Exclusive: Chevy Volt Is More Hybrid Than Previously Thought

For the first 40 miles, the Chevy Volt is all electric. For the next 300 miles, it’s some blend of EV and hybrid.

When GM first introduced the Chevy Volt concept in 2007, it invented a new term to describe how the car works: extended-range electric vehicle (ER-EV). It was a tactic to distance the Volt from conventional hybrids like the Toyota Prius, and to rightfully show legislators that the Volt is not just a hybrid with a bigger battery.

New Chevy Volt Site

Check out PluginCars.com’s dedicated site for Volt news, shopping info and online community.

The EV term stuck to the Volt, because the wheels are exclusively powered by the car’s 150-horsepower electric motor for the first 40 miles, while there is sufficient charge in the 16-kilowatt hour battery pack. That hasn’t changed. But in an exclusive interview with HybridCars.com, Rob Peterson, General Motors spokesperson, would not rule out the Volt’s use of its on-board gas engine to power the wheels under some conditions.

“Efficiency is the Volt’s mantra,” Peterson said. “We will take whatever method we have to get there.” Asked if Volt engineers would use the gas engine to power the wheels—a signature of a parallel hybrid system—if it meant greater efficiency, Peterson replied, “You could do it. Absolutely. It’s a matter of software.” He added, “You have some motors, a planetary gear box, there’s a variety of things we can do in there.”

While not revealing details about the Volt’s technical design, Peterson made it clear that the Chevy Volt employs some degree of hybrid efficiency strategies while the car is in so-called “charge-sustaining” mode.

According to Peterson, Volt engineers borrowed technology not only from its previous electric car, the EV1, but also from the company’s two-mode hybrid system—a clutched gas-electric system designed to give hybrids as much efficiency on the highway as in city driving.

HybridCars.com first learned, from anonymous sources, about the possibility of the Volt working slightly like a hybrid—rather than always as a pure electric vehicle—in January 2010. Since that time, when asked about the subject, company officials would only refer to “secret sauce” or “magic in the box”—and say that the full story will later be revealed. GM plans to make a full presentation about the Volt’s efficiency strategies at the Society of Automotive Engineers’ annual conference in January 2011. Information, although sketchy, is emerging now because the car is coming closer to its November 2010 launch—when owners (and investigators) will have a chance to get under the hood.

The Lines Are Blurred

Ultimately, the debate about whether the Chevy Volt is an electric car or a plug-in hybrid is academic. An entire category of vehicles, known as electric-drive, is emerging. It begins with conventional hybrids—likely to be the most popular in the category—that use a small amount of battery power to dramatically improve the gas-powered cars. The category continues with plug-in hybrids that use electricity for a set number of miles until the batteries are depleted—and then pure electric cars that don’t carry a gas tank or engine on board. From there, labels and marketing spin only serves to obfuscate the relative benefits of all the electric-drive vehicles. Each one will play a critical role in reducing the environmental and geo-political impact of oil consumption.

HybridCars.com: Do you think it matters whether the Volt is called an extended-range electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid?

Peterson: What I want people to know is that it’s a full performance battery electric vehicle for the first 40 miles. And after that, it has an extended range capability. It gives you the freedom to do your 340 miles. I don’t care what you call it. What I want them to know is that it’s capable of being any person’s only vehicle, regardless of what category it is.

If people say it’s a super efficient plug-in hybrid that’s all electric for the first 40 miles, and after that it works as the most efficient possible plug-in hybrid, you’re okay with that as well?

I’m all right with that. The reason I’m all right with that is, at the end of the day, consumers, when they bring that vehicle home, they’re going to say, “Check this vehicle out. It does everything for me that I want it to do. And it’s electric. Listen to how quiet it is. Feel the acceleration.”


  • JamesDavis

    It sounds like Chevy is trying to play the people as “Suckers”. The name “Volt” is very misleading since it is over 90% fossil fuel car that helps the environment about 1%. Chevy, if you lied about it being an electric car, what else have you lied about?

  • JBob

    “designed to give hybrids as much efficiency on the highway as in city driving.”

