Chevrolet Volt Miles Driven All-Electrically Now Total More Than 100 Million

DEC 6 2012 BY STAFF 14

Yesterday General Motors announced that owners of Chevrolet Volts had driven more than 100 million all-electric miles in the first two years the car as been on the market.

GM Splash Presentation (Click To Enlarge)

Chevrolet says that the average Volt owner travels “more than 65 percent of the time in pure electric mode as the car was designed” while only using the gasoline-powered generator for longer trips.

Thanks to frequent charging, Volt owners often surpass the EPA estimated 98 MPGe, and each tank of gas in a plug-in Chevy Volt lasts about 900 miles.

GM Press Release:

With each avoided trip to the gas station, Volt drivers continue to increase their return on investment. Based on EPA estimates and compared to the average new vehicle sold in the United States, Volt owners are saving about $1,370 a year in fuel costs.

“The best sign of a great product is when your customers are the most satisfied in the industry,” said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet Volt marketing director. “Volt owners have found the Volt is not only fun to drive, but provides technology and performance where consumers need it most.”

This is the second year in a row the Volt has topped the satisfaction survey of one of the leading consumer testing organizations in the United States.

“My commute is 55 miles round trip, but with the Volt I use 80 percent less gas and save over $150 each month,” said Farris Khan from southeastern Michigan. “Plus the Volt is really fun to drive because of its instant torque; driving anything else feels like yester-tech!”

For the typical driver, the average Volt savings equates to:

  • Nine weeks of groceries at $151 per week
  • 228 car washes at $6 per car wash
  • 137 movie tickets at $10 per ticket

The 5 million gallons of gas saved is equivalent to $21 million in gasoline costs averted overall based on $4 per gallon of premium, or more than two supertankers of gas.

For the first 38 miles, the Volt can drive gas and tailpipe-emissions free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16.50-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas-powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank.

GM Media 

Categories: Chevrolet


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14 Comments on "Chevrolet Volt Miles Driven All-Electrically Now Total More Than 100 Million"

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This is great news! Any idea how many electric miles have been covered by Leafs, or does Nissan not release that information?

One annoyance I have: according to the graphic, 100 million miles = 5 million gallons of gas. That’s only 20MPG, which is less than average (I believe is 25MPG), and far less than the average new compact car (probably 35). Fuzzy math, GM….

I don’t think it’s fuzzy math, but instead, detailed math. 🙂

I’m pretty sure the gas savings they are referring to is not only all the electric (gas free) miles, but also the gas saved when comparing the Volt’s extended-range gas mileage (38MPG highway) when using gasoline to the average vehicle in its class (25MPG). That total then works out to the 5 million gallons stated.

This is a fair assessment, but are you sure that the “average vehicle in its class” gets only 25MPG? That still seems very low for a compact car made within the past two years.

Although, it’s still a little fuzzy trying to compare the car to average. If the Volt weren’t available, what would Volt owners have purchased instead? A 25MPG car, or a 50MPG Prius? Did they really save 5 million gallons?

Well, they’re trying to state how much total gasoline is saved with every Chevrolet Volt, and to do that in a way the EPA deems accurate, they have to compare it to the average fuel economy in its class.

I do know that the formula they use is an EPA approved formula, to avoid claims of fuzzy math. 😉

Yes, I get that GM would follow the EPA’s methods. I retract my comment towards GM. However, I stand by the fact that it’s always fuzzy math because you are comparing against the “average” which is not the correct metric. What you *should* compare against is what Volt drivers would otherwise be driving. Of course, this is impossible to know for sure.

Since apparently I’m coming off as a GM/Volt hater, allow me to publicly clarify.

I was wrong in my initial interpretation of the graphic. I originally interpreted the gas savings as solely from the electric miles, as opposed to the total gas used for all miles compared to the average vehicle in its class. This is how the EPA evaluates cars, and it is fair for GM to use it in their advertisement.

