GM speaks out about poor ranking of Chevrolet Volt in Green Car Book

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 24, 2011

General Motors didn’t do well in the latest 2011 ratings from the Green Car Book, which ranks the new models on a point scale that includes criteria such as fuel economy, tailpipe emissions, factory pollution and ease of recycling. The Volt was in 12th place. Meanwhile, the Nissan Leaf was in second place and the Smart fortwo came in third.

The inclusion of conventional gas burners as the Mini Cooper (10th place) and the Hyundai Elantra (ninth) is also notable.

The Volt also didn’t even make it in the separate “Greener Choices” ranking, which lists the best cars in several categories. The Leaf got a green score of 54, the Volt 48. The main reason cited for Volt’s poor performance is its unimpressive fuel economy rating of just 35 mpg city/40 highway.

However, it’s expected that GM would contend that the major consideration should be overall economy. At some point in the past, GM had said that its model offers 230 mpg; however, it had since retracted that figure.

Many Volt owners will hardly ever use the gas engine. Rob Peterson, a GM spokesman, said that this “logic would escape the majority of consumers.” He said that if you consider the EPA ratings for the Smart fortwo at 33 city and 41 highway, it’s less than the Volt’s after the electric range is exhausted.

Peterson said that GM loses out to Smart because its car is a four-seater with a battery pack and as a result, weighs more. He added that GM can’t win against the Leaf because it has a gas engine.

The Chevrolet Volt is powered by the Voltec propulsion system. As a result, the vehicle can deliver up to 350 miles of range. It is packed with a 5.5-foot, 435-pound or 198.1 kg T-shaped 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, which was produced in Brownstown Township, offering 111 kW or 149 hp of electric drive unit.

Just by using the battery, the Chevrolet Volt is already capable of about 25 miles to 50 miles of fuel. The advantage of this is that it provides a tailpipe-emissions-free driving experience, depending on various factors such as driving techniques, temperature, and terrain.

The lithium-ion battery is specifically designed for the Chevrolet Volt to enhance electric driving experience, performance, and durability. It comes with an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty coverage. Since the launch in 2007, the developers at GM have fulfilled over a million miles and four million hours of Chevrolet Volt battery testing. For almost the entire past decade, validation testing has included nine modules and 288 prismatic cells as well.

161 components, 95 percent of which were designed by GM engineers, have been validated with numerous specifications met. GM Executive Director of Global Electrical Systems Micky Bly believes that GM’s customers are committed to electric driving solutions in order to minimize petroleum dependence. As a result, GM is also committed to enhancing the value of services and products it offers. Once the stored battery energy is drained, the Chevrolet Volt gradually shifts to the extended-range mode.

The power is then inverted from a 1.4-liter, 63-kW or 84-hp gasoline-powered engine that offers a maximum of 310 extra mile range. The Chevrolet Volt showcases how feisty electric driving can be with a 100 mph top speed. It can accelerate up to 60 mph and up to a quarter mph in not more than 9 seconds and 17 seconds respectively with its 273 lb.-ft. or 368 Nm of torque.

Charging is also made convenient. The battery can easily be charged through a 120V household electric outlet or a dedicated 240V charging facility. It can completely be charged within 10 to 12 hours using the former and within four hours using the latter.

The driver can easily modify charging duration depending on departure schedule or electricity rate. The Chevrolet Volt, while charging, can remotely be monitored via MyVolt.com or an exclusive smartphone app powered by OnStar MyLink, Chevrolet Mobile App.

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