    That one statement makes no sense to me.. it should be reversed since you get better mileage on the highway versus the city (hence the reason you see most manufacturers using that as their MPG figure of choice on commercials).

    As for the Volt.. not too shocked by this announcement (makes sense if they are trying to eke out every mile per gallon).

  • Detfan

    James Davis hasn’t got a clue. The Volt goes 40 miles on electric alone. When I get my wife one, she will never use the engine or gas. It will be 100% electric.

  • GTPWilks

    Hybrids unlike normal combustion cars get better (in some cases the same) mpg in city than they do on they highway. In the city they cannot produce as much electric energy so they have to use the gas powered engine more on the highway than they do in the city is the reasoning for this

  • Charles

    How is the Volt a 90% fossil fuel car? At 40 miles a day of pure EV, that would make it about 97% EV for a 15,000 mile a year driver.

    I know my math is correct but my assumptions are wrong, but it is closer to the truth.

    For my long commute days the Volt would be a 60% EV. For my typical commute it would be 100% EV. For my long trips a 8% EV. For my brother it would be about 99.44% EV for all of his driving.

    I do not see how anybody could drive the Volt as a 90% fossil fuel car, except as a wide load escort car.

  • FamilyGuy

    You actually can call it a 90% fossil fuel car. It all depends on how the electricity is being produced to charge the car. Sure, the first 40 miles are on the battery and not using gas. But if your electricity comes from a coal fired plant, doesn’t that mean that your first 40 miles are still on fossil fuel? It’s not imported oil turned gas, but it’s still fossil fuel.

    Now, if you elect the option to have 100% of your electricity produced from a wind farm, then the first 40 miles are not from fossil fuel. Perhaps a solar panel system in the home? Then, not fossil fuel.

    In this view, all EV’s could be called 100% fossil fuel. Oil (turned gasoline), coal, both fossil fuels. One is imported and one is domestic. We get more wind farms, more solar, more alternative energies to replace coal produced electricity, then the EV’s will no depend on fossil fuels.

  • bill cosworth

    Lets make this simple

    Remove the gas engine from the volt. It will still work fine.

    Remove the gas engine from the prius it will not work.

    The Volt is a EV. Who cares what charges the battery. In the Leaf you have coal to charge the battery, in the volt you have coal or gas.

    This site is So Anti GM. I have lost all respect for the authors of this site they are completely ignorant.

    Its funded by Toyota.

    First the only thing green about Toyota is green American money Going to japan.

    Lets face the facts

    1st a hybrid is a combination of technology. In the past hybrid was a bad word it combined technologies. The prius is a combination of technology. It uses the gas engine to drive the wheels at times. The Volt does not. The volt is a total EV. The problem is people today are not engineers and are quiet un-educated they thing the volt is a hybrid because it drives.

    Actually, EV enthusiast, it’s commonly regarded within both the industry and the EV world that the Volt is a plug in electric vehicle with a range-extended engine which ONLY drives a generator. That still classes it as an EV. It can be used as an EV provided only 40 miles between charges are observed.
    As I said in the article, hybrids require the engine to run at some point – even plug in hybrids, to provide extra motive force from the engine.
    You could run the Volt without gas in the tank and it would function with wall-charging. Most plug in Hybrids won’t.

  • Cindy Harthen

    Who works for this site.

    Its like they are so stupid.

    Gezz

    It must be they all drive prius cars and now know the time is limited they are driving an inferior product they just spent 30k on.

  • Gary Miller

    My brother is the same way who owns a prius. When I bring up volt he attacks it.

    Like a child who has a toy that’s last year…

    It will be funny when his neighbor gets a Volt and knows how much better his car is.

    From the looks of it the authors all have Prius cars.

    Can we do a random sample and if the authors really all do drive Prius cars.

