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California ARB Certifies Chevrolet Volt as ULEV

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has certified the Chevrolet Volt as meeting California LEV-II ULEV (EPA Bin 4) emissions standards. For bi-, dual- or flex-fueled vehicles, the certification is based on the results testing with gasoline fuel—i.e, in this case, when the Volt’s range-extending engine is operating.

Under California’s LEV-II, there are three sets of increasingly more stringent emission standards: LEV, ULEV, and SULEV. PZEV (partial zero emission vehicle) has the same test emission levels as SULEV, but also includes additional evaporative emissions control and a 150,000 mile/15 year emission durability requirement.

ULEV standard is highlighted in yellow. Source: ARB. Click to enlarge.

Based on the certification, it appears that the Volt met or exceeded SULEV requirements in most areas, with the notable exception of CO. Volt was certified to 1.3 g CO/mi. ULEV standard is 2.1 g/mi; SULEV requirement is 1.0 g/mi. The CO levels might be related to engine cold starts; GCC has asked GM for comment.

Tony Posawatz, the Vehicle Line Director for the Chevrolet Volt, had earlier said that an AT-PZEV package for the Volt would be coming, following its market introduction.

Volt emissions. STD=ULEV standard, CERT=certification for the vehicle. Source: ARB. Click to enlarge.

(A hat-tip to Dennis!)



What? It's not a ZEV?
But all the Volt lovers so adamantly support the fact that 40 miles are ZEV!
Apparently even when you drive electric, the Volt still leaks gas fumes. Otherwise wouldn't it qualify for PZEV (like Subarus do)?
Oh well, I guess that's the next model.


This ratings structure is inaccurate and confusing for consumers. Many Volt owners will buy the vehicle specifically because they commute LESS THAN 40 MILES per day. As do 80% of North Americans.

These owners intend to use the vehicle in EV mode 80-90% of the time. Thus Volt functions as a zero emission vehicle (excepting tank evaporation.) Only the Tesla Roadster qualifies for highway ZEV at the moment. CARB needs to amend these ratings to differentiate EV modes from combined EV/HEV modes.

Another regulatory agency making itself obsolete?

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