Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chevrolet Volt to Get 230 Miles Per Gallon in City Driving, GM Says

In a news release dated today, General Motors said it expects the Chevrolet Volt will achieve 230 miles per gallon in city driving.

The Volt is powered by a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a small gasoline engine that takes over when the battery charge drops to a certain minimum. The engine generates electricity and also muscles the car -- with assistance from the battery -- through lead-foot acceleration or steep inclines.

GM expects the Volt to consume just 25 kWh per 100 miles in city driving. (That is the new EPA standard to measure the fuel efficiency of plug-in electric vehicles, by the way: the number of kWh used per 100 miles. We may as well get used to it.)

As a gauge of fuel efficiency, the 230-mpg number is largely conceptual, because:
  1. 80% of drivers commute less than 40 miles per day, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data cited by GM;

  2. In development tests of prototypes, the Volt ran 40 miles on electricity alone, without gasoline, in EPA city and highway test cycles; and

  3. GM CEO Fritz Henderson says many Volt drivers will be able to get through their day without using the gasoline engine at all.
So what the 230-mpg figure really tells us is: You know how you can find your way to your neighborhood gas station with your eyes shut? In a few years, you'll be visiting it so seldom you'll need directions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright 2009- each blog post's respective author. All rights reserved.