  • Jack Fry

    This old report explains the problem

    Hybrid.com is just behind in there reporting.

    http://gm-volt.com/2010/06/27/opel-ampera-journalist-test-drive-questions-high-speed-performance/

  • Brad Berman, Editor, HybridCars.com

    The main premise of this article is that the labels are less important than the overall efficiency strategy. This article is not a ding on the Volt. Just the opposite. We applaud the tremendous job that the Volt engineers have done, which might include using some hybrid strategies as well as the pure electric drive during the first 40 miles.

  • JBob

    I know I’m anti-GM..

    I’ve been unfortunate enough to own two cars from GM and they were both cr@p.

  • JBob

    Does that mean that people who own pure gas cars own the most inferior vehicles on the planet?

    hmmmmmm????

  • Lost Prius to wife

    I agree with you Brad. I am not a big fan of diesel hybrid strategy. But if I had a choice of a 120 MPG diesel hybrid or let say a theoretical fourth generation 75 MPG Prius, I would chose the 120 MPG diesel hybrid. Why? Because it would continue to lessen our dependency on oil, further hybrid technology, and continue to keep more money in my pocket. And this new technology might allow more efficient charging by other sources (e.g., solar, wind, methane, etc.).

    bill cosworth, Your statement, “Lets make this simple. Remove the gas engine from the volt. It will still work fine. Remove the gas engine from the prius it will not work.”, is incorrect. The Volt can only go 40 miles without its engine. To get the other 300 miles of its range requires its engine. And there is nothing wrong with that. That is the same as with the plug-in Prius, just less all electric miles from the Prius. With the Volt, the shorter the distance one travels, the more your MPG becomes. One could actually “see” 230 MPG in a Chevy Volt while a Prius hybrid plug-in will have a hard time producing the same MPG for the same short traveled distance. But take that same Volt and Prius on a 1500 mile trip without anything but food, restroom, and gas stops, the Prius will be able to outdo the Volt. Is one hybrid strategy better than the other? It will totally depend on what one’s needs are and how and where one drives.

    The article at least tells me that that Chevy may have some surprises for the other car manufactures. It sounds like it will use electricity either from the battery or the engine for motivation a majority of the time. It sounds like it will use some of the generated electricity to recharge the battery when it is not needed totally to power the electric motor. But Rob Peterson’s comment that General Motors “would not rule out the Volt’s use of its on-board gas engine to power the wheels under some conditions” indicates that both the electric motor and the gas motor will be capable of supplying power to the wheels. This I find fascinating. Maybe a clutch that is infrequently used except for special power requirements? This means that this will be a totally different combination of hybrid technologies. And it is coming from Chevy, not Toyota.

    Cindy Harthen and Gary Miller, you should spend more time on this site before you make uninformed statements. Not even I, one of those “stupid” Prius owners, will mock the Chevy Volt because it will outdo the Prius easily under some situations and conditions. And Chevy is trying very hard to strengthen any of its weaknesses to make the Volt fit into every possible market better than any other hybrid. That will get them sales as long as it exist and is priced competitively.

    Will they succeed? Only time will tell. Might my next car be a Chevy Volt? Only if it will meet my needs.

  • Charles

    One small correction about the plug in Prius just having less all electric miles compared to the Volt. The Volt can go full speed during its all electric miles. The plug in Prius will be limited to, IIRC 62 MPH. The difference for me would be that the Volt would be an EV for most of my commutes, but a plug in Prius would not.

  • Anonymous

    the website is no more anti-GM than what GM has done to themselves. i mean look at the situation they are in right now… years of taking credit for a product that has not been out yet. how should that make me cheer for GM?

  • simon@syd

    So is the car a serial hybrid? ie, wheels connected (directly) only to an electric engine. Is that what this article is saying – that it is actually a parallel hybrid…(?)

  • ms

    Charles,

    Please notice that is not tested that volt will go full speed only with ev. The article is clear, in some situations ivolt will be more hybrid, with physical connection between gas engine and wels.

  • Old Man Crowder

    EV, PHEV, ER-EV. Heck, call it a bedless pick-up. Who cares what it’s called?! Just buy it.

    This is a fairly significant step in automotive technology and whether it gets 250 mpg, 150 mpg or only 50 mpg, it’s still going to be more fuel efficient than a conventional car of the same size and all the while the technology will continue to be refined and improved.

