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Thursday, November 25, 2010

EPA label for Chevy Volt: 93 MPGe EV Mode, 60 MPG Combined

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt received not one but three different mileage ratings from the U.S. EPA today.

On electricity alone, the Volt achieves the equivalent of 93 mpg.

Powered solely by the gasoline engine, the Volt gets 37 mpg.

Running on a combination of electricity and gasoline, the Volt generates the equivalent of 60 mpg, the EPA determined.

General Motors Co. has been touting the Volt for four years now and often refers to it as a technological showcase. The four-passenger car can travel on battery power alone and offers additional driving range when assisted by a 1.4-liter gasoline engine. The car has already received numerous awards, including Green Car Journal's Green Car of the Year. The EPA said the Volt has a 35-mile range on electricity alone and a range of 379 miles with gasoline and electricity. GM had been saying that the Volt had a range of 35-50 miles on one full battery charge.

“We have said that the range is variable on how you drive,” Doug Parks, GM's vehicle line executive in charge of the Volt, said during a conference call today with the press.

The Volt falls into the EPA compact vehicle segment, which includes such vehicles as the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and Toyota Corolla.The Volt's mpg rating was rated as best in the compact class by the EPA.

Since the Volt is using technology that no other automaker currently offers, a new mileage label was created by the EPA with input from GM.

“The label helps customers understand the uniqueness of the Volt and how it applies to their routine,” said Scott Miller, vehicle performance manager for the Volt.

Label unique to Volt

The Volt is the only 2011 vehicle that will use this label. However, although it has not been determined by the EPA, the label is expected to be used by other automakers that offer similar powertrains, Parks said. The label is not expected to be used for just one model year, discarded and replaced with something different for 2012.

“We are quite pleased with the numbers and the label,” Parks said. “If there was a simpler way, we would have done it.”

The label lists what it calls “charging routines,” essentially estimates for the cost of electricity and gasoline based on the number of miles driven between charges. For example, a Volt owner living in an urban area who travels 30 miles between charges, would use no gasoline, the EPA estimates. The vehicle would consume 10.9 killowatts of electricity for an estimated cost of four cents per mile.

That contrasts with a Volt owner who travels 75 miles between a charge and uses gasoline. The EPA estimates 12.9 killowatts of electricity would be used, in addition to gasoline, for a combined estimated cost of 7 cents per mile. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 69 miles per gallon.

Earlier this month, Tom Stephens, GM's global product chief, said Chevrolet would begin shipping the Volt to dealers as soon as the EPA issued a mileage label for the vehicle. Parks declined to say when shipments would begin, however.

GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant has built Volts for shipment since early November.

The car will go on sale initially in Michigan, California; metropolitan New York; Austin, Tex.; and Washington, D.C. before it is available in the rest of the country by 2012. It has a base price of $41,000, including shipping, before a $7,500 federal tax credit.

The Volt is the most aerodynamic vehicle GM has produced, Stephens said. GM had said the Volt can travel 25 to 50 miles on battery power alone and offer additional driving range of 310 miles when assisted by a 1.4-liter engine with a full tank of gasoline.

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