• 47
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 This is really a reflection of the Volt paying the price for an outdated testing regime and an engine connected to the wheels in a three-mile-per-hour speed band.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...


  • Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman
  • Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman
  • The Chevrolet Volt "Freedom Drive" across the country concludes at Pier 92 during the annual Macy's Independence Day fireworks display over the Hudson River in New York, Sunday, July 4, 2010. The "Freedom Drive" began four days and 1.776 miles ago in Austin, Texas where Chevrolet announced New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas would join Michigan, California and Washington, D.C. as launch sites for the Volt later this year. (Photo by Emile Wamsteker for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt "Freedom Drive" across the country concludes at Pier 92 during the annual Macy's Independence Day fireworks display over the Hudson River in New York, Sunday, July 4, 2010. The "Freedom Drive" began four days and 1.776 miles ago in Austin, Texas where Chevrolet announced New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Texas would join Michigan, California and Washington, D.C. as launch sites for the Volt later this year. (Photo by Emile Wamsteker for Chevrolet)
  • Chevrolet announces Thursday, July 1, 2010 it is adding Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to the launch markets for the Volt electric vehicle. The retail launch in Texas and New York will begin with Austin and New York City in late 2010. The balance of Texas and New York, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut, are scheduled to begin receiving Volts in early 2011. The Chevrolet Volt (pictured here) in front of the Texas State Capital in Austiin, Texas Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (Photo by Steven Noreyko for Chevrolet)
  • Chevrolet announces Thursday, July 1, 2010 it is adding Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to the launch markets for the Volt electric vehicle. The retail launch in Texas and New York will begin with Austin and New York City in late 2010. The balance of Texas and New York, as well as New Jersey and Connecticut, are scheduled to begin receiving Volts in early 2011. The Chevrolet Volt (pictured here) in front of the Texas State Capital in Austiin, Texas Wednesday, June 30, 2010. (Photo by Steven Noreyko for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt passes a trolley while navigating the steep climbs of the San Francisco Bay area while on an engineering development drive Saturday, April 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt drives near the Golden Gate Bridge while on an engineering development drive in San Francisco, California Saturday, April 25, 2010. The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt navigates the steep climbs of the San Francisco Bay area while on an engineering development drive Saturday, April 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California The Volt will be available in California during the last quarter of 2010. (Photo by Martin Klimek for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range on display at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range drives through campus at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The new Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range drives through campus at Columbia University on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 2010 in New York, NY. (Photo by Todd Plitt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • The Chevrolet Volt �Freedom Drive� across the country continues in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday, July 3, 2010 as the Volt participates in the annual Independence Day Parade. The Volt, an electric vehicle with extended range. will finish its four-day, 1,776 mile route in New York City on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for Chevrolet)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range travels around Pier 92 during a media test drive in New York, NY on Monday, March 29, 2010. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) (3/29/2010)
  • A pre-production Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range travels around Pier 92 during a media test drive in New York, NY on Monday, March 29, 2010. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet) (3/29/2010)
  • The first pre-production Chevrolet Volt rolls off the line at the Detroit-Hamtramck manufacturing plant Wednesday, March 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The pre-production versions of the Volt will not be sold at dealerships, but will be used to assure all steps in the production system will meet the quality targets set by the Volt engineering team. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet) (04/01/2010)
  • A Chevrolet Volt battery at the General Motors Global Battery Systems Lab in Warren, Michigan Wednesday, June 30, 2010. The Chevrolet Volt will offer customers an unprecedented standard 8 year/100,000 mile warranty on its lithium-ion battery. GM engineers have completed more than 1 million miles and 4 million hours of validation battery testing since 2007. Each Volt battery pack has nine modules and 288 cells. GM designed and engineered 99 percent of the 155 components in each battery. (Photo by John F. Martin for Chevrolet)

[Source: Inside Line]



carb levII criteria


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 47 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      "PZEV"

      God I hate that. What's part of zero? Math fail.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes there are idiots in California, this is not something the state can be proud of. In fact it makes them look like a pack of fools.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I was going to post a comment about how stupid CARB is, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that GM really screwed the pooch here. They didn't even consider this when they built the vehicle?

