• Dec 23, 2010
Click above to watch the video after the jump

The 2011 Chevy Volt is, in several ways, like every other car on the road. Four wheels, four doors, a steering wheel... but not every vehicle has a gas engine, electric motor, massive lithium ion battery and a spot to plug into the wall. It's a bit complicated at first, and perhaps more so when looking at the Environmental Protection Agency's official fuel economy figures.

The EPA tells us that the Volt averages 35 miles on an electric charge, but that number can vary anywhere from 25 to 50 miles depending on the conditions. In gas-only mode, the Volt manages 37 miles per gallon. Combine a full tank of gas with a maxed-out electric charge and you can travel a total of 379 miles. Then there is the EPA equation that compares the cost of electricity compared to the typical cost of gasoline, with a resulting efficiency estimation of 93 MPGe. That's miles per gallon equivalent. All-told, the EPA gave the Volt a 60 mpg combined score. So... we're looking at mpg numbers of 37, 93 and 60 mpg. And 35 miles with virtually no gas whatsoever, but really it's between 25 and 50 miles.

You know what... we can explain this until we're blue in the face, but we probably won't do as well as the 2:20 video that is available after the jump. General Motors breaks down the EPA's Mensa label in a language just about anyone can understand. Click through and enjoy.



[Source: YouTube]



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  • 42 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the Volt was a Honda or a Toyota perhaps more people would love it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      All I see is that going electric will save you ruffly half your "fuel" cost yearly, when you factor in the savings and the cost of the car for an average ownership cycle of 5 years..You are better off buying a Chevy Cruze.....

      For the sake of GM I hope all these greenies that keep pushing for these EVs to speak with their wallets and buy them...
        • 4 Years Ago
        no really captain obvious; off course there is but the only marketing campaign that is being aimed at these cars is for less cost of fuel consumption..The only reason these cars came to fruition is to compete directly with similar cars for less fuel consumption...people only highlight the pros when it comes to speaking of these cars but never like to talk about the cons...

        although while the smart @ss argument of buying used Vs New is true..Used cars are not competing with new cars...But you can sure make a real viable argument when you compare 2 new cars EV/ICE similar equipped and come to the conclusion on cost factor...







        • 4 Years Ago
        Do the same calculation for any non-hybrid/EV that costs about the same as the Volt and you get the same answer; i,e, the reduction in fuel cost does not justfiy the price premium over the Cruze. In fact, in most cases the fuel cost will be higher for the more expensive car. Conclusion: we should only buy compact inexpensive cars like the Cruze???

        Similarly, you would be better off buying a used car instead a new Cruze because the increased fuel economy of the Cruze does not offset its additional cost, by your argument. Conclusion: We should only buy only used cars???

        You need to trade in your simplistic argument for something more intelligent and sophisticated. There's a lot more to choosing a car than fuel cost savings versus price premium. There's also a lot more to energy policy than the direct cost of fuel to the individual car buyer.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Click through and Enjoy"

      I'm not enjoying this at all.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Her voice is quite enjoyable, at least. I wish my math teacher sounded that way.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, she sounds cute.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's too funny watching GM try to spin the Volt's underwhelming numbers to sound good! LMAO!
      • 4 Years Ago
      However you cut it, it's a long way off the "230 MPG" GM was claiming a few months ago.
        • 4 Years Ago
        yep, thats usually what happens when HR people try to talk about engineering data
        • 4 Years Ago
        What everyone seems to forget is that is was

        230 MPG AND 25 kWh/100 miles on the CITY cycle

        Thats right, to get 230 MPG, you also needs to use 25kWh of electritcy per 100 miles.

        We can see from this EPA label that if a person typically drives 45 miles between charges they will end up with 168 MPG and ~26 kWh used per 100 miles on the COMBINED cycle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        At a recent trade show had a banner that proudly proclaimed "The most efficient compact compressor!"

        When one of my fellow engineers was ask what made us THE most efficient, he simply replied, "well, our marketing department."

        Marketing people are very good at misinterpreting information from engineers and seeing the glass as not just half full, but overflowing into other glasses which are also more than half full.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Okay, so let's say most people switch to these EVs. Where's the electricity gonna come from? Uranium and coal mostly. And how long would uranium and coal last? And greater demand for electricity will undoubtedly drive up electricity prices sky high due to limitation of uranium and coal supplies. The long-term answer is hydrogen, like Honda's Clarity.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Even if all the electricity comes from coal or diesel power plants, it's still much better than using gasoline directly in the car. Large scale power plants are far more efficient than car engines, because they are so much larger.

        Modern coal powered power plants are up to 45% efficient, and even power plants built in the '50s achieve 33% efficiency. A gasoline car engine is only 20% efficient.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Uranium? Are you f'ing kidding me?

        This guy must be joking.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The US has a 300 year supply of coal. Though that would be better used in slurrification, which turns it into burnable fuel for combustion vehicles.
        • 4 Years Ago
        oconnell.john.r:

        thats a little short sighted given the fact thats exactly how EV's were viewed from the start and look at them now, I have to agree that Hydrogen is the future fuel...I acknowledge that it's not efficient in getting Hydrogen but that is the future that will eliminate fossil fuels and EV's all together...Sure we are not there yet with technology but we will eventually get there...EV's are nothing but a stepping stone they are not the silver bullet since roughly half more or less of the grid is still made up of dirty electricity, EV's cost more and only save approx half of "fuel" cost a year when compared to a ICE car, not to mention all the energy that went into making said EV is greater then making an ICE car..

