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Chevrolet Volt window sticker
93 mpg on battery power, 37 mpg on gasoline power

After a cluster bomb that was unleashed yesterday when the Nissan Leaf was rated for an EPA estimated 99 mpg -- even though it is a "battery only" vehicle -- General Motors is dropping a bunch of digits on us when it comes to the EPA rating for its Chevrolet Volt.

According to the window sticker that will be plastered on all new Volts sold in the U.S., the vehicle is rate at an equivalent of 93 mpg when running on electricity, and a more sedate 37 mpg when the gasoline engine kicks in after the battery is depleted. This two figures combined give the Volt a "composite" rating of 60 mpg.

And here are some more numbers -- the Volt will have an official "battery only" range of 35 miles, while the total driving range (taking into account the batteries and the gasoline tank) will be 379 miles.

When the Volt was first announced, GM said that the vehicle would have a 40-mile range when running on battery power. The company recently revised that figure to 25-50 miles.

The Volt will go on sale later this month with a price tag of $41,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit.



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They need to stop playing the funny numbers game.
By 91TTZ on 11/24/2010 4:56:25 PM , Rating: 1
As another poster pointed out yesterday, the government's "mpg" rating for running on electric power is extremely misleading. They're taking the amount of energy contained in a gallon of gasoline, converting it to an electricity equivalent, then measuring how far the car can drive on that amount of electricity. This type of rating is misleading because it's only measuring the efficiency in which the car's electric motor converts electricity to movement, and ignores the inefficiency that the power plant experiences burning a fossil fuel to generate electricity.

In a car such as the Prius, that inefficiency is taken into account and it shows on the mpg rating since the fuel must be burned in the engine and turned into motion which drives a generator an/or moves the vehicle. On a plug-in electric, the government is ignoring that stage of production and directly measuring how far the car goes on the electricity equivalent of a gallon of gasoline. This method implies that the conversion from fossil fuels to electricity is 100% efficient, which it's not.




By rangerdavid on 11/24/2010 5:01:25 PM , Rating: 2
By power plant, you mean the local coal/natural gas/hydro/nuke plant on the grid? Toss in transmission loss and a variety of renewable power sources, and it seems there's no way to really say how efficient the power in my garage's plug is compare to yours. So they just ignore that mess and focus on the car.

But yes, we shouldn't ignore the fossil fuels being burned somewhere to ultimately move an electric car from point A to point B (unless you live in Seattle and we are %99 hydro!)


By 91TTZ on 11/24/2010 5:13:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So they just ignore that mess and focus on the car.


If they do that, then why don't they figure out the inefficiency of the onboard engine that turns the generator, and conveniently ignore that loss? Because ignoring the generation losses on one car and then taking them into account on another car just isn't fair and doesn't represent reality.


By sorry dog on 11/24/2010 8:06:47 PM , Rating: 2
It's not really a volume of gas comparison that it implies.

It's really a cost comparison based gallons of gas. You don't include the power grid efficiencies because the KWh to gas ration assumes 100% efficiency from the meter (what the power bill is based) to the battery charge... which is probably more in the 80-90% range.
If you know what you pay for a gallon of gas versus a KWh then they compare.
...but I agree it's retarded.


RE: They need to stop playing the funny numbers game.
By mliska1 on 11/24/2010 5:07:17 PM , Rating: 2
But they're also ignoring all of the inefficencies in getting the crude oil out of the ground, refining it (that uses a huge amount of heat to do), pumping it by pipe to substations, hauling it one tanker truck at a time to gas stations in extremely inefficient trucks, pumping it into your car, etc. If you include that, recharging your electric car is probably more efficent than gassing up.


RE: They need to stop playing the funny numbers game.
By 91TTZ on 11/24/2010 5:17:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But they're also ignoring all of the inefficencies in getting the crude oil out of the ground, refining it (that uses a huge amount of heat to do), pumping it by pipe to substations, hauling it one tanker truck at a time to gas stations in extremely inefficient trucks, pumping it into your car, etc. If you include that, recharging your electric car is probably more efficent than gassing up.


