Yes, you read that right. In a press conference today GM has claimed that the Chevy Volt – when it finally turns up in late 2010 or more likely mid-2011 – will achive mileage equivalent to 230mpg. Some claim. How they’ve worked it out we don’t really know. Perhaps they plucked a figure out of thin air?
The premise is that the vast majority of buyers for the Chevy Volt will do no more than 40 miles a day. Which just happens to be the range that the Volt has. So I suppose they could have worked out the cost of the electricity to fully charge the Volt, converted that in to the cost of petrol and come to the conclusion that it does 230mpg.
Which is of course pretty disingenuous. For starters, they should be working out what energy it takes to move the Volt the 40 miles and then compare that to the petrol energy equivalent. Because the equation is otherwise fatally flawed. Even in the US petrol taxes are much higher than electricity taxes. And you can bet your Grannies Bloomers that if people start piling in to electric cars Governments around the world will slap on some big taxes.
I think it’s fair to say that 230mpg is a relative figure you’ll never see anywhere other than on paper. But it will be economical at first in comparison to a conventionally fuelled car. But I say again – for the umpteenth time – how is this any ‘Greener’ than a conventional engine? The comparable cost in carbon for a very prosaic electric car in Europe is as much as 100g/km. It’s all a nonsense unless we find alternative ways to generate electricity.
Still, it’s GM’s ‘Great White Hope’, the Chevy Volt. Let’s hope it’s a winner.