Volt Birth Watch 154: 230 MPG EPA Rating?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Folks are a bit confused by these mysterious ads. The giveaway is the music, which reveals the spot to be part of the Volt campaign, but what is 230? It would seem that 230 could well be the Volt’s EPA MPG rating, a number which will be useful only to GM’s relentless hype campaign. After all, no single portion of the EPA test cycle is longer than 11 miles, meaning EREVs get their own testing method (summarized after the jump). But as Ad Age puts it, “why run a teaser campaign for a car that doesn’t go on sale until next year — and one that’s been known about for some time? After all, the marketer has been beating the drum for the car for more than a year.” Because that’s the Volt Way. Meanwhile, 230 MPG? Really?

Last we checked in with the Volt’s EPA MPG vision quest, GM was basically negotiating with the EPA for a 100mpg plus rating. Last September Bloomberg reported that,

obtaining a 100-mpg rating will require the EPA to develop a new way of measuring fuel efficiency for a car that’s likely to rely more heavily on electric than internal-combustion power, according to GM’s Posawatz. The automaker promised to share mileage data captured from the Volt’s onboard computers to verify real-world performance if EPA will grant the certification now, he said.

GM-volt.com‘s Lyle Dennis thinks he knows how the Volt will crack 230 MPG

Mike Duoba from Argonne National Lab devised a method to determine the MPG of an EREV; first the car is driven from a full battery until it reaches charge-sustaining mode, then one more cycle is driven. If we use the highway schedule, the first 40 miles are electric. One more cycle is 11 more miles. If the Volt gets 50 MPG in charge sustaining mode, it will use .22 gallons of gas for that 11 miles. Thus 51 miles/.22 gallons = 231.8 MPG.

What happened to 30 MPG in charge-sustaining mode? Is the 230 just a reference to the charging voltage rather than some concocted MPG equivalent? Expect more questions than answers at GM’s press conference on the 230 phenomenon tomorrow.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

More by Edward Niedermeyer

Join the conversation
2 of 29 comments
  • Richard Chen Richard Chen on Aug 11, 2009

    Yes, it does stand for EPA 230mpg city cycle, on EV alone. Not surprising given the Tesla Roadster gets ~240mpg that way.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Aug 11, 2009
    Oh, and let’s say we have the Chevy Volt at 40 miles to empty (or what they consider empty) and the same Ah rating on the batteries (they claim it’ll actually be more efficient): 1.60MPA * 40 gives us a battery pack with 64Ah. Dave Jay: While I like your approach (are you an engineer?), I don't think it will catch on because the typical consumer's eye's will glaze over trying to process anything unfamiliar to them, like this new fangled electricity thing. Second, your math above is incorrect. You wolud divide the range in miles, by the Miles PER Amp-hour to get the size of the battery pack, resulting in an effective battery pack size of 25 Ah (the battery pack doesn't operate to full discharge, so its actual capacity will be greater). Second, I too am tired of GM's marketing approach of hypig a vehicle years before its release. I could see them beginning to hype the Volt now, but this began, what 2 years ago?
  • Lou_BC While we discuss Chinese cars, Chinese politics, and Chinese global desires, I'm looking at TTAC and Google display advertising for Chinese tires. They have nukes aimed at us but their money and products are acceptable to consumers and business?
  • TheTireWhisperer And a thankful Memorial day to all.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Take some time today to realize that virtually zero soldiers had died defending your border.
  • Tassos As somebody who is NOT a stupid fanatic about EVs one way or the other:No manufacturer has built a "Better Tesla" EV yet. Most have tried, we wait for TOyota only (last hope for the Tesla haters)UNLESS a DIRT CHEAP Model 2 comes along (will never happen in the next 2 or 3 years), Do NOT expect that 7% to go to even 10%, let alone the ... 30% clueless Idiot Joe Biden voters expect. If anything, PLUG INS and HYBRIDS may, in the SHORT term, bring the 7% down.
  • Pig_Iron 💝