GM announced today that it expects the Volt to receive the first-ever triple-digit EPA rating (including 230 city MPG). GM’s John Lauckner goes into a little more detail at a Fastlane livechat:
Guest: Can you please explain the 230 mpg rating. I must say I balked at your gamble on EREV instead of full hybrid like toyota, but this validates your gamble.
Jon Lauckner: Yes, having a vehicle that achieves triple digit fuel economy is a game changer. The 230 mpg refers to the city fuel economy, but we also expect to have a triple digit combined fuel economy value. These preliminary numbers are based on Volt development testing with our pre-production vehicles and the draft federal fuel economy methodology developed by EPA for EREV vehicles like the Volt.
But, as usual, everything is not what it seems . . .
In fact, even Lauckner seems to admit that the whole 230 MPG hype campaign is a smokescreen. A comment further into the livechat seems to reveal that actual EPA testing may invalidate GM’s day-one Volt slogan of 40 miles without a drop of gasoline. Surprised?
Statik: The EPA rated the Volt at 25 kilowatt hours/100 miles electrical efficiency in city cycle. Does that not now mean with the Volt (which uses approximately 8 kWh of power) the AER in the city is officially 32 miles?
Jon Lauckner: We are still confident that we will deliver 40 miles of autonomous electric range (AER) on both the official EPA city and highway tests, so no change there. The EPA draft methodology reduces the laboratory result take into account a number of factors such as the use of air-conditioning, more passengers in the vehicle, cargo, etc. So, that’s the difference between the “up to 40 miles” that we stated for some time (based on EPA city and highway) and the methodology used by EPA. And, nothing is final until we run an official test which won’t happen for several months.
And with that, Lauckner sweeps aside the curtain of illusion. Testing is not official, nor does it take passengers or air conditioning into account. And when official testing takes place the Volt’s “up to 40 miles” raison d’être could fall.