GM and EPA at Odds over Volt Certification

Automobile Staff
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Epa Administrator Steve Johnson (center) Surveys Chevrolet Volt Concept At 2007 Naias

GM has finally found a bureaucracy more frustrating to work with than its own – and it is not happy. Word is the EPA has decided to create a special test for the Volt that would drastically underestimate the car’s real-world fuel economy.

The issue lies in the Volt’s revolutionary drive train. While it is a hybrid in that it has both gasoline and electric motors, it does not use both to propel it. Rather, the engine acts as an on board generator when necessary. This system should return extraordinary fuel economy – perhaps upwards of 100 mpg in conventional EPA testing.

But the EPA is thinking of requiring that the battery to remain fully charged throughout their testing. This would mean the engine would operate for the entire test, likely cutting the fuel economy numbers by more than half. While an estimated 48 mpg may still sound quite decent, it is no better than an ordinary hybrid, and GM worries consumers may not want to pay close to $40,000 for what they believe to be an ordinary hybrid. The company argues such a test would in no way simulate real world usage of the car, which is designed to go 40 miles before drawing any power from the engine.

The good news is that after years of not being able to achieve EPA numbers in most hybrids, we may finally have a car that blows right by them.

Source: Motor Trend

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