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Chevy Volt Rated At 230 mpg In the City

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the bragging-rights dept.

Power 1006

necro81 writes "General Motors, emerging from bankruptcy, today announced that its upcoming plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Volt, will have an EPA rating of 230 mpg for city driving (about 98 km/L). The unprecedented rating, the first in triple digits, is the result of a new (draft) methodology for calculating the 'gas' mileage for vehicles that operate primarily or extensively on electricity. The Volt, due out late next year, can drive approximately 40 miles on its Li-Ion battery pack, after which a gasoline engine kicks in to provide additional electricity to charge the battery. Running off the gasoline engine yields approximately 50 mpg. Of course, the devil's in the details, because the conversion of grid-based electricity to gasoline-mileage is imprecise." Now we know the meaning of the mysterious "230" viral marketing campaign.

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1006 comments

Vaporware (5, Funny)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027141)

Chevy has been promising the Volt for years now. *IF* it ever does come out, it might be interesting - but by now their marketing campaign seems to be run by Duke Nukem.

Re:Vaporware (5, Informative)

hbean (144582) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027191)

Hardly vaporware. Its in production.

Re:Vaporware (4, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027315)

should be available by 2010 according to this morning news.
I'll be buying one as well.
My RT commute is ~24 miles. I can charge at work. Free gas anyone?

Not having to charge at home means just a little more in my pocket each month. Since this will be replacing no vehicle (I'll keep my truck thankyouverymuch) I doubt it'll pay for its self simply on saved fuel, but maybe it will. I burn ~550 gallons of mid-grade fuel per year just on my commute. At $3/gallon that's $1650/year. Assuming the car lasts 10 years I'll save $16K just on not paying for commute fuel. Any other driving I do with it will still be more efficient than my pickup (at 11Mpg).
-nB

Re:Vaporware (3, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027445)

Assuming the car lasts 10 years I'll save $16K just on not paying for commute fuel.

Factor in battery replacements. Unless GM has also made a lifespan breakthrough in Li-Ion battery technology, so that you can use the same battery pack for 10 years of harsh all-conditions charging and discharging.

Still, my daily commute (on the same order as yours) would also be mostly on-battery. This would save a lot of gasoline.

Re:Vaporware (4, Insightful)

hbean (144582) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027663)

You also got to consider the likelihood that as full or majority electric power cars start to become popular, you're going to see governments at the state, local and federal level attempting to make up for lost tax revenues. I'm not sure how they'll manage to differentiate between power for transport and power for home/business use, but if there's one thing that the government is good at it's figuring out new and inventive ways to tax people. Suffice it to say, driving one of these, especially on a short commute, will really save money, as well as the environment, but don't count on power being (as) cheap for long if we see a lot of these types of cars take to the streets.

Re:Vaporware (2, Insightful)

thesolo (131008) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027723)

And what's to say that electricity prices won't jump up dramatically with people suddenly charging their cars on the grid every day? Also, assuming that a GM car will last for 10 years, particularly a first-generation plug-in hybrid, is a pretty tall order.

Re:Vaporware (4, Insightful)

Delwin (599872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027789)

The same thing that says that if electricity prices go up too much more putting photovoltaic cells on my roof becomes profitable.

Re:Vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027785)

You're ignoring the cost of maintenance on a specialty vehicle. The overall cost of ownership will probably be similar, if not higher. If you've ever owned a laptop you know that your lithium ion batteries are next to useless after two years. Are you going to store your vehicle at 40% charge at a constant 60 degree temperature to extend the service life of your battery?

Re:Vaporware (4, Insightful)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027825)

It's not that my commute is 35 miles -- one-way. It's that four months out of the year the outside temperature averages 30ÂF during my commute. That's currently (no pun intended) the major drawback to a fully electric commute, because I'm certain that running an electric heater to keep warm will kill the car's driving range.

Re:Vaporware (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027331)

Too little, too late. Chevys are pieces of shit anyway. I could kick the bumper off of a Silverado.

GM already had their chance to develop and refine the EV1 back in the day, and they fucked that up royally for various reasons.

Re:Vaporware (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027371)

Where can I buy one today?

It's vaporware until you can drive one off the lot

In the meantime there will be tweaks that may reduce the final results

Anyone who works in software knows to ignore benchmarks of unreleased products.

Re:Vaporware (3, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027485)

It's not vaporware once public betas are available for evaluation. The "vapor" part implies it doesn't exist at all, not that it just hasn't released yet. The beta can reveal a product to be vapor, if the product in the beta doesn't match the features of the pre-beta hype. But that just means the pre-beta hyped product was vapor. The crappy beta product is real.

I think this applies both for software production and for the Chevy Volt.

Re:Vaporware (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027809)

In fairness to GM, they aren't even new to the business of electric vehicles either.

The EV-1 while it had a whole bunch of problems and was ultimately killed by the GM CEO before the corporate takeover by Obama, the experience from the deployment of that vehicle and the engineers involved with its design have been involved with the Volt as well.

Now you might be willing to complain that this is yet another crappy vehicle along similar lines to a company like Microsoft putting out a new version of their operating system. This company certainly has the money, talent, and resources to put out something of value, but the history of the company is enough to at least pause and want to see how it actually works before putting a deposit down on a new vehicle.

