Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 13, 2009


Mark C. Chu-Carroll, Science Blogs - Chevy is coming out with a very cool new car, the Volt. It's a hybrid with massive batteries. It plugs in to your household electricity when you're home to charge its batteries. It operates as an electric car until its batteries start to get low, and then it starts running a small gas motor to power a generator. . . Chevy has announced that for city driving, the Volt will get gas mileage of 230 miles per gallon. . . The trick is that they're playing with the definition of mileage. In city driving, the Volt is primary an electric car: it's powered by its batteries which you must recharge every night, not by gasoline. On average, you can drive it for about 40 miles on a full charge before it needs to start using any gasoline.The "mileage" figure, as it's presented, is really meaningless - because it's being presented for a situation in which the gasoline engine almost never runs at all. . . What if you drive your volt around the city all day? Your mileage will drop to around 50 miles per gallon once you've driven more than 40 miles. If you drive your car 100 miles in a day, you'll consume a bit over a gallon of gas. That's very impressive. But it's absolutely not what you'd expect after being told that it gets 230 miles per gallon.


Blogger Dave said...

What will be even more fun is when the electric grid starts to groan and fail after sales of electric cars reach a tipping point.

August 13, 2009 4:55 PM  

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