We’re only a few months away from the release of the Chevy Volt, the first American-built 100% electric car to hit the market.
It’s going into production in America, and has been in the news recently for a couple of developments that caught our eye here at the site.
The All-Important Formula
The main issue is something that’s going to seriously affect the Volt’s advertising, and that’s the ability to tell potential customers how many miles-per-gallon they can expect to get with a Volt’s charge.
Right now, you can expect about 40 miles if you drive the car entirely in “EV Mode”, or completely electric mode. That’s not really a lot, but fine for short city trips.
But the real issue is how many miles you can expect to drive when using the volt in its hybrid mode, which is where the engine generator recharges the batteries to allow the car to operate. Chevrolet has been talking about going for over 300 miles, which would work out to a rate of 230 miles-per-gallon.
230. The average for a normal car is around 30.
The EPA Has Some Issues
Unfortunately for Chevrolet, the Environmental Protection Agency, who get to determine the formulas that auto companies use for judging these things, has decided that this 230 MPG number is a little bit flawed.
Chevrolet has been working off a “beta” formula that hasn’t exactly been finalized.
Why These Formulas Matter
Besides giving companies a huge advantage in sales when they can advertise an MPG that is so far beyond what a standard car can provide, the other issue is credits. The better mileage a car gets, the more state and federal incentives there are on offer for customers, which can drastically bring down the price of these vehicles. This is real, bottom-line stuff here.
When you get a car with such a radically high MPG rating, it can activate rebates that are really high. Although it’s definitely in the government’s interest to be spending money on getting people to buy electric and hybrid vehicles, it’s also in their interest to make sure those vehicles have accurate ratings in order to allow accurate credits and rebates to be applied.
That’s what’s happening here.
The Other News
The one other big piece of news is a little on the light side – President Obama was recently in Michigan in order to check out the plant of Compact Power, who are affiliated with LG Chem, who are making the batteries for the Volt.
While he was there, Obama got behind the wheel of one of the new cars.
Nothing much in its own right, and just a standard presidential visit to a plant, but it’s something notable for the hybrid push. Although the climate change bill is probably going to get pushed back to a hectic fight at the end of the summer, the fact that the nation’s president is sitting behind a wheel of the first American electric car to eventually be hitting the market has to be good for something, right?