More Chevy Volt – Questioning the 230 MPG Claim

Chevy Volt

Chevy Volt

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
real or bogus?

real or bogus?

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.

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