GM’s been talking about the groundbreaking plug-in hybrid Volt for a while, but now they’ve let the ad men and marketers (read: LIARS) start babbling, and as a consequence we’re now seeing press that suggests that the Volt gets a whopping 230 miles per gallon.
Mark Chu-Carroll over at Good Math, Bad Math explains why this is pure, unadulterated bullshit. The Volt’s cool and all, and in some circumstances could get even better mileage than that, but the mechanisms involved make traditional MPG figures pretty much useless.
The Volt leaves your house in the morning charged from the grid, and can go up to 40 miles without using any gas at all; after 40, though, the electric engine is charged by a small gas generator that will apparently produce about 50 MPG on its own. Consequently, people with short commutes might use zero gallons of gas a week, but people driving in from the burbs would use way more. Touting the 230 figure, though, is just a bunch of suits lying.