GM is looking for a big PR push with the Chevy Volt, and their announcement that the new Chevy Volt will get 230 miles per gallon will certainly grab some positive attention for the beleaguered company.
General Motors Co. said today the Chevrolet Volt, its extended-range electric vehicle due out in November 2010, will get an estimated city fuel economy of 230 mpg, or 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles.
GM will unveil 25 new models between now and the end of 2011, president and CEO Fritz Henderson said during an hour-long webcast this morning.
“When the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle rolls off the assembly line late next year, it will be the first mass-production automobile to achieve triple-digit fuel economy, with an expected 230 mpg in the city, or 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles,” GM said.
The Environmental Protection Agency declined to confirm the figure, which was based on a draft testing procedure. GM said the calculation is based on more than one vehicle electrical charge, since the average driver travels far less than 100 miles in a single day.
“EPA has not tested a Chevy Volt and therefore cannot confirm the fuel economy values claimed by GM,” said EPA spokeswoman Cathy Milbourn.
“EPA does applaud GM’s commitment to designing and building the car of the future: an American-made car that will save families money, significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create good-paying American jobs.”
In recent days, GM had launched a “viral” marketing campaign featuring a green background and a “230″ logo — with a plug in the place of the 0 — to build interest in today’s announcement. Many auto bloggers correctly guessed that the figure was connected to the Volt’s city fuel economy rating.
The viral campaign is another good idea, and it looks like we really might have a “new GM.”
That said, the important story here is we’re seeing a plug-in hybrid that will potentially be a game-changer in the auto business. For a country that imports a ton of foreign oil, it’s refreshing to see real progress on electric vehicles.
Of course, not everyone is impressed, including Nissan.
But at least one competing automaker isn’t convinced. “Nissan Leaf = 367 mpg, no tailpipe, and no gas required. Oh yeah, and it’ll be affordable too,” the folks over at Nissan’s electric vehicle Twitter feed wrote today. About an hour later, they added this statement: “To clarify our previous tweet, the DOE formula estimates 367mpg for Nissan LEAF.”
That’s even more great news. It looks like there will be serious competition here from other automakers, so perhaps consumers will have real choices, and we can make real progress towards a goal of eliminating oil imports.