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Initial 2011 Chevrolet Volt Tests are Very Uninspiring.

Posted in Chevrolet, EcoLust, Economy Cars, Electric Cars, Electric Vehicles, Electronics, Emissions, Engines, Environment, GM by MrAngry | October 11th, 2010 | 4 Responses |

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Remember when GM said that the new 2011 Chevrolet Volt was going to get 40 miles on its initial charge before switching over to its range-extender gas engine? We do too, but according to a recent report published by Popular Mechanics, that’s simply not happening. Apparently in everyday driving conditions the Volt only averaged about 33 miles before ole’ Mr. Fossil Fuel burner kicked in. These numbers were compiled over a range of 900 miles with drivers piloting the Volt under what are considered to be daily driving conditions. Now 33 miles on a charge isn’t super terrible, but GM basically beat us to death with that 40 mile initial charge stat. Understand also that when you run out of juice on that electric motor, that the gas engine is going to require premium fuel every time you fill it up.

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Popular Mechanics ran the numbers and determined that between the crappy electric mileage of 33 miles per charge and the 38.15 mpg that the gas engine produced, that the total average worked out to a combined mileage of 37.5 mpg city and 38.15 mpg highway. Is this what we’ve all been waiting for? Hell, my old 2006 4-banger Honda Accord got 34 mpg on regular fuel and only cost me $20k new. This is compared to over $40k for the Volt when you add in the charging system. I don’t know about you but if this is GM’s idea of progress then we’re all in a heck of a lot of trouble.

Source: Popular Mechanics via The Truth About Cars

37.5 mpg city and 38.15 mpg highway.

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4 Responses

  1. Mark Smith says:

    Hmmm…That math doesn’t seem to add up. If you are getting the first 33 miles “free”, how can you end up with MPG’s LESS than the efficiency of the gas engine? Regardless, we have to remember that the original design goal here was 60 miles on a charge, not the 40 that they “delivered” and almost double the 33 “actual”. Not good.

    If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like comments on the following as well:


    I’m not terribly surprised that it happened, but it seems like a MAJOR departure from the original design spec.

  2. Mark Smith says:

    Ahhh…got it. I think you paraphrased the “Truth about Cars” article which misstated the Popular Mechanics article. The “Gas Engine” mode (all mileage after the initial charge was depleted) was 31.67 mpg city and 36.0 mpg highway. That makes more sense.

    So, let’s take my average commute 29 miles one way) and throw in an extra 5 city miles a day of errands and lunch. Of my commute, all but 4 miles is highway. We will not consider that I live in a very hilly area but will take the PM numbers verbatim. We will assume that I start with a full tank charge at the beginning of the day. So, my profile will be 1 mile to the highway, 25 miles to my offramp, 3 miles to work, 2 miles for lunch, 3 miles back to the highway, 25 miles of highway, and then 4 city miles. The gas engine should come on a mile short of the highway when heading home so I’ll have 5 city miles (0.16 gal used) and 25 highway miles (.69 miles used) for a total of 63 miles in .85 gal or 74.12 mpg on an average day. Not half bad, EXCEPT:

    My old Honda Insight averaged 68 mpg for that same commute.

    My Toyota Prius averages 53 mpg for that same commute.

    The “advertised” range of 40mpg bumps the mileage to 95 mpg.

    GM’s initial estimate was “over 100 mpg”.

    Only an American Car Company can turn a success story into a disappointment.

  3. MrAngry says:

    Mark… you hit the nail on the head and whose better than you for clarifying everything I said for everyone else. Bravo!

    I have a question for you though. You obviously own a Toyota Prius and for the commute you describe it seems totally warranted. Is it your only car though and if so do you honestly enjoy driving it? I ask because I’m not a huge fan of hybrids, but I also don’t have to do a daily commute like you. Is a car like Honda’s new CR-Z something that interests you from a somewhat “sportier” perspective than your Prius or does the Prius fullfill all of your automotive needs.

    I’m actually quite curious.

  4. Mark Smith says:

    Well, Kurt knows that I’d rather be driving a Porsche and screw the mileage. That purchased was…vetoed…

    We have 2 cars. The other one is a RX-350. Would I rather be driving something else? Yep. The Prius was a good purchase at the time I got it to complement the mini-van we had at the time. I needed something with enough room to stick teenagers in the back (the Insight was just impractical for our situation) and it was nice to have a car large enough to stick my telescope equipment into.

    What will my next car be? I couldn’t tell you. It will be a couple of years, but I can see myself going either sportier (finally get my Porsche), geekier (I’ll have to admit that the Tesla Sedan that is in development may fit that bill), or both (Tesla Roaster or similar). I don’t see myself in another Prius.

    Interestingly, I actually enjoyed driving the Insight. Don’t laugh too hard, it was a bit scary around trucks and in windy conditions, but it handled decently and held corners pretty well and anything with a Manual automatically bumps up the fun in my book. The Prius was about 3 steps down in the “Fun” category (although I’ve found that it handles better in snow and ice than anything I’ve ever had except for a Volkswagon Bug and 4wd vehicles).