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Chevrolet Volt will get 93 mpg-e in electric mode, 60 mpg overall, says EPA

EPA

A day after the federal government released the fuel economy rating for the all-electric Nissan Leaf, the numbers for the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt are out.

The 2011 model Volt came in at 60 mpg, but that’s just an overall number, an average of sorts of the vehicle’s fuel economy over its lifetime. How it actually runs will depend on each driver’s individual habits, executives said.

“If there was a simpler way to tell the story, we would have come up with it,” said Doug Parks, global vehicle line executive for the Volt, in a conference call.

Unlike the Leaf, which will be solely powered by a battery, the Volt also has a backup gas engine that drivers will switch to when their electrical supply runs down.

That required the Environmental Protection Agency to release a more complicated label than the one it revealed Tuesday for the Leaf, which garnered a record-breaking 99 mpg-equivalent, or mpge, rating.

The rating for electric cars is measured by converting power use based on the energy content in a gallon of gasoline, allowing potential buyers to stack the vehicles up against other autos in the same segment.

In its electric stage, the Volt will get the equivalent of 93 mpg – a combination of its 95 mpge number for city driving and 90 mpge number for highway driving. A charged battery will take the car 35 miles, according to the government agency, though Chevrolet has said a single charge is good for up to 50 miles.

Once the vehicle switches over to the gas-powered backup, it will reach 37 mpg overall, or 35 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. Gasoline can take the Volt another 344 miles in so-called “extended range.”

So drivers could go 379 miles on a full tank of gas and a charged battery.

Driving the Volt will cost consumers $601 a year while operating exclusively on electricity and $1,302 relying only on gas, according to the EPA.

Production models of the Volt are currently being built and will be shipped to customers starting in December.

“Its technology defies easy classifications,” said Tony DiSalle, Chevrolet product marketing director in the conference call. “It’s important to look at this holistically, as the combination of all these elements.”

Chevrolet has posted a breakdown here.

RELATED:

EPA gives Nissan Leaf a rating equivalent to 99 mpg

Review: Chevy Volt -- electrifying

-- Tiffany Hsu

 
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