• Oct 28, 2010
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 This is really a reflection of the Volt paying the price for an outdated testing regime and an engine connected to the wheels in a three-mile-per-hour speed band.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...

[Source: Inside Line]

carb levII criteria

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago

      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
        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.


        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

        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 $$$.
        • 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.
      • 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
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