American car companies just don't want to do real electric cars. You might think that GM's Volt was going to change that, with it's 230 miles to the gallon and an internal combustion engine which exists solely to charge the batteries. LIES!
In August of last year, we heard GM's then-CEO Fritz Henderson claimed with all the marketing might it could muster at a Detroit-area press event, that the Chevy Volt would get 230 MPG in city driving conditions. Now, as the Volt's being tested by the auto trade press, we're seeing some surprisingly low fuel economy figures amid the expected lavish praise buff books are heaping upon the Volt.Apparently it's GM's JOB to kill the electric car, over and over again. When are those Teslas coming out again?
Let's see what they've found out. Popular Mechanics saw just 37.5 MPG in city driving. Car and Driver apparently didn't choose to use their wheel time for any city driving — but found with all-electric driving
"...getting on the nearest highway and commuting with the 80-mph flow of traffic-basically the worst-case scenario-yielded 26 miles; a fairly spirited back-road loop netted 31; and a carefully modulated cruise below 60 mph pushed the figure into the upper 30s."
Motor Trend, like the rest of the trade press other than Popular Mechanics, didn't appear to do any testing in city conditions, but did find that
"Without any plugging in, [a weeklong trip to Grandma's house] should return fuel economy in the high 30s to low 40s."
They also parrot GM's new line of 25-50 miles of all-electric — a far cry from the 230 MPG they originally marketed — that the "Volt provides 25-50 miles of real-world electric operation no matter how hard you flog it."
...But while even providing only 10% of the fuel economy initially touted, these more real-world figures are merely an exaggeration. The bigger problem is that, as Mr. Oldham now claims, is that GM lied to them about the powertrain.
Since the Volt was first unveiled as a concept car, GM engineers, public relations staff and executives have all claimed adamantly that the internal combustion engine did not motivate the wheels. If that were the case then the Volt would be nothing more than a very advanced hybrid. Even as late into the development cycle as this June, we were told the only drivetrain that motivated the wheels was the electric one. The auto trade press swallowed the line, hook and the sinker. Sam Abulesmaid at Autoblog even ran a piece headlined "Repeat after us: The Chevrolet Volt's gas engine does not drive the wheels!." And why shouldn't he have lapped it up when in online chats, the Volt's chief engineer Andrew Farah was saying: