Saturday, October 30, 2010

How GM generates fabulous gas mileage for the Volt

Soon the vaunted Chevy Volt will be introduced to the market, and so in “celebration” I ask that you read the two paragraphs below by Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute:

“Drive the Chevy Volt more than 30 or so miles and it will be powered by a generator — not a motor — inefficiently powering a 3,500-pound car. No one knows the true fuel economy, but it's not even likely to beat the Prius in real-world driving. That leaves us a long way from 80 mpg.

“The above information about the Volt was what I was told by a GM engineer at the Detroit auto show last January, while sitting in the very car. GM revealed on Oct. 10 that the internal combustion engine indeed will drive the wheels at high speed. This is no breakthrough automobile; on the freeway it is a conventional hybrid.)”

Indeed, regarding the political motivation of facts and figures, GM announced in October 2009 that the Chevy Volt would get an astounding (and disingenuous) 230 mpg. Alas, this hyperbolic mpg rating was borne of politics, based upon a driver consistently driving only 47 miles per day.

This enables the driver to get an imaginary 230 mpg, because he gets his first 40 miles for “free”, and then only uses the internal combustion engine (ICE) for the other 7 miles. So while the 230 mpg figure is perhaps mathematically correct, it represents a huge waste of resources to lug around a 1400 cc ICE for such minimal use.

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