ETV Motors, the company behind the modified Prius with an extended-range microtubrine, believes that the EPA's emerging MPG methodology for plug-in vehicles – the one that allowed GM to proclaim a 230 mpg rating for the Chevy Volt and which Nissan used to say the all-electric Leaf gets 367 mpg – is clear as mud. The system makes it difficult for a consumer to relate to the resulting numbers "in any meaningful way to actual vehicle performance." ETV wrote an open letter that also says:
The economy, the environment, the industry and the needs of citizens in the United States and beyond all need something much better than what is being communicated by the automotive industry today.
The gist of ETV's complaint is that "traditional 'miles per gallon' metrics provide consumers with precious little meaningful data on which to base a purchase decision," which we agree with. ETV wants the EPA to "play a leadership role in defining a well-articulated, rational and consumer-sensitive set of vehicle efficiency measurement regulations" for the U.S. This is all fine and good. The trouble is that there isn't a simple alternative. ETV makes the case for a three-number system:
  • All Electric Range (the distance a vehicle driven under normal driving conditions can expect to achieve when operating in purely-electric mode)
  • Energy Efficiency in All Electric Mode (the energy efficiency of the vehicle in its All Electric Range)
  • Fuel Efficiency in Charge-Sustain Mode (a measure of fuel efficiency for range extended electric vehicles such as the Chevy Volt)
We're partial to a two-number system – the first one that shows a plug-in vehicle's all-electric range, the second one which shows the vehicles MPG (as currently defined) if there is a range extender involved – but we appreciate any move to clear up the mud a bit. 230 and 367 certainly don't make it easy to understand what these vehicles will deliver, even as they show that these are game-changing cars. Download the PDF of ETV's letter or read it here.

[Source: ETV Motors]


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