2011 Volt gets stunning 230 mpg EPA rating

Chicago (IL) – The U.S. Environmental protection Agency (EPA) has given the 2011 Chevrolet Volt a fuel efficiency rating of 230 mpg, General Motors announced today.

The Chevrolet Volt has often been described as the vehicle that General Motors (GM) so desperately needs to survive. And despite being criticized for offering too little too late – it will be available more than a decade after the debut of the first hybrid vehicle in the U.S. (Honda Insight) – it clearly carries the hope of an entire industry.

GM today said that the 2011 Volt has been awarded a 230 mpg fuel efficiency rating by the EPA. The rating is based on the fact that the vehicle’s 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack can provide enough energy for a travel distance of up to 40 miles and a U.S. Department of Transportation study which claims that nearly eight of 10 Americans commute fewer than 40 miles a day. Beyond those 40 miles, the Volt has a total range of about 300 miles, provided by a “flex-fuel engine-generator”, which is powered by gasoline.

“From the data we’ve seen, many Chevy Volt drivers may be able to be in pure electric mode on a daily basis without having to use any gas,” said GM chief executive officer Fritz Henderson in a prepared statement. “EPA labels are a yardstick for customers to compare the fuel efficiency of vehicles. So, a vehicle like the Volt that achieves a composite triple-digit fuel economy is a game-changer.”

GM expects the Volt to consume as little as 25 kilowatt hours per 100 miles in city driving. At the U.S. average cost of electricity (approximately 11 cents per kWh), a typical Volt driver would pay about $2.75 for electricity to travel 100 miles, or less than 3 cents per mile, GM said.

The Volt is scheduled to begin production to in late 2010 as a 2011 model. GM said that it will also be introducing a Buick plug-in hybrid compact crossover in 2011.