Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Chevy Volt gets a myriad of different MPG numbers on its EPA sticker

So the Chevy Volt's official EPA numbers have been released and they have far more asterisks than the 230mpg GM was touting only recently...
Image source ->
The biggest problem with these numbers for the EPA (and consumers for that matter) is categorizing it. The Volt is designed for frequent short trips (btw 25-50 miles) but CAN go for as long as there is fuel in the tank. Secondly, its designed to obtain the bulk of its charging from the grid in order to maintain as little liquid fuel consumption as possible. If an owner doesn't use the vehicle like this, Chevy will look like they lied (which they did initially with regard to the 230mpg... come on, thats a little ridiculous).  Other issues like charging from 120V "regular" plugs vs 240V "Dryer" plugs might require more gasoline fueled charging, again lowering mpg. (hence all the asterisks). Based on the official sticker, 60mpg (full battery) or 37mpg (flat battery) seems to be a worse-ish case scenario, which is still very good in my opinion.

Image source ->

The next issue is categorizing what kind of car it actually is. Electric? Plug-in Hybrid? Traditional Hybrid? Gasoline fueled/electrically enhanced new category? Typically the consensus is that a true electric vehicle ONLY uses electric power for locomotion, not a gas engine, not rocket boosters, not a hamster wheel. It was recently revealed that the Volt (which graying the line having a combustion engine on board as it is) CAN be driven directly by the gasoline-fueled engine. Prompting people freaking out and giving it a new label of "Plug-in Hybrid"

The biggest problem I have with Hybrids as a whole, plug-in or otherwise is that they actually cause MORE environmental damage than an efficient traditional vehicle its intended to replace. Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear wrote a great article whilst (see what I did there?) reviewing the Honda Insight hybrid about exactly this.
Definitely worth the read                                                                                                                          

link here ->

Here's an excerpt:
The nickel for the battery has to come from somewhere. Canada, usually. It has to be shipped to Japan, not on a sailing boat, I presume. And then it must be converted, not in a tree house, into a battery, and then that battery must be transported, not on an ox cart, to the Insight production plant in Suzuka. And then the finished car has to be shipped, not by Thor Heyerdahl, to Britain, where it can be transported, not by wind, to the home of a man with a beard who thinks he’s doing the world a favour.

Lastly, WHY DIDN'T GM/CHEVROLET/OPEL/ETC FIT THE VOLT WITH A SMALL DIESEL ENGINE?! Constant RPM, high torque loads (Which charging a battery is) is FAR more efficient with a diesel cycled engine.  f they really wanted to, they could have built it tolerant of biofuels and had another environmental angle to tout.

Overall this vehicle I think is a step in the right direction if they're ever going to have widespread adoption of electrically-powered vehicles, there just are far too many little issues with it that prove that GM has learned little from their recent troubles.

Source ->

No comments:

Post a Comment