GM Special Announcement: The New 2011 Chevy Volt Will Get 230 MPG!
Yes, that’s right folks, during today’s special webcast, GM’s big cheese Fritz Henderson just announced that the new 2011 Chevrolet Volt will be the first car ever to get a triple digit fuel economy rating. After years of putting out vehicles that quickly depleted the world’s supply of oil by the second and spending millions of lobbying dollars influencing Congress to ignore EPA recommendations, GM may finally be getting an attitude adjustment. After all, it’s now 60% owned by the government.
The listed composite fuel economy rating of 230 miles per gallon (mpg) for the Chevy Volt is calculated using both the ‘charge sustaining mode’ when the engine is running and the electric-only ‘EV mode’. But the fuel efficiency rating has only been determined for city driving, while highway mileage is not available yet. That said, Henderson believes that it will be in the triple digits as well.
The EPA has a new methodology for establishing real world usage data for extended range electric vehicles. This is a whole new ball game, requiring time to get it right. Currently, the new EPA stickers being released will have only a composite number, but look for mileage stats in ‘charge sustaining mode’ and electric efficiency in ‘EV mode’ in the near future.
Based on the EPA’s conditional methodology, the Volt will “consume as little as 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles in city driving.” But what that really means for the consumer is that it will cost a driver in Detroit, for example, 40 cents for a full overnight charge.
Pre-production versions of the Volt started coming off the line in June with 10 units completed each week. GM is also looking past this first release to the Gen 2 and Gen 3 versions, with separate teams devoted to each subsequent release. The biggest challenge is bringing down the cost (no price has officially been set). The target for the 2011 Chevy Volt, however, seems to be the $40,000 range.
Some of the peripheral issues have yet to be worked out such as how to charge the vehicle if you don’t have a garage and park on city streets. Will we see plugs popping up along curbs all over America? Doubtful, but Henderson believes that “We will see innovation in that area.” Humm… This will most likely be strategically placed pay-per-use charging stations. And the company is trying to design a power cord that won’t degrade when being run over repeatedly. Why you would repeatedly run over your power cord?
So, with only Cadillac, Chevrolet, Buick (Are you serious?), and GMC left in the General Motors cache, it looks like the company has found a little bit more direction and focus. Henderson has emphatically stated that GM is steering clear of diesel technology and staking its claim on electrics and hybids for passenger vehicles.
GM has a great new marketing campaign for the touted 230 mpg rating they have assigned the Chevy Volt. White numerals 2 and 3 are followed by a 0 that has been turned into a electrical-outlet plug with a smiley face, all over a nice green background. Genius, I tell you! Genius! The only problem here is that the EPA has never actually tested the Volt and this number is simply a GM guestimate. Let’s just hope that whatever the official mileage rating turns out to be it ends in 0 so they can still use that smiley plug in their logo!
Even though the 2011 Chevrolet Volt has about as much styling pizzaz as a box of Raisonettes, the interior is actually pretty rad (did I just say that?) and for once, it actually looks nicely integrated without the use of a bunch of crappy slot boxes of AC Delco electronics. Check out the full gallery below.