G.M. announces that the Chevy Volt will get 230 miles per gallon in city driving. Bill Vlasic of The New York Times reports:
The rating is based on methodology drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency, and most other automakers have not revealed the mileage for the electric cars. Nissan, however, announced last week that its all-electric vehicle, the Leaf, which comes out in late 2010, would get 367 m.p.g., using the same E.P.A. standards.But readers raise some valid points in the article's comment section about mileage ratings and the true environmental impact of hybrid and electric cars:
As near as I can tell, this is essentially an electric car. Its gasoline consumption is projected to be very low. Where are the mileage figures that factor in the electricity consumption? The Volt may indeed be a remarkably efficient vehicle. But when fuel is burned to generate electricity, and over half of it is lost in transmission to the customer, and then it's used to charge this car's batteries, there's going to be more than one gallon of fuel consumed when driving this car 230 miles.HybridCars has a post that reveals just how complicated it can be to come up with an accurate rating system that consumers can understand:
When plug-in cars hit the US market in the next year or two, consumers will need a lot of help deciphering the efficiency figures of vehicles that carry electric fuel by the kilowatt hour rather than liquid fuel by the gallon. Nissan’s upcoming yet-to-be-named electric car, according to some tests, will get 367 miles per gallon. The Tesla Roadster is reported to get 135 miles per gallon. And the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid…that depends.
If the EPA uses tests designed for electric cars to evaluate the Chevy Volt, the ratings could exceed 100 mpg. But if the government agency classifies the Volt as a hybrid and tests it as such, the EPA rating would drop to about 50 mpg. The difference could mean success or failure in the marketplace. Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency and sticker numbers for plug-in hybrids, which use gasoline and electricity in various degrees and ways depending on the specific vehicles design, have not yet been determined.