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Volt receives EPA ratings and label: 93 mpg-e all-electric, 37 mpg gas-only, 60 mpg-e combined

24 November 2010

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its fuel economy ratings and accompanying fuel economy label for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle. The dual-fuel vehicle (electricity and gasoline) is rated at 93 miles per gallon-equivalent (combined city/highway) in all-electric mode (36 kWh/100 miles) and 37 mpg US in gas-only mode (2.7 gallons per 100 miles).

Voltlabel
The new fuel economy label for the 2011 Volt. Click to enlarge.

All-electric range under the EPA rating is 35 miles; total range for the car is 379 miles.

The two modes are combined into an illustrative 60 mpg-e combined rating for the vehicle. On a conference call discussing the numbers, Doug Parks, Chevrolet Volt Global Vehicle Line Executive noted that the combined figure will vary widely based on driving patterns. I.e., more electric driving pushes it closer to the 93 mpg-e figure; less pushes it closer to the 37.

In an attempt to convey to consumers the variability of the fuel economy outcome based on miles driven between charges, the EPA also includes a table showing fuel economy and electricity consumed for 5 different scenarios: 30, 45, 60 and 75 miles driven between a full charge, and a never charge scenario.

Under that last scenario (the gas-only scenario), the 37 mpg figure results from 35 mpg city, 40 mpg highway.

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OK so now we can compare the Volt to the Leaf; http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/11/leaf-20101122.html#more

Yes, 93 mpge vs 99 mpge. The difference could be a bit more. Was the Leaf tested at different speeds and terrains and under same load and conditions? Either the Volt is overrated by 5% to 10% or the Leaf is underrated by a similar amount or conditions were not the same.

Let's see what average users will get.

For the Volt EPA assumes the national kWh price is 11 cents and for the Leaf they assume 12 cents per kWh. Why? It is only a day or two after the Leaf got its lable and EPA changed a key economic assumption by almost 10%. Hmm.

Toyota at 50 mpg now is reduced to the third place in the mpg race with the Volt at 60 mpg and the Leaf at 99 mpg. So Toyotas 10 years US mpg leadership is broken and that is making auto history.

I would guess the plug-in prius would get a similar MPGe rating ~95 mpge and then a gas range of ~50mpg which should give a combined number over 70mpg.

It looks like the combined number is based on 60% electric miles, I would think the 40 miles would cover nearer 75% of all miles

Henrik is right. Compared to the Leaf sticker $.12/kW-hr, the Volt electric cost should be listed as $656, not $601. This would be $367 more during the 100,000 mile battery warranty. Maybe getting honest numbers are still like trying to buy an EV-1.

Let's not forget that EPA and GM-Volt are at the same address.

$.12/kW-hr

And with the EPA shutting down new electrical generation as well as adding VERY high costs to existing generation we can expect the $.12/kW-hr to double in the near future. Sad how the government's idiotic actions will kill the electric car by making it more expensive to drive than gas and/or diesel.

These stickers don't work for electric cars. There are too many variables and characteristic differences between the two types of engines that do not match. For example; cold dense air increases power in an ICE; but, slows down electron flow in a BEV. Electric cars should be defined by their highway range at a steady speed and temperature; then by the city cycle at an even temperature. Then the test should show the results at a standard high temp and a standard low temp. For hybrids both modes should be separately tested and displayed.

Energy is energy, so account for "well to wheels" and we will all be on a more honest basis.

Why are they assuming a full charge takes 10.9 kWh in the first instance, but then 12.9 kWh if you switch the gasoline engine on? That doesn't make any sense.

clett: the car's electric-only range is about 38 miles. The table shows that driving 30 miles uses 10.9 kWh of the battery's 12.9 kWh maximum capacity. 45 miles uses up the full battery capacity and also some gas.

My household now pays $0.12 per kWh for 100% wind power from Green Mountain. It is highly unlikely that the US average price for clean power will ever get anywhere near 2X that, except for inflation.

I get my green electricity from Bullfrog Power, they only add 2 cents per kWh to my BC Hydro bill.

RS: Yes $0.12/Kwh is the current going price for wind produced electricity. Our current Hydro produced power rate is about half that much. Future wind/solar power price could drop by 25% and more with larger much efficient plants. Lower cost Energy storage remains to be solved. Combining Hydro with Wind and/or Solar has one of the best potential. Hydro water reservoirs are excellent for surplus energy storage, specially where you can use ALL the energy produced by solar/wind and use Hydro as back-up and for peak demands. By nature, hydro plants can be turned on-off or production can be reduced-increased on demand without energy loss.

Hydro people don't like to be tied with Wind/Solar power plants because they can and will become second violin and have to play a back-up or secondary role. However, when your Hydro plants are used as back-up + for peak demands, they could be over-equipped by another 100% (with more water turbines) for added flexibility and to be able to meet higher short duration peak demands.

Harmonizing those 3 different clean power sources is important to maximize wind/solar energy capture/usage without the use of expensive storage devices.

@RS, ah OK I see.

Incidentally, the battery uses a maximum range of 65% SOC, which is 10.4 kWh. Users are reporting it takes about 12 kWh from the wall (including charging losses) to fill the battery from empty to full, so they must be reporting this.