The sad thing now is that GM seems to have bet the future of their company on this vehicle, even though it was started as an afterthought based on seeing a prototype of the Tesla Roadster.

Re:Vaporware (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027601)

They are producing IVs (integration vehicles) which are essentially production models. And GM fully commited themselves to 40 miles range.

It's quite unlikely to change.

Re:Vaporware Why isn't that "shocking"? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027787)

I'm sure Chevy's "getting a charge" out of it somewhere downline... What will be the carrying capacity of the rolling electron?

Re:Vaporware (1)

2ms (232331) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027381)

It takes over 5 years to develop a standard model of car that represents an incremental improvement over the previous generation model. The Volt is both a new car model and also incorporates more first-time technology and/or systems applications than probably any other car in history. So what's with the negativity? I'm amazed how quickly they've developed it (opposite of Duke Nukem Forever).

They're excited to bring the most fuel efficient car yet out. I for one commend them for it and hope their marketing is absolutely as successful as possible. If the VOlt is a success then perhaps we might see other car manufacturers start making much more fuel efficient cars too. The last thing we need is big gambles in investment of money and technology toward more efficient vehicles failing to sell as well as they could due to inadequate marketing.

Re:Vaporware (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027507)

They're excited to bring the most fuel efficient car yet out.

I assume when they apply the same new parameters to the Tesla roadster, it will come out at 550 MPG or some similarly useless bullet point.

Re:Vaporware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027575)

Only problem with that statement is, by the time they do get it out, it won't be the most fuel efficient.

The negativity is based on history. It is a learned response.

Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (1, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027163)

I'm supposed to believe that, in 2 years of hybrid development, you've developed a production vehicle that will get almost *5 TIMES* the gas mileage of Toyota's hybrid model (that they've been developing and improving on for over 12 years)?

I'm throwing the Shenanigans flag. No...scratch that...I'm throwing the COMPLETE AND UTTER BULLSHIT flag.

I suspect that, since this is a plug-in, they're "fudging" (more like "outright lying about") the figures by only counting actual gasoline used in day-to-day use. So if a guy drives every day back and forth to work, less than 40 miles, he's only using the plug-in electricity. But the GM exec's aren't counting that electricity he's using, only his actual gasoline used on occasional longer trips, towards the "Miles Per Gallon" rating. I guess GM thinks that people don't pay for their electricity, and that electricity doesn't come from power plants that burn fossil fuels too.

According to GM, I guess if I never go on longer trips, my Volt will be getting infinity miles per gallon.

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (2, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027269)

>I'm throwing the Shenanigans flag. No...scratch that...I'm throwing the COMPLETE AND UTTER BULLSHIT flag.

Have you forgotten who owns GM now? I actually think that claims now make perfect sense... they are just doing as their new bosses have done for decades.

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027271)

But the GM exec's aren't counting that electricity he's using, only his actual gasoline used on occasional longer trips, towards the "Miles Per Gallon" rating. I guess GM thinks that people don't pay for their electricity, and that electricity doesn't come from power plants that burn fossil fuels too.

I honestly don't know, but the summary would suggest otherwise. Specifically:

Of course, the devil's in the details, because the conversion of grid-based electricity to gasoline-mileage is imprecise.

That strongly suggests they ARE accounting for the electricity. The question is, how? Just how "imprecise" is the conversion? I don't doubt that you are right to call BS but unraveling the BS won't be quite as simple as the objection you raised.

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (4, Informative)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027277)

Look at the testing [epa.gov] yourself and see the potential loopholes. There's no reason to guess here. The information is available.

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (4, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027321)

As stated in the summary, that's the EPA's rating, not GM's rating. It comes from the same place as the MPG rating on your car right now. GM didn't calculate it, or come up with it. They are just quoting it.

And yes, it's a plug-in. (That's the point.) And that is for driving using the power from the grid. Power plants are much more efficient than the engines in cars, so I assume that's being worked into that somewhere.

That said: This is the first time the EPA has ever tried to rate a plug-in electric vehicle, and their rating system probably has a few bugs to work out...

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (2, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027535)

>Power plants are much more efficient than the engines in cars,

True... only that assumes we are building more that will be able to supply the expanded demands on the grid.

It's been how long since we've built a new nuclear plant in the US? Coal is being attacked at every turn, solar and wind still being too expensive and too inefficient to meet current demands.

If we see massive purchases of plug-in cars... you are going to be seeing more rolling blackouts and exploding costs of all forms of energy... and not just in California.

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (5, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027609)

That is not an argument to stop building electric cars. That is an argument to start building more powerplants.

Which is a good idea, and another discussion.

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (3, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027551)

As stated in the summary, that's the EPA's rating, not GM's rating.

While I agree with you in your evaluation, keep in mind that detractors can point to the "government" (EPA) and to GM and say they're the same thing.

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (4, Funny)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027347)

According to GM, I guess if I never go on longer trips, my Volt will be getting infinity miles per gallon.

Ahh, only good old GM could make a car that gets 230 mpg when it could be getting infinity mpg!

