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Doesn't the EPA test the fuel economy of all new vehicles? Actually, no.

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Look at the vehicle in the picture above. Does that look like a subcompact car to you? Well, if you peer at the Fisker Karma through the regulatory lens of the EPA, then it would.

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The Fisker Karma is 16.5 feet long and tips the scales at 5,300 pounds. Sounds more like a 1960s Lincoln than an extended-range green machine capable of 32 miles on electric power alone, doesn't it? Actually, if you ask the Environmental Protection Agency, the Karma is a lot more like a subcompact.

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The 2012 Fisker Karma is officially rated by the EPA at 52 MPGe and 20 miles per gallon when its battery runs out of juice. In addition, the plug-in boasts 32 miles of electric-only range. Though these numbers can feel disappointing, there's a reason for the Karma's less than stellar EPA numbers. 5,300 reasons, to be exact.

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Within hours of posting on the Tesla Roadster's official EPA rating and emphatically pointing out that no production vehicle beat the Roadster's EPA-assigned 111 MPGe rating, along came an automobile that knocked the Roadster from its number one spot. It was bound to happen, right?

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As far as we know, the first production Chevrolet Volt models are still awaiting their official EPA stickers. Nissan, though, has received the details on what the government agency has rated its all-electric Leaf at, and it looks good: a combined rating of 99 miles per gallon (equivalent) which breaks down into 106 city/92 highway. The official EPA range for the car is 73 miles, which Nissan admits is a variable (we know it can be beaten), and the annual electric cost is estimated at $561. The L

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As experts from the automotive industry and government discuss how to determine efficiency ratings for electric vehicles (EVs), they have quickly come to a conclusion that nobody will be happy to hear: it can't be done.

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