CNET recently featured an overview of a new online car cost calculator. The calculator has a limited list of cars you can select from so you can pick two vehicles and adjust things like miles driven per year, cost of fuel, and planned years of ownership. Then it runs an analysis of the lifetime cost of ownership, lifetime cost of fuel, barrels of oil consumed, and emissions produced. This is a great tool if you are considering purchasing a hybrid or holding off a purchase waiting on a full electric vehicle purchase.
Where exactly does that 230 MPG rating come from? Based on an article over at Popular Mechanics it sounds like it is completely arbitrary and bogus to me. There are a few things to understand first – the Chevy Volt has a battery pack that can get the car 40 miles on battery alone. It also has a small gas engine that gets 50 MPG. The battery is only chargeable from an outlet or charging station – it does not get recharged from the onboard gas engine like a hybrid does. Once the battery pack runs out after 40 miles the car switches over to the gas engine. As for the EPA testing, they test a car for 51 miles and then figure out the average MPG over that 51 miles. This is based on the supposed data that a typical commuter drives their car for less than 51 miles during one day. So the brilliant marketers at Chevy are claiming 0 for the first 40 miles and then only figuring in the 11 miles left to get to 51. Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either. Here is the math for you:
- 40 miles @ 0 MPG = 0 gallons of gas
- 11 miles @ 50 MPG = 0.22 gallons of gas
- 0 + 0.22 = 0.22 gallons of gas to go 51 miles
- 51 / 0.22 = 232 MPG
I don’t know what is funnier – the crazy math here or the fact that they generously rounded down to 230 so they could use that cutesy little outlet for a zero!
The article did indicate that the plugin cars will list a cost per mile for the battery part, but it sounds like it will take a while to get a consistent and level playing field for the numbers so we can properly compare things.
Wow, these cars are a thing of beauty!
Head over to DVICE to get their story. They opened a New York showroom and revealed next year’s car. Still out of the price range for most people, but so great that this technology is getting exposure and it will only help the consumer market eventually.
It looks pretty sweet and 230MPG?! Yes, there is dispute over that number because of the way MPG is calculated when you aren’t really directly consuming “gallons”, but it still should prove economical. Plug it in at night and charge it when electric rates are low and then use it the next day. Note that the press release indicates it will have a range of 40 miles on a full charge, which won’t get you too far. That wouldn’t get me to work and back even. Check back for more news and updates.