But the rating system is based on the fuel economy of gasoline, which has already been refined and transported, so those factors never come into play. The starting point of the comparison is the gallon of gasoline sitting in your fuel tank.


By Alexstarfire on 11/25/2010 2:55:08 AM , Rating: 2
So you'd ignore the inefficiency of producing the gas but not for electric and call it fair? Sorry, that isn't going to fly. If they are using the gas in the gas tank as a starting point then using the amount of electricity in the battery is the exact same comparison.


By Targon on 11/26/2010 6:02:18 AM , Rating: 2
How efficient something is only applies to where the consumer has to pay. In this case, you have the electricity the consumer pays for to the amount that ends up in the battery.

The (in)efficiency of the power plant and distribution is already included in the cost of electricity, in the way that the cost of gas already includes the cost of crude oil, processing, and distribution of the resulting gasoline to your local gas station.

The point that the number of kilowatts of electricity you get and pay for from the electric company will be higher than the amount the battery will absorb is the percentage lost in the charging process of the battery pack.

So, you pay for your gas, and you pay for your electric. How much power is lost in the process of charging up a plug-in car?


RE: They need to stop playing the funny numbers game.
By mliska1 on 11/24/2010 5:48:22 PM , Rating: 3
I stand by my retarded thinking. The original poster said that, in an ICE that it takes into account inherant losses through combustion which, of course, are way, way more than the losses of simply putting power in a battery through an electric motor for forward motion. However, he wants to counter that by adding effects of making the power itself through coal combustion and the losses in transmission. These are not the same thing.

If you're going to count only losses in the car's power plant, then you have to count it the way it was measured: using the regular MPG rating of a gas engine to its equivalent in electric power. If you're going to add losses far outside the car itself, such as losses from coal combustion and electric transmission, then you have to add the losses of gasoline refining and transportation as well.


By Reclaimer77 on 11/24/2010 6:47:57 PM , Rating: 1
No he's not. I think you need to read his post again.


By Solandri on 11/24/2010 7:04:39 PM , Rating: 3
You can avoid most of this argument by doing a cost-per-gallon comparison.

Current price of 87 octane gas = about $3.00/gal

From the fine print on the EPA label:
$0.12 per kW-hr of electricity
33.7 kW-hr per gallon-equivalent
($0.12 / kW-hr) * (33.7 kW-hr / gallon) = $4.044/gal-equiv

So from the figures the EPA is using, energy in the form of electricity is more expensive than energy in the form of gasoline. And the only reason EVs are cheaper to operate is because they're more efficient from battery pack to wheels on the ground.


By phantom505 on 11/24/2010 10:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
And to make it even more confusing you're best off using local gas and electric prices. But that would require someone to think... and we can't have consumers doing that!


RE: They need to stop playing the funny numbers game.
By goku on 11/25/2010 3:51:52 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
But that would require someone to think... and we can't have consumers doing that!

Well you can't have consumers be doing that, you need them to follow obediently to what the government says you should do. If your government tells you this isn't violating your rights or that this is what you should buy, you're going to have to believe that because otherwise you're against the government. If you're having people think about one thing, they might start thinking about other things, and soon might threaten the power of the government to exert control. It's best to keep people hopelessly ignorant as it's easier to control them that way, whether it's in the dealership show room, or when they're being screened by the TSA.

You're either with us or against us.


By phantom505 on 11/25/2010 1:43:39 PM , Rating: 2
There are many things not right with the politics of this country. Three of them is the idea you can be infinitely intelligent, infinitely paranoid, and infinitely able to control what happens in your life. None of these things are possible unless you're God, so yes, you need a summary and an education to understand the summary.

This sticker provides that but what would make sense is to have the local dealers actually post a little info for you that is fact based) on the actual costs of energy.