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (1)

KronosReaver (932860) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027363)

Read the summary much? It clearly explains that the 230MPG is the result of a new method of calculating/converting the electrical consumption to fuel consumption. If your going to bitch about something, at least bitch about something real instead of something you imagined due to being too lazy to even read the summary.

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (1)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027531)

In GP's defense, from TFA:

"Depending upon how you use the Volt, it can get mileage approaching that or much less," Jack Nerad, executive editorial director of Kelley Blue Book, said. "It almost becomes an abstract number. If you are the Volt target guy who is driving under 40 miles per day, then theoretically your miles per gallon is infinite."

I think he read more than you did.

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (5, Informative)

ImOnlySleeping (1135393) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027425)

Nissan said last week that its all-electric vehicle, the Leaf, which comes out in late 2010, would get 367 m.p.g., using the same E.P.A. standards. so don't worry, the volt is already 137 mpg behind the competition

Re:Come on GM, at least make the lie BELIEVABLE (5, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027429)

I'm supposed to believe that, in 2 years of hybrid development, you've developed a production vehicle that will get almost *5 TIMES* the gas mileage of Toyota's hybrid model (that they've been developing and improving on for over 12 years)?

No, you're supposed to read the summary at the very least and understand that it's talking about an EPA-established conversion from electricity usage to equivalent gasoline consumption for EVs. Regardless of the particulars of the method, it's no surprise that this number would be much higher for something running purely off an electric motor vs. the Prius which is using its ICE most of the time even for short trips.

So if a guy drives every day back and forth to work, less than 40 miles, he's only using the plug-in electricity. But the GM exec's aren't counting that electricity he's using, only his actual gasoline used on occasional longer trips, towards the "Miles Per Gallon" rating. I guess GM thinks that people don't pay for their electricity, and that electricity doesn't come from power plants that burn fossil fuels too.

According to GM, I guess if I never go on longer trips, my Volt will be getting infinity miles per gallon.

No, Smartiac, they are counting the electricity you use. The value is only for short trips that solely use electricity. It isn't infinity because they are in fact trying to account for that electricity, but put it in terms of the standard MPG. That conversion metric has a whole host of problems with it, but it isn't ludicrous on its face. EVs are extremely efficient, and power plant electricity generation is extremely efficient compared to the ICEs in automobiles. So whatever reasonable conversion you come up with, that's probably in the ballpark.

The MPG will be much lower for longer trips because there they actually have to burn actual gas. But even that is 50mpg (again using the EPA guidelines which aren't perfect for normal cars either).

Strange, isn't it ? (1)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027179)

The best inventions had to be done in this day and age by a company that saw it's own bankruptcy looming. I hope this 'Phoenix' will prove successful.
On another note: I can choose a new car in 2010, make sure you market it in Europe too, lest I buy a Prius again ;=)

Imprecise conversion (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027205)

Twenty rods to the hog's head, etc.

I'd be interested to see what rating the Prius wil (1)

Wrenzo (783216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027243)

I'd be interested to see what rating the Prius will have.

Re:I'd be interested to see what rating the Prius (3, Insightful)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027311)

The Prius isn't plugin, so it will remain as it was.

Re:I'd be interested to see what rating the Prius (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027579)

I understand they're working on yet another Prius generation, for release around 2011 (either 2011 or 2012 model year) that will use lithium ion batteries instead of nickel metal hydride and will have plug-in support.

By then I assume they'll be able to easily top 230 MPG.

Heat & A/C (4, Insightful)

s31523 (926314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027267)

One of many BIG questions I have: How does this thing provide heating/cooling and what impact does running these systems have on said MPG performance?

Re:Heat & A/C (3, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027477)

The Tesla uses electricity for both. It sounds inefficient, but compared to the power draw for moving the vehicle, it's a drop in the bucket.

Best part is, you'll be able to sit in your Volt in the parking lot and nap with the A/C or the heat running, and yet the engine can be off until it needs to start in order to charge the batteries back up. (which would probably be many hours later if you started with full batteries)

Re:Heat & A/C (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027761)

Have you actually driven a hybrid? They shut off the air to conserve power
and reduce petrol consumption. It can be rather jarring the first time you
experience it for yourself. Cooling takes a considerable amount of energy.
It's not something that you can just conveniently gloss over and ignore.

Re:Heat & A/C (5, Funny)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027623)

How does this thing provide heating/cooling and what impact does running these systems have on said MPG performance?

The answer is two-fold, my boy:

It's air conditioning is wind powered!

The effect on MPG is directly related to which way the wind is blowing.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. I can provide detailed equations like E=mc^2 and c=pi*r^2 if you need them.

MPG is outdated when you are using grid power (5, Insightful)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027283)

How about miles per pound of carbon dioxide emission?

Or, or in addition, miles per PRIMARY unit of energy input?

--PM

Re:MPG is outdated when you are using grid power (2, Interesting)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027379)

Exactly!! Another unit we could use $$ per mile ? Why are we talking about gasoline usage only when this car uses 2 forms of energy ?. I mean, does battery use not mean energy ? I am sure it will increase my power bill If I drive daily to work using just electricity, I wish there were some figures as to how much electricity this consumes so we could do an apples to apples comparison of how much $$$ is consumed per mile .