    Hey, I’m as skeptical of GM as anyone but I know that every dog has its day, sooner or later.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    Here’s the question:

    1) Does the Volt have a gas tank for which it can use to run the vehicle?

    —YES

    Then it is a hybrid not an EV.

    There it’s been settled. Thx for listening.

  • Mr. Fusion

    The Volt is 100% diesel when it’s being towed.

    Just watch and see.

  • Nikka Kilellen

    The volt shows a lot of promise here is the correct answer

    http://gm-volt.com/2010/06/30/combustion-engine-does-not-and-will-not-turn-the-volts-driveshaft-ever-got-it/

    The Plug in Prius uses a clutch to use the engine at higher speeds.

    So therefore the Prius is still a hybrid.

    Hybrid defines what drives the wheals not what charges the battery.

    Therefore the Volt is a Pure EV it does not have a hybrid drive train. It uses the engine to charge the battery.

    Some might not even use the engine. I can see people taking the engine out to add more batteries.

    You watch the hyper millers do this.

  • Gillden Farebanks

    The volt in no way is a hybrid.

    I am a satellite engineer.

    The Volt never directly couples the GAS engine to the Electric drive.

    Even in series setups like in trains the direct electric couple.

    The engine only charges the battery when it get low.

    In fact the volt is coming out with a mode optional without an engine for people who don’t have range concerns.

    So that settles it the volt is a EV because it will have a model without an engine.

  • frank filter

    Another bad piece of journalism came out fo hybridcars.com, who won’t even publish authors’ names. The anonymous author claimed an “exclusive” interview with Rob Peterson. In that interview Peterson’s comments were taken out of context and distorted to make it seem the Volt would act like a parallel hybrid in range extended mode. Peterson was simply saying it was theoretically possible but the author left out the part where he said it wouldn’t. Anything is possible.

    What many authors don’t know is that the Volt has two electric motors that can act either in parallel at times, in other cases one acts as the traction motor to drive the wheels and the other acts as a generator. The system uses 2-mode technology to determine which configuration is optimal for that driving moment. It never, however, includes a direct ICE to wheel configuration. For more deatils see my post with Volt powertrain engineer Alex Cattelan.

    Finally to put this all to rest, I asked Volt vehicle line director Tony Posawatz if any of this rumor was true, if the ICE ever drives the wheels.

    “No.” said Posawatz. “I don’t know how those folks got so confused.”

  • Scott Z

    I can’t imagine how anyone is not deeply skeptical of GM. Their track record speaks for itself.

    When I was young GM was all my dad would buy. No clue why. They often had mechanical issues.

    I just helped my in-law get a new GM because circumstances forced her to GM(long story). We researched and chose the Malibu for it’s size, MPG and reliability record. Well I hate the thing. I am 6′ 4″ and my Prius is so much more conformable and roomier then the Malibu. It already has a broken system after 5000 miles. The parking brake light, slick road light and engine light are on at all times. Thank goodness for warranties!

    Lets not even talk about bailout.

    All that said I will hope that GM hits a home run with the Volt. I just want to use less oil(or none soon I hope) and send less of my money to countries with poor human rights records.

    Thank you Toyota for the Prius. And with luck I can say the same to GM for the Volt and to Nissian for the Leaf. Time will tell.

  • usbseawolf2000

    Nikka Kilellen,

    The official SAE definition of a hybrid:

    “two or more ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS both of which must provide propulsion power, either together or independently”

    Volt has gas engine and battery pack that provide power to the wheel. It is a hybrid.

    There is no clutch in PHV Prius or standard Prius. Please provide source for you info.

  • frank miller

    It’s so funny that when people own a GM car of the past that might have had an issue they automatically assume a car made today that is a totally different company, different engineers, and different workers.

    It’s like saying when Toyota cars are killing people today that means all their cars in the future will blow up or suddenly accelerate and kill someone.

    So let’s keep using gas or fuel because we can’t get a volt because it’s GM.