      Secondarily, who's to say these Volt owners will do what they need to and plug it in every night. If the parents throw the keys to some lazy, stupid kid who just parks the car and never plugs it in, the owners moves from a house to an apartment, etc., etc. it will be running the engine the next day and will be putting out more emissions than is required to use the carpool lane.

      I'm guessing in this case that CARB did a worst case scenario (if they were smart enough to think that way) and penalized GM for not putting a cleaner burning ICE in there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        In that case, CARB should be testing all cars at WOT and using that as the basis for their ratings.
      • 4 Years Ago
      this is one of those cases where the Car is more advance then the equipment being tested on is lol
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now, i find this one funny and odd but sadly - true. Especially when in the carpool lane, the volt will anyway not be electric, so the status is correct .....
        • 4 Years Ago
        jeff, but even if the engine isn't connected to the wheels, it's still running. So the only point is whether you've driven 25-50 miles yet since your charge or even whether you charged it at all before setting out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        the Volt very well can be an EV in the carpool lane. Engine doesn't get connected to the wheels unless
        a) battery is depleted
        AND
        b) you're going over 70mph

        These guys doing this test with the engine running is pretty arbitrary, considering that, depending on the length of your drive, you may very well get 0 g/km. They should have decided a typical driving distance. If that distance was 60 miles. Then they would've had to divide the 1.3g by 3.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think by a hair is an exaggeration. 30% is a lot.

        Also, the Jetta TDI is not an SULEV, it's a ULEV II (according to fueleconomy.gov). From my understanding it misses on NOx as you can easily see from your own graphs and charts.

        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/2008car1tablef.jsp?id=29409

        Note that even cars you think of as SULEVs are often not rated as such outside CARB areas. Even Priuses (the cleanest ICE car on the road) are sold as approximately ULEV spec outside CARB regions.
        • 4 Years Ago
        jeff:

        The new law says that you have at least meat atPZEV rating, which the Volt does not do. GM has said they will allow you to buy a atPZEV package starting in 2012, but that will be more $$$.
        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/07/california-denies-volt-at-pzev-status-tax-rebate-hov-access/
        • 4 Years Ago
        How does that differ from the Prius, which is least efficient in exactly the conditions of a "high speed lane?"
        • 4 Years Ago
        Neither is the Prius, yet you can get the sicker to get on the carpool lane(I think the same applies to the Insight).
      • 4 Years Ago
      lmao my big a** subaru outback is a pzev. does that mean its more green than the volt?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Can your Subaru drive you 40 miles without using a drop of gas? Can you charge it overnight and drive it another 40 miles the next day without using a drop of gas?

        I think the answer to both of those questions, and your initial question, is NO.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Prius has a older technology when it comes to the hybrid system comparing it to the Volt and the Prius still cleaner.... wow what is wrong with that picture. is the Prius that good of a Hybrid??
      • 4 Years Ago
      That definitely isn't good news. How did GM miss the boat on something that would be so important to some of their potential customers?

      I know that some people REALLY care about that rating. I know one person who went out of their way to purchase a PZEV Subaru and traveled two states away to find the exact vehicle they wanted with a PZEV rating.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "How did GM miss the boat on something that would be so important to some of their potential customers?"

        Because engineers should be designing cars, not government types.

        CARB is lame.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was suprised to see a PZEV sticker on my friends' new Forester.
      danwat1234
      • 2 Years Ago
      What's the difference between ULEV I, ULEV II, SULEV I and SULEV II?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I never really looked into that, but it amazes me that this car isn't any cleaner running (let's not talk about fabrication here) than a Subaru PZEV, which utilizes pretty much a normal engine...it's either Subaru tried real hard at it or Chevy didn't try enough.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm guessing Chevy focused on energy output to the batteries rather than emissions reduction regarding the range extending engine.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Quite a flawed rating system for any car that has more than one source of power (i.e electricity that is not self-generated).
      • 4 Years Ago
      California Anal Retention Board
    • Load More Comments