Re:MPG is outdated when you are using grid power (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027593)

Exactly!! Another unit we could use $$ per mile ?

Now that is actually a useful metric! I like it. Of course it would vary based on the cost of gas, the cost of electricity, and so forth. But hey you could make some reasonable assumptions, apply them country-wide, and you could at least meaningfully compare the values even if you had to adjust them for your local conditions to know how much you're really going to spend.

I mean, does battery use not mean energy ?

No it does, that's why they had to invent some conversion scheme between grid power and gasoline. It involves a lot of assumptions about where your power comes from that may be reasonable for a 'national average' but probably won't apply to your specific case.

Re:MPG is outdated when you are using grid power (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027717)

$$/mile would never ever work; prices of gas and electricity vary way too much by location and time. You need raw unit numbers.

The real problem is reducing it to one or two numbers; you really want more: (gasoline consumption in gallons, electricity consumption in KWh) per mile (city, highway) driving. You probably also want the electricity range in miles, perhaps for both highway and city driving.

Re:MPG is outdated when you are using grid power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027391)

Kilometers (OK, I'll settle for miles) per Megajoule for the win.

Re:MPG is outdated when you are using grid power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027657)

Only if they start selling gasoline and electricity by the megajoule (not a bad idea actually)...

Re:MPG is outdated when you are using grid power (1)

HasselhoffThePaladin (1191269) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027461)

How about miles per pound of carbon dioxide emission?

Because most people don't care about that.

Or, or in addition, miles per PRIMARY unit of energy input?

Because it's a hybrid, using two sources of energy input. Making two efficiency ratings would just confuse people. People want to hear a MPG estimate. It's easy for them. MPG, miles per tank, dollars per gallon: these are the values people care about.

Re:MPG is outdated when you are using grid power (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027529)

An electric vehicle gets miles per kWh. They should simply list both numbers: miles per gallon for the gasoline engine and miles per kWh for the electric engine. (A gallon of diesel is roughly equivalent to 40kWh, so these numbers are comparable.)

Re:MPG is outdated when you are using grid power (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027555)

How about miles per pound of carbon dioxide emission?

Because while I do want to reduce CO2 emissions, I do not want that to be the sole metric. Plus that could have all kinds of side effects, like an engine that somehow stored the CO2 but as a result released 4x that amount of sulfur compounds would be bad. How would you deal with electricity from wind farms? Would you count the carbon cost of making the windmill, and how would you amortize that over all the cars using that power and the number of miles driven? Would you do the same thing with the carbon cost of making the vehicle?

Or, or in addition, miles per PRIMARY unit of energy input?

What, you mean like if you're burning coal to get your electricity, you measure in miles-per-pound-of-coal? That makes things really hard to compare...

Re:MPG is outdated when you are using grid power (0, Flamebait)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027769)

I understand why you want to focus on CO2 emissions, but that's hardly the only bad stuff that comes out of car exhaust.

This is what bothers me about obsessing over the global warming debate. I have no reason to deny that global warming is bad, but it's certainly not our only problem. It's not very responsible to act like pollution is perfectly fine, just so long as it doesn't eject CO2 into the air. Now you may want to argue that CO2 is our biggest problem, and that may even be true. However, it's also possible that there is some other much more serious problem that we simply haven't noticed yet, or even if we have noticed, we may be underestimating the danger it presents.

I remember a few short years ago, we were all freaking out about the ozone layer. Now that's pretty well fixed, and we're all freaking out about CO2. Who knows, maybe in a few years, we'll all be freaking out about something else. I think we should be striving for efficiency of energy use and seeking to make our production and consumption have the lowest possible impact on our environment.

Worst of both worlds (1, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027287)

So, while doing its (realistic, not theoretical) 30 mile run on batteries, it has to lug around a heavy internal combustion engine, and when it switches to its engine, it gets worse mileage than a VW Polo Bluemotion [google.com], while lugging around an expensive pile of useless toxic metal.

Long range electric or efficient internal combustion. Please, please, pick one.

Re:Worst of both worlds (4, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027417)

Getting worse mileage than the best in the world isn't exactly something to complain loudly about... Even on the engine, it gets better than a Prius.

Re:Worst of both worlds (4, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027453)

>it has to lug around a heavy internal combustion engine

That tiny 1.0L engine that runs a generator? Id rather be able to put gas in it when I cannot find electricity, thanks. My neighborhood BP hasnt exactly switched over.

>Long range electric or efficient internal combustion. Please, please, pick one.

The battery tech isnt here. Perhaps you can wish for faeries to power the car while youre at it because youre being 100% irrational.

Hell, even if you do this, you still need to convince the gas stations to switch over, because you'll sometimes be in a situation where you need power, now, not overnight. Early adopters appreciate a little convenience.

Re:Worst of both worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027469)

I'm not sure why you say this, it seems to be perfect to me. I very seldom drive more than 30 miles in a day and when I drive much longer I don't want a completely different car. Sometimes good enough is good enough.