        Lets say they come up with a way to develop infinite clean renewable electricity? you can easily used that to make hydrogen and then eliminate the draw backs of having to recharge your EV and instead just get a fill up..it wont matter how inefficient getting hydrogen is since its being generate from infinite clean renewable electricity...
        • 4 Years Ago
        erh:

        "The combustion of coal, however, adds a significant amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere per unit of heat energy, more than does the combustion of other fossil fuels" eia.doe.gov

        not to mention they generate greater amounts of sulfur which is far worst then CO2..plus all the toxic coal ash byproduct which comes from coal plants..

        so essential it's better to drive your ICE car then be driving around in an EV powered by electricity generated from coal..


        • 4 Years Ago
        dude dont be so smart in the open, you are going to be the target of a "witch" hunt from the greenies for seeing all the short comings of an EV... lol

        wait I forgot this is autoblog not autobloggreen they have tunnel vision over there lol...
      • 4 Years Ago
      The volt is not really IMO all that great then if all it can do is get you 379 miles on a tank of gas and ele~I can get 350 miles on one 17 gallon tank from my 2007 hyundai sonata if I go on a trip and drive the speed limit, use cruise control as much as I can~...I guess maybe I am missing something but where is the advantage in this car? twice as much as a regular midsize car, and more to have fixed esp with the battery which will one day cost you a arm and leg to replace then there is higher insurance policies and home ele bill's will go up. It just does not seem to me the volt is a winning ticket~ GM I all for you but this is not all that
        • 4 Years Ago
        First, 350/17 = 20.6 which is pretty horrible highway mileage. So that shouldn't be hard to do at all.

        Second, people road trip in all sorts of vehicles, from F150s to old beetles. Not everyone can afford the ten vehicles needed to have the perfect vehicle for every occasion.

        My friends and I just went from Bozeman to San Francisco and back in a 2001 Kia Rio.
        ~1100 miles/17 hours each way. And we got ~300 miles out of each 10 gallon tank.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Farmer - learn to maintian your speed without cruise control.

        It can seriously improve your fuel mileage - specifically because when CC kicks in, it tends to kick down a gear to get up a hill. If you are maintaining constant variable pressure on the pedal yourself, your tranny won't need to shift down - thus keeping revs low.

        Plus it makes you a much better driver in the long run.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It also only has a 9 gallon gas tank
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ gua WTH are you talking about?

        This car is roughly the same length as a Civic, Sonata, Jetta, etc - none of those cars are suitable for a couple of hundred mile road trip either?

        Pretty sure it'll do just fine for a family of 2-3 & thier luggage to make it a few states away to be @ gramma's for the holidays.

        • 4 Years Ago
        the car is targeted for people that commute 40 miles a day from to work and on occasion take a long weekend trip needing the gas engine otherwise weekdays it will be getting plugged in...truthfully there really is no comparisons....
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Level

        I seriously doubt a 177 inches long car is gonna be any useful for any long-distance trips. Seriously.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why is the "mpg equivalent" used as a standard. Why not show the electrical draw during it's all electric mode and then you could compare that to the electrical draw that other all electric cars use. The variable in this mpgE is where you plug in, so when the EPA says this is the most efficient vehicle, does that mean that the Volt's electric mode uses less electricity than anyone else's?
      • 4 Years Ago
      alll this propaganda its ´couse the leaf its less expensive and better XD
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lame. I'd rather have a prius.
      • 4 Years Ago
      actual results will vary with driving habits, traffic conditions, weather patterns, and solar flares.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Honda's CLARITY gets 60 miles per gallon of liquid hydrogen. PLUS, hydrogen is unlimited. Volt still needs rare uranium, coal, oil for electricity and gas.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gua,

        While I admire your position, I do believe you need to learn how hydrogen works first before attempting to make a point.

        Hydrogen is not unlimited on earth...infact, elemental hydrogen is nearly non existent. We have hydrogen in abundance in our water, natural gas and various other hydrocarbons.

        We cannot simply drill for hydrogen like we do with fossil fuels. Hydrogen must be produced somehow and this usually involves electricity. Please research electrolysis of water, stream reforming, hydrocracking, etc, for examples.

        Hydrogen is not some miracle fuel that is available everywhere and will immediately solve all of our problems. An infrastructure must first be in place to generate usable hydrogen.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I did an engineering research paper back in school comparing hybrids, battery electrics, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. When considering "well-to-wheel" emissions and cost (well-to-wheel meaning everything from generating the electricity / doing electrolysis to get hydrogen, etc to transporting the energy to actually turning the wheels) and battery electrics definitely beat out hydrogen. There are many more processes necessary for hydrogen purification and they have lower efficiencies than electricity generation and battery storage.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The more you drive on electric, the less it costs to drive."

      Why not get a Leaf then. It has a MUCH longer electric-only range. Plus, it costs less to actually buy the car. Granted doesn't have a gas-powered motor to power it when the electricity runs out. But then who drives more than 100 miles.

      I'm sorry, but the Volt just doesn't make sense to me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Macs are so much better than pc's. They are the only tool you will ever need for any situation. Everybody should use them all the ti...

        Oh, wait... I'm sorry. Am I at the wrong internet flame war?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Leaf, being all electric, is definitely the direction we need to head in the future (in my humble opinion). But the Volt serves as a good stepping stone for people concerned about being range limited. Basically I see the volt as a way to make people more comfortable making the switch too BEVs. As battery technology continues to improve and range of pure BEVs continues to improve, I see the need for an onboard gas engine decreasing.

        The normal all-electric operation (like the Leaf on a day-to-day) coupled with the ability to go long distances if required is what makes the Volt desirable. If that doesn't appeal to you, then I guess you're just ahead of the game. 100 miles doesn't get you very far though..

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