Have you ever wondered what happened to General Motors' forecast of its Chevy Volt electric car running 230 miles per gallon? Wonder no more as it has been confirmed to be dead. GM said that this figure had been calculated using a government formula that never got final approval. It also said that the feds are trying to come up with a new formula.
Last Wednesday at GM's battery factory in Brownstown, Mich., Micky Bly, executive director of global electrical systems for GM, said that the carmaker doesn't know what the new number will be.
Tom Stephens, GM's vice chairman of global product operations, divulged that talks with the government on how to calculate an mpg-equivalent index for plug-in electrics will continue until the very eve of Volt production in November. Stephens said that GM has been "working collaboratively" with the EPA and the industry to agree on a number that gives customers "something they can feel comfortable with."
There is currently no consensus on how to provide customers with a number that allows them to compare the energy use of electric cars -- including the cost to recharge them -- with the miles per gallon ratings of conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles.
The Society of Automotive Engineers, an organization that sets standards used by the industry, is working on energy-use comparison standards for electrics. Very recently, this group approved a rating system for plug-in hybrids. This standard, called SAE J1711, will be published later this year.