Re:Worst of both worlds (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027499)

a fairly large sized battery is useful for storing energy generated by an internal combustion engine as this can allow the engine to run at the most efficient RPM changing the battery. it's a form of load balancing and frankly if we are forced to use gasoline as a fuel rather than pure electric then this is a good way to increase efficiency.

Re:Worst of both worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027815)

A VW Polo.. is that some sort of sick joke?

It's basically a rolling deathtrap when driven on the same US roads as Hummers and Excursions. You call it Farvenugen, we call it "get that piece of shit out of the way!"

good luck with that. (1)

Mr_Reaper (231387) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027289)

under the epa fuel economy testing system wasn't the first gen prius rated at 100mpg in their lab, but in the real world its somewhere in the 40s.

big mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027295)

GM better not base a campaign on that number. Every consumer watchdog group is going to be on this. The 230mpg number could only have been obtained by completely neglecting the grid-based electrical input, which factors into the cost. Great way for a failed company to recover...on a lie.

yes ... (2, Insightful)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027327)

the devil's in the details

aint' that the truth

For example, in politicals you have to actually RTF bill.
And on /. you have to actually RTFA.

if you don't ... then you don't know what you're talking about ... which is how most of our politicians and most Americans operate.

One small detail was left out (4, Funny)

fataugie (89032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027353)

They forgot to mention the Forward Mounted, Cannon Fired Grappling Hook (TM).

The instructions were a little vauge, but the pictures showed the driver aiming on a HUD at a City Bus....so you fill in the blanks.

Re:One small detail was left out (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027647)

You jest... but reliable Electric Powerplants with satisfactory performance, range and efficiency brings us one step closer to the world of Steve Jackson Games' CAR WARS [sjgames.com].

Now all we need is a grain blight. And an affordable forward-mounted VMG.

/drive offensively

Simple really, just like government accounting (2, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027367)

40 miles per day electric of your 50 mile commute leaving 10 miles to gasoline. So yeah it gets great mileage, otherwise it is like 50 to 60 max, probably lower. Too much energy loss to convert between forms of power.

the real story is, highway mileage without recharge except by the engine.

Still, lets play with numbers. Say you get your 230 mpg or more. You pay 40 grand for this privileged. Cars this size (Volt is Cruze/Cobalt size) cost around 20k normally. Lets be nice and say you optioned out well. Figure $5.00 per gallon of gas. You drive 15,000 miles a year, the Volt will burn in city mode 62 gallons, the normal car 500 ( a prius 300). $300 versus $2500 looks good. But that discounts loss of the battery, so amortize that as well. If you leave out the battery pack it still means five plus years to make up the difference IF your car only gets 30 in the city. Buy a TDI from VW and you get forty plus for around 22k.

So its hype and a bogus test meant to exaggerate the car in best possible situations. Meaning if it sticks cars will be designed to beat the test.

Re:Simple really, just like government accounting (2, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027763)

Volt's battery is guaranteed to deliver 40 miles of AER _even_ after 10 years or 150000 miles.

Re:Simple really, just like government accounting (1)

Alt_Cognito (462081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027773)

Only 30mpg? The TDI does well enough, no need to overstate things:

The TDI gets 30mpg in city. Diesel isn't as plentiful in the US, but I think your point still stands, it will take a long time to make up the actual cost assuming the Volt doesn't come with a boatload of incentives (but they do, and will)

http://www.vw.com/jetta/completespecs/en/us/ [vw.com]

Use the right tool for the job. (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027833)

So its hype and a bogus test meant to exaggerate the car in best possible situations.

Or, for people who live in an optimal situation, say 20 miles from work with mostly in-city driving, it is as great as advertised.

I drive a TDI Golf. I get 45 MPG. But it's all high way, 80 miles a day. If I were driving stop light to stop light, my mileage would plummet. Diesels with a nice short final drive are the kings of the highway, but full electrics dominate on surface roads with lots of stop and go action.

Also, not sure on the Volt, but I believe Toyota offers a battery recycling plan that dramatically drops the cost of replacement, and I think the more recent generations of batteries are shooting for 10 year service windows.

If I had a 20 mile or less commute in a town of more temperate weather, I would definitely look at the Volt as a serious contender for my next vehicle.

-Rick

Is it really that imprecise? (1)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027377)

If you can drive ~80 miles on less than a dollar of electricity (as it says in TFA - they claim 40 cents), how is 230 mpg a bad comparison again? Even if it's more like 60 cents of electricity, still, you're getting 240 miles out of $1.80. $1.80 is not a bad estimate for the price of a gallon of gasoline.

It may be imprecise, but I don't think it's THAT imprecise.

The real thing I wonder about is long-term cost efficiency. What happens when you leave the car at home for 3 days - does it continue to draw power? How much do you waste? What happens when the Li-ion batteries inevitably lose charge capacity? How does that affect your mpg? How often do you have to replace those batteries - and how much do the batteries cost?

Those questions are where GM gets a lot more shaky, I think, especially since, to my knowledge, they haven't really been answered.

MPG is meaningless.. (1, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027383)

MPG rating is meaningless when you can get some of your power from another, external, power source.

