Production of Chevy Volt “integration models” began last week, as Hamtramck tools up for final production of GM’s wundercar, but GM still isn’t saying anything about the car’s two most important features: the pricetag and EPA rating. The General has hemmed and hawed on the Volt’s price over the last several years of hype, but it hasn’t ever been shy about touting an “expected” 230 MPG rating. Because apparently it’s the EPA’s job to clear up GM’s misleading marketing claims. So what is the deal with that 230 MPG number, anyway?
Inside Line reports the latest on “negotiations” between GM and the EPA over the Volt’s testing paradigm and eventual MPG number.
“The 230 mpg number talked about a few months ago was based on some preliminary discussion with the EPA,” said Andrew Farah, the vehicle chief engineer on the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera, when asked if the number is still relevant. “Those conversations have been continuing and have not yet come to a conclusion.”
After the media conference call, Inside Line asked Rob Peterson, GM’s Volt spokesman, if the Volt’s fuel economy is still up in the air.
“I couldn’t have said it any better,” he replied.
“The discussion continues to go on between the EPA and GM,” Peterson said. “[We’re] working together to come up with a number that works best for the consumer.”
Now, try to imagine the case for the 230 MPG number being a good thing for consumers. Sure, miles-per-gallon is the standard measure, but the idea that consumers will ever be able to drive 230 miles on one gallon of gasoline is simply laughable. But the Volt project has always started with a big eco-marketing number (it started with “40 miles without burning a single drop of gasoline”) with the car being built to suit. So, will the EPA stick to its guns? One thing is for certain: if the Volt goes on sale with a 230 MPG window sticker, the Government Motors conspiracy theorists are going to have a freaking field day. Especially considering that the Volt’s rating appears to come down to “negotiations” between GM and the EPA.
UPDATE: The Detroit News paraphrases Chief Engineer Andrew Farah as saying that “road testing shows the Volt is meeting its targets, including achieving a 40-mile range on batteries alone and the goal of 50 miles per gallon when the range-extending gasoline engine kicks in.”