Volt Birth Watch 63: 360 Gas-Only Miles. Maybe.
Jim Majeta at Kicking Tires reports a change in GM's upcoming hybrid electric – gas hybrid Chevrolet Volt's fuel tank size. The 12-gallon tank with a 600-mile projected range is no more. GM's not saying by how much they're shrinking the tank, but the new projected range is 360 petrochemical miles. As that's just over half the previous gas-only range, a straight division yields a 7.2-gallon tank. Per the article, "GM says because most cars [will in theory] travel 40 miles or less each day, there was really no need to have a 12-gallon fuel tank – and the added weight – to extend the range by 600 miles." Translation: "We have problems meeting weight and packaging requirements, big time. Besides, the only range we have to beat is the Tesla Roadster's." Speaking of another manufacturer suffering from premature specification…
@Busbodger Let's hope the GM skunkworks keeps whittling away at the VOLT, until they have something that really optimizes weight/power/handling. I would actually buy something that looked like the Saab 9x concept, and which ran on the VOLT principle. I'd be elbowing my way to the front of the line. But an oversized, too heavy, "make it look like a regular car" version is not for me.
I'm just back from a trip in our Rav4. it got 29.5mpg, overall (with a few legs doing noticeably better). Trip distance was just shy of 3600 miles and we refueled 14 times, including the final fillup at home today. The nominal range of the vehicle (probably including what's in the neck) is about 450 miles. On a number of occasions, when we stopped, fueling wasn't convenient or seemed expensive and got skipped. 5 of our fillups were at 340-plus miles. All of those were slightly nerve-wracking. One fillup went to 13.3 gallons. One shorter-range fillup was driven by poor fuel economy related to weather . We should have been able to get to our overnight but shoving aside all that rain killed our fuel economy. It would probably help if our fuel gauge was more accurate. It's too pessimistic. When it dropped below E, we actually have almost 3 gallons left but lack the confidence to use it. Of the fillups at 340+, we could, convniently, have gone longer, but fuel was the principal consideration in stopping. A couple times we refueled when it wasn't really necessary so we could stretch the next leg of the trip, if we wanted. So, yeah, I consider sub-300 mile range to be too short. This won't be huge but it will be a factor for people.