    People are ignorant to keep using oil. They are more ignorant by not buying a volt because it’s a GM.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, Editor…

    This story has already been confirmed as false, you might want to post a retraction already.

  • rsbaker

    This story has already been debunked!!! Chevrolet Volt IS and Electric Car with a Range extending Gasoline Generator that provides electricity to the drive wheels when the battery has become depleted. PERIOD! One would think that this particular fact would be verified before this article went to print….but then there would be no story to write I suppose. I refer everyone on this page to GM-Volt.com. They address the original erroneous article. Volt and the european Opel/Vauxhall Ampera twin is NOT another hybrid.

    Here’s the link to the GM-Volt article: http://gm-volt.com/2010/06/30/combustion-engine-does-not-and-will-not-turn-the-volts-driveshaft-ever-got-it/

  • Scott Z

    don’t judge a product by their past products or current ones? That is the most ignorant path I could imagine.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    Nikka Kilellen, usbseawolf2000 is correct. There is no clutch in the PHV Prius or standard Prius. And there is no transmission. My 2006 Prius is all one gear system from 0 to 130 MPH (with the electronic governor off) with no transmission. No clutch. And no starter motor or alternator either. If anyone who has Prius, no matter what year, is told they are going to need an expensive transmission, clutch, starter motor, or alternator repair, whoever told them that is trying to rip them off. Maybe some future Prius they might find a use for a clutch (at least one of the original developmental designs in the 1990’s had one), but so far there has been no need. Please recheck were you got your information.
    The hyper milers are usually using more sophisticated monitoring equipment and techniques rather than more batteries to increase their miles. Still, it would not be unusual for hyper milers to switch out their metal halide batteries for some of the existing lithium batteries to increase their mileage. But that is “replacing” not “adding to”.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    frank filter and rsbaker, yes, the volt will not have the gas engine supplying power directly to the wheels at this time. But the article does not dispute that. The article just indicates that Chevy is considering Volt derivatives such as removing the gas engine altogether for people that just need a short range vehicle. This would lighten the vehicle and increase the range with nothing more being done. To increase the range a little (at the cost of some increased weight), Chevy could replace the Volt engine with more batteries. The Volt’s much larger size would be able to offer a choice over the smaller commuter BEVs shown to date. And if it would allow a better “fit” performance wise, why not add a clutch system that would allow the Volt’s engine to help power the wheels and compete in another part of the market? I mean, take a look at Toyota. They are going to take the name “Prius” and put a whole line of similar and new hybrid designs under it. And you don’t think that Chevy should do the same? Do you work for Toyota or hate Chevy? I personally think Chevy doing the right thing to get away from the “business as usual” attitude.

  • JH

    Not anti-GM – but I will believe the VOLT when I see it in production and on showroom floors.

    Volt originally in 2009 – then 2010 then 2011 then back to 2010…please just release this eternal piece of vaporware so it can get some real world mileage put in!

  • TJohn

    JBob:

    The increase in efficiency that hybrids offer is largely in stop and go driving. While highway driving mpg is increased it is not at the same rate that city driving mpg increases. That’s why conventional ICE vehicles focus on the highway mpg.

    There are actually some hybrid vehicles with greater city mpg than highway mpg statistics including the Prius which is 51/48 city/highway and the ford fusion hybrid which is 41/36 city/highway.

  • Anonymous

    40miles elecitric are great – but why not call it by what it really is: “plugin-hybrid with big battery”

    Guess this is the way of GM to not loose it’s face for killing the electric car and than playing catch-up – just give it a new name and hope people will not realize what it is …

    That said: 40miles electric is impressive.

  • nick4129

    Unfortunately you have misread the statement. Yes a normal GASOLINE powered car is more efficient on the highway, but the opposite holds true for electric hybrid cars in terms of fuel, and by consequence, emissions. Since hybrid cars run entirely on electricity in the city (at lower speeds), but must run on gas at higher (highway) speeds, the fact that the Volt can run fully on electricity on the highway does indeed ‘make it as efficient on the highway as in the city’ as it is cutting out the gas-use-on-highway. Get it now?

