Chevy Volt to pull 230 mpg in city

General Motors says the Chevy Volt gas-electric sedan, due out late next year, will get triple-digit fuel economy based on draft EPA methodology.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
2 min read

WARREN, Mich.--The gas-electric Chevy Volt will get triple-digit mileage, including an estimated 230 mpg for city driving, General Motors said Tuesday.

The 230 mpg--teased in a stealth advertising campaign on billboards and during baseball games--is based on a draft methodology for electric vehicles developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, GM CEO Fritz Henderson said here.

The struggling auto giant held a media event to offer an update on its product and technology plans as it tries to stimulate sales following a bankruptcy and restructuring that has left it 60 percent owned by the U.S. Treasury Department and 11 percent owned by Canada.

GM CEO Fritz Henderson at company's Tech Center in Warren, Mich. Martin LaMonica/CNET

Henderson said that GM is confident that the combined highway and city mileage for the Chevy Volt, due to go on sale in late 2010, will be in the triple digits. Expressed in electrical terms, the performance will be 25 kilowatt-hours for 100 miles.

"Having a car that gets triple-digit fuel economy, we believe, will be a game changer for us," Henderson said.

Watch this: A feisty ride in the Chevy Volt

Other plug-in electric sedans are also expected to have triple-digit fuel efficiency once they come to market. The all-electric Tesla Motors' Roadster, which is available now, advertises triple-digit fuel economy as well.

The EPA model is being developed for cars used in different climates and a mix of electric and gas driving conditions, GM executives said. City mileage will be better for the Volt because the extended-range electric power train runs for 40 miles on battery alone and then uses an internal combustion engine to recharge batteries.

The cost of fueling a Volt will be significantly less than gassing up at the pump, Henderson said. In Detroit, where off-peak electricity rates are 5 cents a kilowatt hours, it will cost about 40 cents to recharge batteries overnight.

On the cost of the car itself, Henderson said that GM has not priced the Volt but that it will be expensive because it is a first-generation product. Unconfirmed estimates are said to be around $40,000.

The car will qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit and GM is working on bringing down the cost of future generations of the Volt, particularly the battery system, he said.