However, I take issue with the EPA’s methods. Putting a number of gallons of gas saved on a car makes all sorts of assumptions, many of which we can never verify. It’s at best unscientific, at worst, misleading.

Also, although I found the Leaf to be a better fit for me, I think the Volt is the all-around single best plug-in option on the market today. It is exciting to watch its success story grow, even if not at the original 40,000/year rate originally expected.

Haha, you’re not coming across as a Volt hater at all. These are the same questions other people have about the math. The good news is, that while the “average MPG” used in the math isn’t perfect, it is the standard that is used when comparing fuel savings, and approved by the EPA.

It’s in the right ballpark, and without endless calculations and data mining to find out what the precise fuel savings are, using previous vehicle, geographic location, temperature, humidity, and tire PSI. 🙂

When you take into account Ford and Chevy trucks consistently top the sales charts, using 20mpg as a benchmark might be a bit higher than average.

MPGe does not equal what people are calling average MPG. MPGe is a metric used to determine how much energy is used (wall-to-wheel) by the car in electric mode ( Whether someone fills up a volt every 900 or 9000 miles driven, their Volt’s MPGe is roughly 98 (give or take a bit based on driving style). The amount of gas as energy they used to propel the car that far is obviously different, but that figure is not called MPGe.

Is this true? Is it just electric mode that is considered, or is it combined?

For example, the EPA considers 33.7kWh to be equivalent to a gallon of gas. If a Volt consumes one gallon of gas and 33.7kWh of electricity to travel 200 miles, wouldn’t it be getting 100MPGe? Assuming the Volt gets 40MPG (gasoline), that implies it went 160 miles on 33.7kWh (this contrived example only). If it had not burned gasoline, wouldn’t it have gotten 160MPGe (160 miles on the equivalent of 1 gallon of gasoline)? Therefore, plugging in more often would help raise the car’s overall MPGe.

Yes, it is true. In your first example of travelling 200 miles on 33.7kWh and 1 gallon of gas, you cannot make take just those numbers and say the car gets 100 MPGe. When you later add that only 40 of those 200 miles were gas, and the rest electric, you can say that you got 160 MPGe in electric and ipso facto 40 MGPe in gas mode. You may have used only 1 gallon of gas to move 200 miles, which is great, but it’s not the same as MPGe. You could perhaps say with your example that you got 100 MPGe for all energy sources. Then travelling 320 miles electric (using 67.4 kWh) and 40 miles via gas (using 1 gallon of gas), then you got 120 (360/3) MPGe for all sources. Notice though that you can’t exceed 160 MPGe. If you travelled 1600 miles electric and still just 40 miles gas, you have (1640/11) or roughly 149 MPGe. You cannot get more MPGe then your best energy source. If all you care about is your gas consumption per mile travelled, and ignore all other energy sources, then yes, increasing the electric miles travelled will result in much… Read more »

In your own examples, you showed a case where plugging in more gives you a higher total MPGe – from 100MPGe to 120MPGe to 149MPGe. I agree completely that you cannot exceed the MPGe of your best energy source.

The question because – which is the proper meaning of the EPA’s 98MPGe? Is it assuming a mix of gasoline and electricity? Or is it the MPGe on electricity alone? If it’s the former, then plugging in more absolutely increased MPGe, and your examples reinforce my point. If it’s the latter, then well I think the EPA may have missed the point. MPGe is intended to show how efficient a car is (or is not) – how far can it travel on a standardized unit of energy under a typical situation.

The 98MPGe number is looking at the electricity only, and not gasoline. It is basically the number of kWh to travel 100 miles, converted into gasoline equivalent energy, and then computing the MPGe number.

The 38MPG highway number is looking at gasoline only, not electricity.

And, at least on the first year’s sticker, there was an attempt at a combined MPGe, that averaged these 2 numbers together, to obtain something like 60MPGe, assuming so many miles on gas, and so many on electricity.

I stand corrected. Thanks for the clarification.