  • Lost Prius to wife

    Anonymous, I agree with you that the Chevy Volt is a “plugin-hybrid with big battery”. But the Chevy Volt is not like the Prius hybrid. And Chevy is trying to emphasize that difference by calling the Volt an “extend range electric vehicle”. The Volt is an electric vehicle – for the first forty miles. If one never goes more than forty miles, it will never be anything but an electric vehicle. Once one goes the forty miles (the indicated battery limit), the range is extended by the gas engine generating electricity. That extended range is 300 more miles. Hence, the Volt’s title of “extend range electric vehicle”. This is a major difference between the Chevy Volt and the Toyota Prius.

    This translates to no gas used for the Volt for the first 40 miles while the Prius will have done ~50 mpg for the first 40 miles. This translates to the Volt getting ~230 mpg for the first ~47 miles while the Prius will have done ~50 mpg for the same ~47 miles. This also translates to the Volt getting ~48 mpg for the first 340 miles while the Prius will have done ~50 mpg for the same 340 miles.

    As one can easily see, the Chevy Volt is not the same hybrid as the Toyota Prius. The determination of one’s true needs will determine whether or not the Volt is the vehicle to buy. 40 electric miles is impressive as well as 48 mpg for 340 miles.

  • Lost Prius to wife

    nick4129, I have personally gone down the highway in our Prius at 75 mph with the engine not running and I was not just going down a hill. This has happened many times on relative flat highway. If the Prius battery is charged up, the engine will shut down. I willingly admit that at higher speeds the wind resistance, road friction, and other forms of drag will deplete the battery quicker and require the engine to assist again, but it is incorrect to say that the engine is required all the time at highway speeds. Depending on the battery charge, the engine can and will shut down at any speed. And because of the various forms of drag, no car will be as efficient at highway speeds as it is at the much slower city speeds. Although some forms of friction are linear, the coefficient of drag is exponential.

  • usbseawolf2000

    Volt will unlikely get 40 miles @90 MPH (top speed) on the highway. Why would it be EV for the first 40 miles? Maybe in city traffic.

    Prius is an EV for the first few miles if driven under 25 MPH. How many miles? How fast? How much acceleration? Where do we draw the line?

    It is silly to call something an EV in certain condition. The official SAE definition of a hybrid depends on the power source (not what turns the wheels). The Volt and Prius (even PHV Prius) have gas engine and battery pack power sources. This make them hybrid cars, period!

  • Shines

    I think it would be fair to say that the Volt is a Hybrid EV (it has an ICE onboard to extend its range) and the Prius (and others) is a Hybrid ICV (it has a larger battery (charged by its ICE and regenerative braking)) on board to impove its fuel economy and reduce emmissions.
    Both are hybrids of one form or another.

  • AP

    Actually, while the Volt can operate like a hybrid, it’s not correct to call it a hybrid like the Prius.

    The Volt will be able to operate over its full vehicle speed range in electric-only mode, regardless of power required, until the battery gets down to its minimum acceptable level (30-35 percent). The Prius cannot.

    End of story, period!

  • It’s Physics…

    Fact: It takes more energy to propel a car at 70mph than it does at 30mph.

    The reason that Internal combustion engines get better mileage on the highway is that they use more energy than is actually turned into motion almost all the time. (Take stoplights for example) The highway cycle of EPA ratings extracts more MILES out of the energy being consumed. The extremely inefficient IC engined vehicle is simply MORE efficient at covering ground at highway speeds. This does NOT change the FACT above. Think of it this way, my car at 30mph is spinning the same RPM at 60mph, obviously it’s more efficient to be traveling twice as far while burning the same amount of gasoline. EVs are a more direct form of energy in — motion out. EVs just eat batteries at highway speeds (significantly more wind resistance). All things being equal an EV will go farther on a full charge at 20mph than it will 70mph… (assuming that big energy users like heat/air-conditioning are not operating) Look at it this way, EVERYTHING you activate in an EV will shorten your range. HVAC, radio, lights, power brakes, power steering, even leaving the blinker on could potentially knock a couple miles off your range, in an IC engined car there is so much extra and wasted energy (every BTU of exhaust heat is wasted energy!) that leaving your blinker on will have such a negligible effect as to be laughable.

