Let us say at the outset that fuel economy ratings and real-world driving produce widely varying results. So the jury will be out until the Volt starts selling and folks start driving it. Still, the Volt’s EPA estimates will undoubtedly influence sales. Here is what the organization came up with:
- If you drive on battery only, you can expect 93 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent) in the Volt and a range of 35 miles per full charge.
- If you’re on gasoline only, EPA estimates 37 mpge and a range of 344 miles.
- Running on both will give you around 60 mpge (best in class) and a range of 379 miles.
Hard on the heels of the Nissan Leaf‘s all-electric 99 mpge rating, the Volt comes off nearly as well. But then things get complicated. Its 37 mpge gas-only figure is semi-respectable; the Cruze Eco model does 5 mpg better.
And that combined figure of 60 mpg is questionable to some. GM execs have stressed that your mileage will undoubtedly vary, depending on how you drive, the driving conditions, frequency of recharge, etc. They also claim that your all-electric range will vary from 25 to 50 miles, depending.
From many reports, driving this car can be a “nice” experience. Watch the video in which CNN’s Peter Valdes-Dapena repeats that word nine (we counted) times!
In combined mileage, the Volt beats the Prius (50 mpge) and a bunch of other cars as well to achieve a best-in-class EPA ranking.
Compared to the Volt, the Leaf has over twice the predicted all-electric range (73 versus 35 miles), and the big question is really whether you can live with a recharging commuter car or require an “extended-range” all-purpose car. The Volt will cost $8,200 more than the Leaf.
For many people, the Leaf will serve as a second car. The Volt seems designed to function as a primary car, and it will be interesting to see whether they actually compete or end up in two really quite different market segments.
GM plans to make only 10,000 Volts in 2011. Do you think demand will outstrip supply?