The Green Machine will answer whether this added expenses of a far larger battery pack does anything for the planet or is it pure hype brought to you by the federal government that is now the largest shareholder in Congressional Motors sorry I meant to say general Motors. The US EPA has this bogus calculation for equivalent MPG for plug in hybrids like the Volt and the Raser Hummer. This bogus calculation does not assign either energy value or carbon footprint to the electricity that is used in the plug in to recharge the plug in’s large battery pack. At least Tesla is honest about its requirements for plug in power. The Tesla site states the Tesla will need 0.28 kilowatt hours from the grid for each mile it will travel. The Volt is a heavier vehicle, and also less aerodynamic than the Tesla so the Green Machine estimates the Volt will require 25% more energy to travel a mile. The Volt will therefore require 0.38 kilowatt hours of electrical energy to move a mile. The most efficient fossil fuel fired method to generate electricity is by combined cycle generation with natural gas. Without boring you all with the mathematical details the Volt will need approximately 0.0225 gallons of gas equivalent to travel the mile. The Prius with an EPA rating of 50 mpg only needs 0.02 gallons of gas to do the job of moving a mile. So the Prius is indeed 10% more efficient than the Volt.
On a truthful basis the Volt gets approximately 45 mpg when the natural gas that is needed to generate the electricity is accounted for. If the average efficiency of the electric grid is used the Volt gets no more than 30 mpg. Maybe the Congress and GM’s CEO had a typo in their press release and meant to claim 30 MPG not 230 MPG?
Since the EPA is for the entire US we should use the average CO2 emissions to generate a kilowatt of electricity over the entire US when calculating the Volt’s carbon footprint. This average amount of CO2 is 1.3 pounds per kilowatt hour. Therefore to move a mile the Volt will emit 0.494 pounds of CO2 per mile. The Prius will emit 0.4 pounds of CO2 to travel a mile when powered by gasoline. The Volt has 25% more CO2 emissions and is ten percent less energy efficient than the Prius. It is time for Congress to enact legislation that the EPA must use, that is based on thermodynamics rather than fantasy. This is no time for a tea party it is time that we Revolt against the Volt. Congressional Motors is a better sounding name then General Motors so instead of wasting the extra $15,000 to buy a General Motors Volt ES 230 MPG, we should all buy the Prius. After the Volt flops they will rename this car the Congressional Motors Revolt BS 45 MPG.