  • Pulse

    City MPG for hybrids has been higher than highway since their inception.

    Where you been ?

  • Observer

    I cannot comprehend how far GM can go with GM Volt story. Using a hybrid car in electric mode only, driving 40 mi / day commute, means to shorten the battery pack life to 2 – 3 years. The battery pack itself, rated at 16 kilowatts/hour, comprises more than 220 separate cells wired in series. The Volt pack is about six feet long and weighs a hefty 375 pounds. (Equal with two passengers). The replacement cost $8000 to $12000.
    In winter time and steep roads one charge cannot cover 40 miles distance. The electricity is not cheap and 50 % of electricity is produced by burning coal.
    Using as a hybrid it is a different story, but using a VW Jetta TDI Diesel, 50 mpg, 2.0L 140 hp engine, for $18,000 to $23,000 is a REALITY and not an UTOPIA.
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/reviews/diesel/4235586

  • Observer

    I cannot comprehend how far GM can go with GM Volt story. Using a hybrid car in electric mode only, driving 40 mi / day commute, means to shorten the battery pack life to 2 – 3 years. The battery pack itself, rated at 16 kilowatts/hour, comprises more than 220 separate cells wired in series. The Volt pack is about six feet long and weighs a hefty 375 pounds. (Equal with two passengers). The replacement cost $8000 to $12000.
    In winter time and steep roads one charge cannot cover 40 miles distance. The electricity is not cheap and 50 % of electricity is produced by burning coal.
    Using as a hybrid it is a different story, but using a VW Jetta TDI Diesel, 50 mpg, 2.0L 140 hp engine, for $18,000 to $23,000 is a REALITY and not an UTOPIA.
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/reviews/diesel/4235586

  • J.Sauce

    Easy explanation for that. As he said, he is talking about hybrid cars. You are correct that traditional cars do get much better MPG ratings on the highway, but hybrid cars are the opposite. Go check those MPG listing for a hybrid car and you’ll see a car like the Prius actually does much better in the city than on the highway.

  • OW

    The Volt is a plug-in hybrid. This quote comes directly from GM’s own FAQ page.

    The Volt is a series vehicle meaning only the electric motor powers the car at all times, the gas engine is just a generator for making electricity once the battery is depleted. A little like the Prius, the engine does help spin the wheels after the battery is depleted. GM engineers chose to do this because it improved efficiency by 10 to 15 percent.

    http://gm-volt.com/chevy-volt-faqs/

  • OW

    The Volt is a plug-in hybrid. This quote comes directly from GM’s own FAQ page.

    The Volt is a series vehicle meaning only the electric motor powers the car at all times, the gas engine is just a generator for making electricity once the battery is depleted. A little like the Prius, the engine does help spin the wheels after the battery is depleted. GM engineers chose to do this because it improved efficiency by 10 to 15 percent.

    http://gm-volt.com/chevy-volt-faqs/

  • Owen

    The Volt is a plug-in hybrid. This quote comes directly from GM’s own FAQ page.

    The Volt is a series vehicle meaning only the electric motor powers the car at all times, the gas engine is just a generator for making electricity once the battery is depleted. A little like the Prius, the engine does help spin the wheels after the battery is depleted. GM engineers chose to do this because it improved efficiency by 10 to 15 percent.

    http://gm-volt.com/chevy-volt-faqs/

  • 2010 Prius does better on highway than city

    After 2 years with the 2010 Gen 3 Prius I can say that is does better on the highway than in the city. From April to October this year I averaged 60 mpg for every tank of gas. When I do city driving the mpg drops from a highway 62 mpg down to 57 or so. I believe this is due to the Gen 3 having a “Super Highway Mode” where both the EV and ICE are driving the vehicle, which acts like a series mode.

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