Popular Mechanics has just published the results of the first extended test of the Volt, covering 900 miles. The results are spectacularly unimpressive: Three different drivers drove the Volt on three successive days, starting with a full charge. The EV ranges were 31, 35 and 33 miles, for an average of 33 miles. Normal driving styles were employed. That’s well below GM’s endlessly proclaimed 40+ mile range, but not exactly terrible. We’ll save that word for the fuel economy numbers:
PM was able to measure fuel economy in the CS (charge sustaining mode) after the battery was fully depleted. In the city, the average was 31.67 mpg. On the highway, 38.15 mpg. That averages to about 35 mpg! And on premium fuel, which GM deemed necessary to try to optimize the efficiency of the gas engine. Adjusting for the higher cost of premium, that works out to an equivalent of 32 mpg on regular fuel. The Prius gets 50 mpg on regular, and many tests of the new Hyundai Sonata are coming in at 35 mpg on the highway. The new Cruze is to get 40 mpg. What happened to GM’s claims of 50 mpg for the Volt?
So what about the combined mileage, factoring in the EV range? PM’s number are 37.5 mpg city and 38.15 mpg highway.
Here’s PM’s bottom line:
As for the rather unremarkable fuel economy, it’s useful to remember that the Volt carries two powertrains—electric and gas—and thus suffers a weight penalty that effects overall efficiency. But of course, those two powertrains are why the Volt can be a primary vehicle that doesn’t ask the owner to compromise driving cycles like a pure EV. Consider the Volt a well-engineered first step on the path to electrified vehicles.
Shall we call that a baby step, and a mighty expensive one ($43k with charger) at that?