The California Air Resources Board has given a green rating to the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, the grade atop the page being ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle). That's below the SULEV and PZEV ratings of cars you might not expect to beat the Volt, such as the four-cylinder Honda Accord and Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0T and Jetta TDI. Also on the list as being cleaner than the Volt are the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Honda CR-Z. Click past the break for some interesting comparative charts.
The issue is that CARB performs its testing with the engine running – it has no electric-power-only test. When the Volt's engine runs, it emits 1.3 g/km, which puts it 0.3 grams beyond the allowance for a SULEV vehicle. What's more, since it can't get the PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) rating of the Prius and Leaf, it can't get carpool lane stickers in California. One of the biggest boons of buying a green car, at least in California, is the extra time you get to enjoy your life because you can use the carpool lane and don't need to haul around Frank and Bob from sales in order to to it.
Will any of this affect the Volt's reception? In most places, wherever a sticker can't get you in the VIP line, probably not. And it doesn't affect what the Volt can do. This is really a reflection of the Volt paying the price for an outdated testing regime and an engine connected to the wheels in a three-mile-per-hour speed band. But in the green space where everyone is counting every feather in every cap, we imagine General Motors is ruing having missed out on this particular one. Perhaps the tagline "More car than electric" is here proved a little too true...
Related Gallery2011 Chevrolet Volt
[Source: Inside Line]