less than highway speeds.

        3) It was using brand new batteries

        If I charge in Standard mode (which gives you access to only about 80% of the battery capacity) and drive conservatively on the highway, I can get about 175 miles on a charge.

        If I charge in Range mode and do the same, I can get 200 miles on one charge.

        If I slow down to under 50 mph and am in Range mode, I can probably come closer to Teslas charge numbers. I have had one trip thus far that matches this profile. I drove almost 200 miles at 50mph and under. I had over 40 miles left on the range estimator when I got home.

        Of course with each charge cycle the battery had hold less energy. What might work today for 175miles on a charge will likely be closer to 150miles in 5 years."

      • 5 Years Ago
      Who Cares just get something in the show rooms
      Jon Lindberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      What do you call it when you go 728 miles and use 2.0 gallons of gas? That does equate to 364mpg. This is what I have for the life of my Volt (so far). Although it isn't considered scientifically true. It is true that I only used 2 gallons of gas in the last 768 miles. Whether its scientific or not the math works as far as a financial cost. Yes there are electric costs but they are very low compared to gas. Where I live the cost of electricity is equivalent to 70 cents a gallon and the Volt can travel 98 miles on the same electric energy as contained in a gallon of gas. (36kWh = 1 gallon of gasoline). 36kWh costs me $2.16 @ 6 cents/kWh. That is about 2 cents per mile. The US average cost for a kWh is about 12 cents. So that's only 4 cents per mile. A 50mpg Prius costs 14 cents per mile to drive at $3.60 a gallon. Huge difference. People complain about the 40 mile range - most people don't travel more than 40 miles a day. So most people will get hundreds of miles per gallon (equivalent) with their Volt. The Volt drivers that drive 80 miles per day will be around 60-70 mpg (equivalent). Equivalent meaning "same as if you really were getting that mpg" So even if you are not really getting 70 miles on a gallon of gas scientifically, you are indeed paying the costs as if you were. Electricity is 100% US energy. How much more patriotic can you get? My fellow conservatives should be all over this - Yet to my disappointment they are not. The Volt is as conservative as you can get.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Every time this topic comes up everyone says the same things... but I've never seen a comment on why these numbers matter other than for marketing.

      What people forget about is the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations, which is where GM/Nissan will get a real benefit from what ever mileage these vehicles are deemed to get. A 200 mpg vehicle is going offset a decent number of 20 mpg vehicles even in modest numbers.

      Not that you want to pay more in taxes, but a gas tax is how you move people into more fuel efficient vehicles ~ not stupid rules that everyone plays games to get around. CAFE is why we have so many SUV's on the road. It's not a station wagon its a truck! (PT Cruiser for example)

      • 5 Years Ago
      For a series hybrid like this, or range-extended EV or whatever you want to call it - then it should be simple.
      There should be tests of a few different types that give the estimated total range on electric.
      Then tests which give mpg without any use of electric.
      Any test involving both is completely colored.
      mpg - should refer to miles moved by the gallons of fuel..

      If you give mpg which is completely arbitrary based upon how far you drove in the exact same conditions then it is completely arbitrary and pointless.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This requires no rocket science to figure out:

      Measure the car running on 100% electricity with miles per KWh city/highway
      Measure the car running on 100% gas with miles per gallon city/highway

      These types of cars cannot be given a pure 'MPG' number, if they were, it would be anywhere from 0-200,000mpg. Not a useful number.. :P
        • 5 Years Ago
        Okay, then how do you convert kWh into gallons?

        And if you do ALL short trips, you're saying the 'miles per gallon' is xx.xx even though you've used no gas.. so that sounds kinda silly, doesn't it?
        • 5 Years Ago
        MPG and MPG "equivalent" are completely meaningless numbers for an electric car.

        So I completely agree with what you said. Run it through the course twice. Once to get the MPG for the ICE and once to get the MPkWH for the electric motor only and report two separate figures.

        Then let the PUBLIC decide how much of each driving their intended use involves, don't even get into that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Principally, I agree with what you're suggesting but it's not quite correct.
        First of all, determine the average kWh consumption (miles / kWh).
        Second, determine the average gas consumtion MPG (a).
        Third, convert average kWh consumtion to MPG (b).
        Fourth, (a+b) / 2 and you have a true MPG indication.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The claim is nearly as fraudulent as "We've paid back all of the government bailout money!"
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm not sure the nasty tone is appropriate. The EPA gave GM that rating... so you can't blame them. But moreover - with the exception of a few days around the EPA announcement - nearly all of GM's advertising/promotions has focused on the 40 mile gas-free range as opposed to the 230 EPA Rating.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think they've got to break it down to a common measurement of energy. Instead of gallons on the gas and diesel pump meters, make it say kilowatt-hours or megajoules. Tell us the energy content of the fuel we just dispensed into the tank. In any case, the unit on the fuel pump should match what's used for electricity (currently kW•h) so that a fair and easy comparison can be made between the cost and energy density of liquid petroleum fuels versus electricity.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think with more PHEVs coming relatively soon, the EPA really needs to find a 100% repeatable way to test these vehicles (i.e. no driver involved).

      Based on what I know (and please correct me if i'm misunderstanding), the main difference in "fuel consumption" in an ICE vehicle and a PHEV is that the ICE car is a lot more consistent since BSFC is not linearly related to power output. Notice in the link below that there is not much change in BSFC between half and full throttle, whereas there would be a much greater difference if the vehicle were driving in EV mode.


      Therefore, the "fuel consumption" of an EV or PHEV is going to vary immensely on driving style, so the EPA needs to make sure their test methods are extremely precise. If they're sloppy in their test methods, it would be very easy for an automaker to take advantage of the bias in the testing by calibrating their vehicles to suit the test, instead of suiting real-world conditions.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Therefore, the "fuel consumption" of an EV or PHEV is going to vary immensely on driving style,"

        I don't know much about engine dynamics, but if this is your premise, then I would think you conclusion would have to be that no test will be a good representation, since in the real world there is a great diversity of driving styles. The best you could do in test design would be one that was very aggressive, so very few people end up with worse mileage, while many people end up with better.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Agreed, no test will be a good representation of real world data. That's the same for ICE vehicles now, with ratings like "between 23 and 28 mpg".

        My point is, with hybrids especially, pedal inputs need to be regulated heavily to get precise data to report, so that on the LABEL, it's a level playing field.

        i.e. - if you drive like the computer, you will get XXX mpge...all of the time. If you have a human in charge of the pedal inputs, he can only follow the suggested driving pattern so close, which could give you 40mpg one time, and 50 another. Which one is actual? Is it the average mpg? Is it the lowest? Is it the one where he followed the driving pattern for the longest amount of time? Those are all sources of error which can be removed by using an automated system to control the vehicle during the test.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The whole discussion is kind of pointless. The Toyota Prius, top mileage car in the U.S. last time I checked, gets 51 in the city and 48 in the highway. If the Volt gets half of that 230 mpg figure, it will still beat the heck out of anything else on the road that burns gas and doesn't need to be recharged every 100 miles.

      Others have pointed out that customers who do mostly local driving will get a lot more than 230 mpg. In fact, I've heard that for a few users, the issue will be keeping the gasoline in the little tank from going bad.
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