On a Webcast Tuesday morning, GM President and CEO Fritz Henderson announced that the upcoming Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle is expected to achieve at least 230 mpg in the city.
“Are we overpromising?” Henderson said in response to a question from a skeptical reporter in the audience. “No. That’s what the customer will see in the city.”
At the moment, GM is unable to give an accurate highway fuel economy estimate, but rest assured, “it will be triple digit…But we don’t have it yet,” said Henderson.
This means that the Volt will be the first mass-produced vehicle to claim a combined fuel-economy rating of more than 100 mpg. And as it looks now, using EPA methodology, GM says the Volt will “consume as little as 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles in city driving.”
For all us layman out there, that means that it will cost the average consumer in Detroit “40 cents for a full charge” after recharging the Volt overnight.
GM has already begun pre-production of the Volt since June, producing 10 units per week for testing and development. Already, though, engineers have begun tweaking the platform for future Generation 2 and 3 models, with the primary aim of bringing the cost down from the estimated $40,000 sticker price for the 2011 Volt.
Henderson also charted the course of future models when he commented that GM plans to shun diesel technology in favor of electrics and hybrids.
“We’re putting our bets in the U.S. on electrics and hybrids,” he said. “Electric does diversify away from petroleum.”
GM provided more details on the Volt’s modes of operation, and for your convenience, we’ve included the tasty tid-bits you may actually care about here:
The Chevrolet Volt uses grid electricity as its primary source of energy to propel the car. There are two modes of operation: Electric and Extended-Range. In electric mode, the Volt will not use gasoline or produce tailpipe emissions when driving. During this primary mode of operation, the Volt is powered by electrical energy stored in its 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
When the battery reaches a minimum state of charge, the Volt automatically switches to Extended-Range mode. In this secondary mode of operation, an engine-generator produces electricity to power the vehicle. The energy stored in the battery supplements the engine-generator when additional power is needed during heavy accelerations or on steep inclines.
“The 230 city mpg number is a great indication of the capabilities of the Volt’s electric propulsion system and its ability to displace gasoline,” said Frank Weber, global vehicle line executive for the Volt. “Actual testing with production vehicles will occur next year closer to vehicle launch. However, we are very encouraged by this development, and we also think that it is important to continue to share our findings in real time, as we have with other aspects of the Volt’s development.”
Now, it’s no secret that the Volt is still miles away from being production ready, and certain little everyday details haven’t been worked out yet, such as providing a way for owners who don’t own a garage and intend to park their cars out on the street a way to charge their vehicles. Henderson assured the press that innovation is coming.
We’re thinking extra-long extension cords, electrified to keep somebody from siphoning your ‘tricity.
Regardless of brand loyalty, GM is part of the American Soul, and their success is integral to the longevity of every domestic automaker. And we have our finger’s crossed that come next year, the Volt will be everything we’ve all hyped it to be.