Government last I check isn't telling you what car to buy, they are encouraging technological growth and a sustainable route. Using fossil fuels will not work forever. More people means more cars. If we keep relying on imported fossil fuels then we have a national security problem on top of an air and water quality problem, on top of potentially numerous other issues.

I wish people on this site would quit trying to over simplify everything, nothing is that simple. If it were we would have already come up with a perfect solution.


By Alexstarfire on 11/25/2010 6:05:25 AM , Rating: 1
You make it sound like it's a bad thing that EVs have a more efficient motor. That's pretty much the only reason EVs are worth looking at after all. ICEs could barely manage half the efficiency at best that most electric motors have now.


RE: They need to stop playing the funny numbers game.
By Hiawa23 on 11/24/2010 6:44:07 PM , Rating: 1
my head is about to explode with misinformation out there for these vehicles. I guess it's not possible that we will see a gasoline engined vehicle get 60-70mpg, & not be as ugly as a Prius, cuz let's be honest, for most of us, the only option will be gasoline vehicles. Why can't they improve MPGs for these vehicles by a huge margin, haven't they been making gasoline engined vehicles for decades? What's holding back the technology?


RE: They need to stop playing the funny numbers game.
By walk2k on 11/24/10, Rating: 0
By goku on 11/25/2010 4:13:51 AM , Rating: 2
They use imperial gallons in England, which is significantly larger than the gallons we use in the US. To give you a hint about how they don't have cars overseas that have mileage significantly higher than what we can buy here, just keep what I'm about to tell you in mind. In London, if you buy and drive a Prius, you are NOT subject to congestion tax. Also, the Prius is immensely popular in japan, another country touted for having very high fuel efficiency vehicles. London does this because the Prius really is that efficient. If the Prius wasn't so efficient, why is the Prius popular in Japan? Or why does the city of London work to actually prop up the sales of these vehicles?

Finally, keep in mind that the environmental regulations overseas are far less stringent than in the United States. We have the strictest emissions in the world with the state of California being the very most strict of all. No big oil conspiracy here, just people choosing to buy inefficient, large, HEAVY vehicles over smaller, fuel sipping compact cars.


By Masospaghetti on 11/25/2010 7:14:01 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, its a huge conspiracy. /sarcasm

Actually, it's because the American public is nonsensically, vehemently against raising the fuel tax, despite the societal costs. In Europe, cars get 60-70 mpg because 1) they use a different, larger gallon, and 2) fuel cost about $2 per litre or $8 per gallon.

Increasing the fuel tax here in the states would be the single best thing a politician could do for the country, provided the tax increase was offset with a decrease in another tax, such as income payroll tax . It's simple, expensive fuel causes people to consume less and demand higher MPG vehicles.

Keep in mind also that safety standards here in the US means that cars will always be heavy. Gas-only cars such as the new Cruze Eco are almost maxxed out in efficiency, IMO - small turbo engines, 6-speed transmissions, efficiency tires, aerodynamic tricks, lightweight wheels, etc. They might be able to get another +2 mpg from direct injection, but that's about it. 30/45 mpg is probably about as high as it goes.


By Targon on 11/26/2010 6:25:39 AM , Rating: 2
The 2012 Ford Focus will be getting close to 40 miles per gallon highway(US Gallons) and 160 horsepower out of a 2.0L non-turbocharged engine. Going to a 1.4L turbocharged should beat out that 30/45 number, and that is without further improvements to vehicle weight and design. Take that and cut it down to a 3-door hatchback design and you could get a bit better out of it.

Take the engine from that new Focus, put it into something the size of a Smart Car, and bingo, you hit 50 miles per gallon highway mpg.


By FITCamaro on 11/26/2010 3:43:52 PM , Rating: 3
You are insane if you think the US government will lower income taxes to increase gas taxes.

Plus its a dumb idea because its highly unlikely that the income tax would be cut enough to offset the costs increases in EVERYTHING that come as a result of extremely high fuel prices. Especially in states or cities that are far from ports. Europeans seem to forget that their countries are tiny in comparison to the US.


