Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chevy Volt Gains 230 MPG Rating

Chevrolet VoltFull economy is one of the biggest concerns with people today. Stretching that take of gas as far as you can to get the most out of it before you get ripped off at the pumps has become a day to day occurrence for some people. The good thing is, most car companies are working extremely hard to find cheaper, alternate fuels and are even working on replacing fuel all together with new electric cars. Most electric cars have had a decent boost in mpg over regular gas burning cars, but no car in the history of automobiles has achieved a mpg rating with triple digits until now.

Fresh off their money problems, GM is working hard to climb back up in the ranks of the car world and their newest vehicle, the Chevy Volt, could very well do it. According to GM CEO Fritz Henderson, the new Chevy Volt has achieved an incredible 230 MPG rating in the city. But, even though 230 MPG is amazing, it may not be as "perfect" as GM is making out to be.

While 230 MPG looks like the best thing ever tagged onto a car, it may not be the same based on the same rating that we have grown accustomed to. The EPA has released a new basis for determining a car's draft fuel economy standard for extended-range EV's like the Volt. Under this new system is where the Volt gets it's 230 MPG rating. According to Frank Weber, Chief Vehicle Engineer for the Volt, "the number is based on combined electric only driving and charge sustaining mode with the engine running." But the bad news for GM doesn't stop there. Last Sunday, GM submitted a regulatory filing with the U.S. Treasury. Although it isn't confirmed, this could mean that the November release date promised for the Volt could be delayed to an undisclosed month and year. In order for GM to develop advanced fuel technology vehicles, they have based their entire business plan around getting loans from the U.S. Department of Energy. GM has already put forth three applications for loan of $5.7 billion of a $25 billion fund and has been denied all three times but plans on putting in a fourth application this month.

According to the GM report, "There can be no assurance that we will qualify for any remaining loans or receive any such loans even if we qualify." The report also added that "The U.S. Treasury (who is majority owner of GM) is able to to exercise significant influence and control over our business if it elects to do so, but so far this has not been the case." And as if that wasn't enough of a downer on the already struggling GM, other wealthier competitors could knock off the 230 MPG Volt before it even gets on it's feet. According to GM, "Our competitors and others are pursuing similar technologies and other competing technologies, in some cases with more money available. There can be no assurance that they will not acquire similar or superior technologies sooner than we do."

So even though the news about GM's 230 MPG beauty may not be as good as it is first made out to be, we have seen some good things come from it. We see other companies working hard to get the same technology if not better technology in the very near future and we can now see that a car has the very real possibility of having an incredible MPG rating that could make the cost of everyday life that much better for everybody.

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