Though a 50MPG car isn't anything to sneeze at, claiming it can get 230 miles on a gallon of fuel is simply bullshit. It gets 230 miles on a gallon of fuel PLUS several recharges from an electrical outlet. When you compare this to an all-fuel car or a non-plugin hybrid, there isn't a valid basis for comparison. How much fuel was burned to make that electricity? When you combine the fuel the car actually burned plus the fuel used to make the electricity the car used, what's the REAL fuel mileage?

Multiple-fuel-source vehicles are harder to point to with a real standard for efficiency, but ideally the EPA standard should be some function of how much fuel AND electricity were put into the vehicle to go a given distance. Come up with a standard of how much energy or pollution or whatever goes into making the electricity, then add that equivalence to the numbers.

By EPA standards, I suppose my Jetta Diesel TDI gets INFINITE gasoline mileage. Because it burns Diesel, it uses, duh, no gasoline. But it does burn actual fuel.

I'm not criticizing the car, or even the idea of having a primarily-electric vehicle with enough of an onboard system for unlimited range without recharges. 50MPG is pretty darned good, and being able to use ALL electrics for the majority of driving is generally a good thing, since electricity can be produced using cleaner sources than internal combustion of dinofuels.

But even those of us who DO wear the "green" label somewhat proudly laugh at this kind of nonsense. Treating these numbers as anything more than bullshit is like trying to defend "The Day After Tomorrow" as an environmental statement. It simply makes environmentalism, or even those who casually try to increase their efficiency, look like the work of whack-job nutters.

Re:MPG is meaningless.. (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027541)

I should mod myself down for the parent post. SORRY!

I re-read the article, in which I had missed the part about the estimates that ARE added to mileage to account for the electricity consumed.

Still, the numbers used look very, very fishy. For one, is electricity really that cheap in Detroit? 40 cents for 10kWh means 4 cents a kWh. I'm paying 16 cents a kWh for my electricity. Of course, we don't have "peak" and "off-peak" electricity here in the hinterlands, so it'd probably be a little cheaper if we did (and if you could time the car to charge only off-peak). 10kWh also sounds pretty optimistic to carry a vehicle 40 miles.

Misleading... (1, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027385)

I hate these misleading MpG measurements they keep giving out for electric or hybrid cars that can plug in. They can all be explained like this:
x miles on battery power
y miles on fuel
x+y/g = z

Which is true, until the battery runs out, which it does extremely quickly. They also fail to take into account how much "fuel" comes magically out of your power socket into the car.

Frankly, I think there should be a law that says you can't include pre-stored electric power power in MpG measurements. So they would have to say "50 MpG with up to 100 miles provided by the battery!"

CNBC (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027399)

Erin Burnette was spreading FUD about the Volt on Squack box this morning - here's a paraphrased quote "I spoke with auto parts manufacturers who said that these electric cars will create more pollution, the way the grid is set up there will only be more coal and pollution than with a gas engine"..

Oh. My. God.

At least her co-presenter, Mark what'shis name had the sense to say " oh i'd like to see the data before blah blah blah"...

Do we think people are intelligent enough to make up their own minds and realize that auto part's manufacturers have their entire business model tied to ICE and that 1 moving part is going to need fewer replacement parts than hundreds of moving parts?

edit: captcha is illusion!

the math doesn't work (3, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027401)

If you have the cheddar to drop $40k on a commuter car, you probably don't think twice about the price at the pump. Let's hope there are enough people buying this for the novelty value that it will stay afloat long enough that production efficiency can improve to the $25k/unit level.

Re:the math doesn't work (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027573)

>If you have the cheddar to drop $40k on a commuter car, you probably don't think twice about the price at the pump.

Well, there's supposedly a 7.5k rebate for this from the federal government. Lets say you live in a state that has a 2.5k rebate too, so lets assume 10k off. Now its a 30k car.

Granted, its not exactly cheap, but a lot of people can afford that as the average new car price in the US is 29k. You'll be saving in gas too. 85 cents in electricity to charge for 40 miles [gm-volt.com] is $8.50 dollars for 400 miles, which is 2 tanks of gas on my saturn, which costs me $60-70 today. Thats hard city driving for my saturn, rural and suburban mileage will be better, but nothing close to the Volt.

Re:the math doesn't work (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027727)

What? State governments provide car rebates? Since when? In my experience, state governments do the opposite: they impose serious sales taxes on automobile purchases.

Re:the math doesn't work (3, Interesting)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027725)

If you have the cheddar to drop $40k on a commuter car, you probably don't think twice about the price at the pump.

Don't fool yourself. People with the kind of cash to afford 40k on a car are probably more honest about their finances. There's a reason the rich remain rich; they're not idiots about their money.

Re:the math doesn't work (1, Interesting)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027741)

If you have the cheddar to drop $40k on a commuter car, you probably don't think twice about the price at the pump. Let's hope there are enough people buying this for the novelty value that it will stay afloat long enough that production efficiency can improve to the $25k/unit level.

Yeah, no shit. And for the previous poster who calculated a fuel savings of $16K over 10 years, I can save $20K right now by just buying a $20K new fuel car rather than this $40K "hybrid" option.