By Mint on 11/27/2010 9:40:30 AM , Rating: 2
How is it highly unlikely? If it's revenue neutral on the government's end, then it will be revenue neutral, on average, for the consumer.


By Masospaghetti on 11/28/2010 9:26:59 AM , Rating: 2
With the current "leadership" I don't think it will happen either, but it's pretty much the ONLY sane way to reduce fuel consumption. How practical it is in our current political climate, that's a different story.

quote:
Plus its a dumb idea because its highly unlikely that the income tax would be cut enough to offset the costs increases in EVERYTHING that come as a result of extremely high fuel prices.


And where would these "extra" expenses go? Would they vanish? People that use less fuel would end up with a net gain, people that depend on transportation would end up with a net loss. It's pretty simple, there's no money being obliterated.

And before you label me as a tree-hugging, bicycle riding hippie, realize I have a 40 mile commute every day to work and I drive a Ford Explorer with a big 4.0 all-iron engine.


By Mint on 11/27/2010 9:44:24 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, it's political suicide.

Somebody tried that in Canada, where we are supposedly more environmentally friendly, and he lost a lot of seats in his party for trying to be so bold.

That's right: he outlined a plan to reduce income tax, add a carbon tax, and do it in a way that most people would wind up with more money in their pockets. As a result, voters shut him down.


By IntelUser2000 on 11/24/2010 7:29:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure adding fossil fuel power plant into the equation makes it any simpler.

Surely managing a single big power source like a power plant is far more economical/efficient/cleaner than trying to do the same for millions of cars sold every year.

I agree with the first point though, but for different reasons. It doesn't make sense just because battery tech have far less energy density than gasoline that MPG ratings are meaningless. It's meaningless to the consumers who are the ones that look at the numbers to buy them.


By Targon on 11/26/2010 6:19:09 AM , Rating: 2
What people really want to know is what the cost of ownership will end up being for them, and that is what has NOT been talked about.

Cost of ownership=initial cost of the car+maintenance+fuel(whatever the source).

Everything else tends to be a secondary factor and just distorts things quite a bit. This applies to the Prius, Volt, or even a normal car.

I don't see how a $40,000+ car will ever end up with a lower cost of ownership than a $23,000 car with a normal engine that gets 40 mpg highway/30 mpg city. You put more out of your pocket up front for the EV/hybrid, but you don't end up saving $17,000 in fuel costs over a 5-7 year period.

Now, those numbers, 40mpg/30mpg are close to the 2011 Hyundai Elantra(due in Dec of 2010), the 2011 Ford Fiesta, and the 2012 Ford Focus(due Spring of 2011 with the current fuel efficiency estimates for it). The Fiesta is a 120 horsepower subcompact that sells for $15,000-$19,000. The new Focus will be a 160 horsepower compact, and the Elantra is set to get 140 horsepower. Much lower in overall cost of ownership compared to a $40,000+ Volt.

One other thing to consider is how comfortable any vehicle is, since the more you pay for a car, the more enjoyable you want it to be. There are clearly tradeoffs to be had when you go for a hybrid in terms of trunk space or even vehicle appearance(I don't like the look of the Prius), so that can be factored in.

And then, the thing that won't be mentioned, how much pollution is generated in the creation of these cars, including the batteries? Batteries tend to be fairly toxic, and the production of batteries can release a LOT of pollution into the environment where the batteries are made. If it happens in China, many consumers outside of China won't care as long as pollution is not generated HERE, but it sure doesn't help save the planet.


By Thats Mr Gopher to you on 11/25/2010 2:46:46 AM , Rating: 1
Are you also going to demand that the fuel consumed to deliver the fuel to the gas station be taken into the calculation for ICE vehicles? And the energy used to extract and process the oil? If not, then that sounds like a rather large double standard.

The burning of fossil fuels and other sources to power electric vehicles are not trivial matters and should be considered but they do not need to be taken into account for the 'MPG' rating of a vehicle.


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