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Chevrolet Vault

General Motors Co. said Tuesday that its new Chevrolet Volt electric car is expected to get 230 miles per gallon in city driving. This is a direct quotation. I thought that the Volt was an all-electric car. How could an electric car use any gallons of gas? Is the Volt an all electric car or not. Thank you. abxxx

The Volt is a gas-electric series plug-in hybrid. Runs off batteries until they get low, then gas engine kicks in, turns generator to run electric motors until you get somewhere and plug it in. Google it, lots of info available.

The Volt is an electric car that has a small gas motor that only drives a generator. The only motor(s) that drive the wheels and make the car go are electric motors. When you exceed the 40 miles the Volt can go on a full charge then the gas motor will start up and run to turn the generator to recharge the batteries so the electric motors can drive the wheels.

If someone never drives more than 35 miles and stays below 50 mph it is possible that the gas motor would never run at all. In which case if you buy a Volt should you put fuel stabilizer in the gas? If you very rarely run the gas motor eventually the gas in the tank could get old, and stale.

The Volt will have a small gasoline engine, but it will not drive the car. When the batteries that drive the Volt get low the gasoline engine will power a generator to extend the range of the batteries until they can be fully recharged by plugging the car in.

The formula the EPA will use to calculate fuel mileage on an electric vehicle has not yet been finalized. The 230 mpg city figure is an estimate based on a preliminary formula.

That number is totally bogus. MPG is meaningful only if all the energy is coming from gasoline. In fact you could get infinite mileage if you always ran with the battery, never running the gas engine. What is needed here is a way of converting battery charge to equivalent gallons of gas. Only then will the Volt’s mileage numbers be meaningful.

I believe that 230 number has some conversion for the electricity used.

I agree that the number is bogus. The only way to fairly compare would be to corrolate the cost of the electricity it’ll take to go XXX number of miles vs. the cost of the gas it would take for a comparable gas-powered vehicle to go the same distance.

Even more accurate would be the cost per month to operate vs. the cost per month to operate a similar gas powered vehicle. That would take more variables into account.

Since the gas won’t be getting used quickly, I wonder what will happen when the 10% ethanol starts seperating out and gelling. I wonder of every Volt will come with a free can of starter fluid…

There are some conversions wandering around out there. However since the power curves of electric motors are so dramatically different and the transmission setups are so different I’m suspicious of any formula that doesn’t take these into account. Driving variations would make the numbers all over the place. I don’t think there’s any “standard” yet.

“I wonder what will happen when the 10% ethanol starts seperating out and gelling.”

It seems to me that the fuel would mix just through the motion of the car. Something like when I swirl my gas can before I fill the lawn mower.

It has the same validity as saying raising a manufactures CAFE standard is going to cause X numbers of deaths (because the cars will be lighter and somehow somone was able to say with lighter cars more people will die).

Its just a marketing or rhetorical phrase. Your being manipulated by a advertising campaign.

I don’t think that 230 miles per gallon is all that great. I’m doing better than that with my 1978 Oldsmobile by adopting some old technology. I achieve this mileage because the floor pan rusted through and we put our feet on the pavement and pedal along. This gasoline saving technology was available in pre-historic times and was used by Fred Flintstone.

Yeah, but you’re forgetting to include the food you have to buy and eat to power your feet. Although, if you’re killing and eating dinosaurs and making your own weapons to do that with…


And Pressed Stone Feet are pricy these days…

On a positive note, someone can really save money on bank fees with one of these cars. After all, if you buy a Chevy Vault, why would you need a Safe Deposit Box?


I will concede that driving my Flintstone Conversion Car (FCC) is giving me a “defeetist” attitude.

I will give credit to the phrase “price per mile” to Reilly Brennan,editor in chief of AOL Autos. GM calculates about 3 cents per mile for the Volt (source USA Today Aug 12 2009 section “B”).

I read an interesting article in today" “USA Today” newspaper about this same subject. Apparently this “rating methodology” is one under consideration by eth EPA for hybrids. Another hybrid manufacturer tested their car using teh same methodology and got 367 mpg.

The EPA is apparently realizing that a new system of measuerment is needed. The “cost per mile” is under official consideration. The expectation is that within five years we’ll all be talking in cost per mile rather than miles per gallon.

Hey MB look above you.

That 367 mpgs was for a small pure EV from Nissan, so that must be about what the electricity use gives.

I did. I saw that. Cost (price) per mile as an official government measure goes way, way back to when the feds began allowing mileage deductions on income taxes. EPA is now officially considering that as a comparative measure of fuel use for hybrid and EV vehicles in lieu of miles per gallon. That the term may end up being used for all vehicles, gas or otherwise.

Somehow the feds are going to have to reconcile the issue. EVs and hybrids like the Volt could really skew CAFE numbers.