This just in: General Motors hypothesizes, with the help of “a draft EPA federal fuel economy methodology for labeling for plug-in electric vehicles”, the Chevrolet Volt of 2011 will sip just one gallon of gasoline for every 230 miles of city driving.
Yes, you read that correctly. The Volt should be rated at 230 mpg when the EPA performs its testing in advance of the Chevrolet Volt’s on-sale date. Arriving at this number involves a complicated procedure, one that starts with the Volt using 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles. GM says the average cost of electricity in the United States 11 cents per kilowatt hour. The Volt’s ability to travel 40 miles without using a drop of gasoline is tantalizing enough; its cost per mile figure of less than $0.03/mile is disarming.
GM’s latest Volt press release explains its powertrain in this way: “In electric mode, the Volt will not use gasoline or produce tailpipe emissions when driving. During this primary mode of operation, the Volt is powered by electrical energy stored in its 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. When the battery reaches a minimum state of charge, the Volt automatically switches to Extended-Range mode. In this secondary mode of operation, an engine-generator produces electricity to power the vehicle. The energy stored in the battery supplements the engine-generator when additional power is needed during heavy accelerations or on steep inclines.”