And that's not even calculating the cost in 5-7 years to replace the battery pack(s), which will likely be single-source, no OEM or aftermarket, and be obscenely priced and likely a mandatory replacement at X miles/months down the road due to EPA safety regulations or some other nonsense.

But hey, cheer up, you're getting a HUGE tax rebate! It's huge, right?...er, right?

EPA rating (1)

odin84gk (1162545) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027413)

"The rating number, based on methodology drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency, is somewhat abstract, one auto specialist said, given that much of the city driving of electric vehicles will rely solely on the battery charge."

Why are these still considered abstract? Fill the car up with all the electricity/gas that it can handle and run it until it is dry (or at least dry enough for your MTBF numbers to be correct). Then look at how far you went and give us those numbers. What is that? You didn't use gas? Then add a "Miles per watt" taken from the electrical grid. If you provide a 99.999% efficient charger with the car, then your MPW goes up.

This is getting as annoying as the Zigbee protocol. Just make up your freaking mind already!

My car gets 1000mpg (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027439)

for every gallon of Mountain Dew I consume I can drive 1000 miles. What? That is not what is actually fueling the car? Nonsense!
230 Miles per gallon + KWattHour or something would be more accurate... Despite dubious/inaccurate marketing, I still want one really bad. Series Hybrid is my favorite, because I can eat my cake and road-trip it too.

10 Miles per Flavor! (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027817)

HA!!! I was going to post the same thing about Diet Dr Pepper(r). Can we make the battery fluid drinkable, tasty and caffienated? My doctor says I need more electrolytes.

As long as you don't want to go more than 50 miles (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027455)

The 230 mpg figure is meaningless. If you drive a short enough distance that the gas engine doesn't kick in, then you get really huge mileage.

Once that gas engine kicks in, we're talking maybe 50 mpg at best.

The only conditions under which that "230 mpg" figure means anything is if you drive about 51 miles per day. Lower than that, and your actual mileage will be higher, higher than that, much lower.

Prejudicial Treatment (5, Funny)

Trails (629752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027459)

I would just like to point out that I'm sick of the American auto industry treating us Canadians and the rest of the metric world like second class citizens. You in the US all enjoy your wonderfully efficient 230 mpg, whereas we are stuck with only 98km/L, less than half!! For shame.

I plan to start a boycott until this terrible treatment of the metric world halts.

Who's with me?

How many miles... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027463)

... between major failures? This is a GM vehicle afterall.

50MPG WTF (2, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027487)

Why in the hell couldn't GM have just come out with a normal 50MPG car that didn't suck ass like the Metro? That would sell well and be a ton cheaper to make.

Re:50MPG WTF (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027747)

Sure, they could make something that sells well and is inexpensive. But the profit margins would be low, and it would upset their golfing buddies from the oil companies.

Who Killed the Electric Car Battery (1)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027557)

http://www.daxdesai.com/2007/12/21/who-killed-the-electric-battery/ [daxdesai.com]

Very informative article. Here's the best part:

-----
Further Chevron Texaco is responsible for about half the price premiums on todayâ(TM)s hybrids. They charge $1,200/kWh for the battery when it could be $150. How well do they control NiMH technology? Well every NiMH battery has to be licensed from a company - Cobasys, wholly owned by Chevron. Manufacturing is limited to consumer electronics size batteries. This explains why Tesla Motors is using thousands of small consumer-grade batteries in its electric vehicle.
-----

Why all the hate? (5, Interesting)

VoiceInTheDesert (1613565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027577)

I'm not sure why people are hating on this car so much other than the fact that it's GM and everyone is mad at them for the whole bailout thing right now.

The only real difference between this car and previous hybrids is that this one will go 40 (maybe, I'm guessing closer to 30) miles before it kicks into hyrbid mode.

This car is a great concept and for the vast majority of people I know, will provide essentially gas-less lifestyles (except on road trips, but if you're taking THIS little thing on a road trip, you did something else wrong). And if you need to go 70 miles instead of 40 in one day, you spend what? .75 gallons? You're going to complain about that?

This is the kind of technology that can break the oil companies hold on the auto industry. yet people continue to bitch about how it's not good enough for them. I say fuck you all and I hope other companies follow in this car's footsteps. All technology has to start somewhere and this is the first version of a gas-free car to hit the market. Give it a few years and we'll be seeing cars that go 60 miles on one charge, then 100, then maybe even more. Give it time, stop bitching and appreciate how far we have come, not how much you still want to happen.

so? (0, Troll)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027585)

Mark this troll all you want, but after seeing what the US has to offer in the automobile market, I won't ever buy a car from the likes of GM or Ford. I don't care what kind of promises they make. They've proven time after time to produce inefficient, shit-quality cars.

The US government owns both GM and the EPA (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027615)

So I guess there is no conflict of interest there?

The Chevy Volt has great mileage, by Presidential Executive Order.

How many miles to pay off? (4, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027635)

From The Atlantic: GM's Volt Offers Amazing Mileage, But At What Cost? [theatlantic.com]

I used the Toyota Corolla (regular, non-hybrid vehicle) as my comparison, since it's popular and similar in style. According to Toyota's website, it gets 26 miles per gallon in the city and starts at $15,350.