@ Harvey:

Here is a real world Volt driver's log (35M daily commute):

"I have now driven the Volt 817.8 miles using 5.27 gallons of gas. 622.5 of those miles have been all-electric, and the total fuel economy thus far is 155 MPG. One day in these two weeks I had to drive more than 100 miles, which would have made a pure electric car unusable.

Nearly all of those miles have been at vigorous highway speeds, and temperatures at or below 40 degrees with a 72 degree cabin temperature. I have not babied or hyerpmiled the car and almost always are either using the handsfree phone or cranking music."

Lyle Denny, MD New York City

I believe you. Depending on percentage of e-miles vs ICE-miles, you could get very high mpg with a Volt or similar PHEV. Also agree with you that current affordable BEVs are not highway ready with their limited 100 miles range. PHEVs will be king of the road for the next 5 to 10 years or until such time as battery energy density is 2x to 4x today's and their cost is down 3x or so. We could have 20+ PHEVs from 10+ manufacturers by 2015.

Affordable highway BEVs could be around sometime between 2015 and 2020.

Heat energy is not the same as energy from the wind or water turbines. There is a large loss when fuel is burned to create mechanical or electrical energy.

Whilst a gallon of gasoline(petrol)will provide as much energy as 36.6 kWh sent to a resistor in a boiler, there is no way to use an engine or even a fuel cell to produce 36.6 kWh from a gallon of gasoline, and most automobile engines will not even produce 9 kWh of mechanical work from a gallon of gasoline or diesel. By the use of a heatpump, the electricity could put 100 kWh or more(or less) of heat into a boiler depending on the outside temperature.(see ECOCUTE)

A modified Prius was said to get a mile out of 200 watt hours or less as did the WrightSpeed. The Volt is very wasteful and far too elaborate and expensive. ..HG..

Yes, recent ultra quiet inverter type heat pumps, with COP 4.0 to 6.0, can multiply energy efficiency for heating and cooling. Could also be very effective to keep an e-vehicle (car-truck-bus) cabin at a comfortable level. It certainly does a great job for residences. Ours cut heating/cooling cost by up to 50%. Similar units are coming to the market for hot water. Eventually, a similar combined Hot Water/Heating/Cooling unit could reduce household energy consumption by up to 50%.

Improved vehicle and residence HVAC could greatly reduce USA's energy consumption, oil imports and the need for more coal burning power plants.

And THAT is the goal Harvey! Along with the economic and security benefits of distributed energy. Not to mention that as residences adopt CCHP systems and move further off-grid - we will see the cataclysm of overhead and buried electrical cables disappear. The maintenance and even aesthetic benefits of this are enormous.

Forcing electrons down long stretches of atomically unaligned metal wire is an unkempt way of transmitting energy.

The new era of energy independence will mirror the freedom from "ice delivery" when refrigerators replaced ice boxes. While the iceman was slowly retired - new manufacturers and service entities built and maintained increasingly efficient home appliances.

The grid utilities can then focus on efficient transmission of renewable electricity to large customers and - if they have vision - earn a healthy market share from distribution.

Home energy systems are the new category of appliance established and startup manufacturers can look forward to profiting from.

Reel$$....Our very low cost electricity (average below $0.02/Kwh to produce) is almost 100% Hydro. Hydro plants are distributed over a very large territory and electricity has to be transported for up to 1000+ Km with very high voltage (735 KV) lines. Secondly, our best winds are also located along the Labrador and Hudson Bay shores (nearby large Hydro plants). Nobody can produce clean Sun/Wind energy locally at such low prices.

To compete with large hydro plants, solar cells and associated control/storage systems would have to drop to 1/10 current price. That will not happen soon.

Governments currently get huge dividends (50%+ of NET profits) and sale taxes (14% of total sales) from hydro produced electricity. Those yearly $$B revenues would have to come from other places if electricity is produced domestically.

If governments make profits, the people pay lower taxes.

If the government makes A profit, the government spends much, nuch more and the people should prepare for huge debt and then more taxes.

Excellent points Harvey. Worthy of discussion re local vs. distant economies. Most green movements embrace the concept "Think global, act local." Applying this to energy we come to know distant energy is expensive energy.

Capturing and transmitting Hudson Bay wind energy to central Provinces MAY appear economical in the near term. But cost of building, installing and maintaining wind turbines along with the wildly variable energy production - is long term expensive.

As we come to understand ubiquitous energy in our universe we will discover new ways of unlocking energy all around us. Locally produced goods, including energy, support local economies with jobs, cash circulation, and even TAXES.

Replacing big, centralized entities with small, local modules is an evolutionary principle. We see it in swarm technology, parallel processes, distributed energy, etc. Ice boxes worked well until refrigeration obviated ice import and delivery.

The same will happen with energy.

The world will progressively be more electrified. In a few decades the use of fossil-agro-bio fuels will be going down.

Converting and storing sustainable (abundant) solar energy (locally) will make sense when solar panel installed price drop to below $1/Kwh and storage units installed price drop below $100/Kwh. That may not happen for another 2 or 3 decades.

Meanwhile, large centralized hydro-nuclear-wind-solar-Ng-Coal power plants will supply the major part of the e-energy we consume.

Learning to use e-energy more efficiently is one of the most effective lower cost solution. The majority could save enough energy to operate one or two BEVs.

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