Will it or won't it? That's the big question for GM right now as they contemplate the ratings from the EPA. If the EPA treated the Volt like a hybrid car, the Chevy vehicle would most likely receive a rating somewhere in the high 40's.
But, under new rules GM hopes the EPA will stick with, the Volt mpg rating could land it somewhere between 120 and 200 mpg!
To say GM hopes for the latter would be an understatement.
"It's a huge milestone to beat 100 mpg. It's bragging rights," said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. "To many people, GM is just about gas-guzzling SUVs. They never get credit for fuel economy. If Toyota were doing the Volt, they would be having parades and waving flags."It's a tricky situation, though.
If the EPA were to treat the Volt like a hybrid, it would want the battery pack to be fully recharged before ending its tests. Since GM wants the EPA to assume the customer would normally plug the car back in to recharge the battery, that seems wrong to them.
And I have to agree with GM. Although there will be times when you can't plug your car back in overnight and you will need to rely more fully on the gas engine, in most cases customers will find some way to plug the Volt to recharge the batteries overnight.
But at the same time, I hope the EPA does give you a rating for when that isn't possible. I want to know what the fuel economy is going to be like (your results may vary!) when I can't plug it in. That's good information to have.
But GM wants the Volt to be classified as an electric vehicle. It's not, though. It is partially electric. If it was fully electric, we wouldn't need to discuss the fuel economy rating.
No, the EPA needs to come up with a new classification and just treat the Volt, and the upcoming slew of new plug-ins differently. And customers have to start thinking about them differently, too. How far can the car travel on all-electric power? What is the fuel economy going to look like after that? Will the gas engine come on for other reasons before the all electric range is used up?
See the blog post from Tesla founder on how the ESS coolant is taking a lot of the battery power, whether the car is running or not! When you buy a new type of car, you need to know different things (link goes to NY Times complaining about the plug-in Ford Escape test vehicle keeping it's gas engine on throughout the test drive). And if there's one thing all parties can agree to, this is a new type of car.