..[various assumptions]..

if you assume $4 per gallon, then you'd need to drive around 177,000 miles to break even.

230 MPG (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027649)

For those of us in europe this means about 0.01 L per km (no, we don't use the km/L stated in the summary, we use L/km).

/Mikael

Cost Per Mile (0, Flamebait)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027653)

So, they've released that it supposedly gets 230 miles per gallon, but that doesn't translate into savings...

It's just like the people who drive "green" cars like the Prius. Do they not realize that the car will only run for about 100,000 miles before they have to replace some ridiculously expensive component? "But it's for the environment!" they'll claim. So the majority of consumers in the USA are concerned with "the environment" over their pocketbook? I think not...

The reality is that this Chevy Volt will have some absurdly high cost per mile, compared with an equivalent "gas-guzzling" sedan, but because of the "green" frenzy, people will buy it so they can tell all their friends that they are doing good for their grandkids.

Complete Crap (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027669)

This is complete and utter crap, and the only reason it's happening is that the government now owns GM and sets the rules.

This would only even begin to be reasonable if electricity came for free, and never with any carbon footprint. It doesn't, the Obama EPA lies, and none of us should be surprised in the least.

I can only hope that all the other hybrid makers -- and even non-hybrid makers -- sue the government's pants off over this outright lie!

Perhaps cars should be rated in $/mi to drive based on average fuel and electricity rates for the county in which they're sold. That would be more honest than this farce.

This is IRRELEVENT unless clarified in Joules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027771)

I don't CARE how many miles it gets to the gallon while only using gas 10% of the time. That I DO care about is how much ENERGY is used to send it those 230 miles. Fuel Equivalence is a number we need. ie, if you took the same amount of energy (joules, or whatever other metric you feel like using), worth of gas, how far does this car go?

We also need some granular metrics:
- it can travel 40 miles on a full charge and it takes X KWh to fully charge the battery from it's minimum allowable state. This allows people to understand the amount of electricity the car requires in "gas equivalent costs." aka, each time I'd charge the battery to go another 40 miles, I'd incur $1 on my electric bill at my current electric billing rate (more if it's on-peak in some areas).
- it uses 1 gallon of gas to x miles when the generator is running but when there is still some battery charge remaining, or when charging the battery while driving using the generator (at about 30% charge remaining, the generator kicks in to resupply the battery).
- it gets X miles per gallon when the battery is fully discharged and the car is running on generator only.
- some ballpark estimate of what the street price cost of a fast charge would be vs the current electric rates in the area. ie, if I pay $0.12/kw at home, am I expecting to get raped for $0.40/kw when out and about? One could hopefully assume it would be less than double the cost of electricity at home, and still far cheaper per mile driven than gasoline...
- what is the impact to MPG or electric driving distance with the AC on full blast (or the heat)?

If the car can run on 0 gas for 40 miles, but only gets 18MPG after that, i have a problem...

Also, any energy statements about driving per charge needs to account for power used FROM THE WALL SOCKET, not power used from the charged state of the battery. Charging the battery takes more energy than can be stored in it, and that needs to be accounted for, including the differences stopping at 70%, 80%, 90% and fully charged.

How much leakage of the battery is expected when the car is idle? (it has some computer system running using power to determine when to charge and not charge itself based on peak/off-peak, so what impact is this? Hopefully it's about the power draw of a small cell phone...

The economy of these cars is NOT proven.

I want to know, with AC/heat running, and all other common car electronics (radio, GPS, charging a phone, etc, headlights on 50% of the time), and a combination of city, country, and freeway driving, how much gas and electricity (each seperately) will i expect it to use if I drive 20 miles, 40 miles, 60 miles, 150 miles.

I know the first models released, at $40,000, will NEVER boil out even vs a traditional hybrid. Anyone buying one of these is doing so either as a status symbol, or as an overt environmental guesture regardless of cost. Even traditional hybrids are questionalby worth it... however, I'd like to know what the price poiint for likely break even or even potential to save money lies so I do know when to invest in one. If electricity is 1/3 the cost of gas to go the same distance, and you drive 40 miles per day, and can get an equavalent car that gets 40MPG for $20,000, you're saving a whopping $2 a day is gas is $3 a gallon. Also figure, the more people drive these, the more expensive electricity will get, so don;t count on saving $3 a day at $4 a gallon... Even if you could, $3 a day saved means 18 years to break even vs a Prius! If you drive more than 40 miles a day, and run on gas only, i highly doubt the mileage will be better than the prius, and this will actually increase the time to break even (or make it impossible to do so).

skewered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29027805)

230mpg is a skewered result. They included the 40 miles that runs electric only in the calculation. If they ignored the 40 electric only miles, then calculate the mpg only when the car is actually using gas, it would be much different result and actually be a more accurate number to use.

Miles per kW (1)

stilz2 (878265) | more than 4 years ago | (#29027819)

A bit of information I found interesting: "Tentative EPA methodology results show 25 kilowatt hours/100 miles electrical efficiency in city cycle". Maybe miles per kW will become the "MPG" for electric cars?
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