The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been in the news a lot lately, especially when it comes to the alternative fuel segment. Recently, reported on the EPA rating of the 2011 Nissan LEAF and the controversy it has caused among some automotive journalists. Right on the heals of the LEAF’s rating comes the 2011 Chevrolet Volt’s EPA rating—a rating that makes it the most fuel efficient compact car tested by the EPA.

Just to be clear, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2011 Nissan LEAF aren’t on an even playing field. The LEAF is an all-electric zero-emission vehicle, where as, the Volt is a plug-in hybrid. The 2011 Chevrolet Volt runs on completely electric power up to a certain point and then switches over to the gasoline engine which then basically acts like a large generator to keep the battery at a minimum charge level. So how far can you go on a fully charged batter before you the vehicle has to switch over to “range-extend” mode? The EPA says the Volt has a 35-mile range on electricity alone. Of course, with the gasoline engine on-board you aren’t limited to just 35 miles. The EPA says the Volt will go 379 miles with both gasoline and electric power.

Another interesting part of 2011 Chevrolet Volt is the EPA fuel efficiency sticker that it comes equipped with—the only sticker to have three different mileage ratings. The Miles Per Gallon Equivalent (MPGe) for the Volt is rated at 93 mpg (electricity only). If the car is powered solely by the gasoline engine, then the Volt is rated at 37 mpg. Of course, then the last combination is electric and gasoline power, which yields a combined EPA rating of 60 mpg. With the EPA ratings, the Volt would cost on average $601 per year on electric power only and $1302 on average on gasoline power only.

Bottom line—the Volt represents the best compromise on the market for consumers looking to lessen their environmental impact when driving, but also still need the freedom to travel more than 75-100 miles at a time before having to wait a half a day for the vehicle to recharge. It is no wonder the 2011 Chevrolet Volt has won numerous awards already.


[Source: Automotive News]