Chevy Volt Gets 230 mpg, Thanks to New EPA Rules

(Image: GM)

GM today revealed that the new Chevy Volt hybrid will get up to 230 mpg for city driving. ZDNet’s Larry Dignan has more:

General Motors outlined the miles per gallon figures Tuesday. The Volt is expected to start production in late 2010 as a 2011 model. However, there are a few caveats:

* The Volt can travel up to 40 miles on a single electricity charge;
* Its overall range will be 300 miles with its fuel engine;
* GM recommends that you plug in the Volt at least once a day;
* Gas free mileage will depend on cargo, distance, air conditioning use and number of people in the car.

That latter point is huge. What happens when it’s summer, 90 degrees and humid and you have a car pool going? When the battery hits a minimum level, the Volt will switch to extended-range mode. In this mode, the Volt’s fuel engine produces electricity.

Unfortunately, at around $32,500 a car ($40,000 sticker price – $7,500 tax credit), the Chevy Volt will take some serious mileage to break even with a high-mpg traditional car, even at $4/gallon.

Moreover, Government Motors coordinated its “230” marketing campaign with the EPA’s new fuel economy methodology release. According to AutoBlog,

The EPA has released a new methodology for determining a draft fuel economy standard for extended-range EVs like the Volt, and under this new procedure, the Volt will have a composite urban fuel economy rating of 230 mpg! On the electric side, the Volt will consume 25 kW/hours per 100 miles. That makes the Volt the first car ever to get a triple digit fuel economy rating.

CNN breaks down the math here.

The car is slated to ship in 2010 or 2011.