For the last few weeks, we've been seeing a mysterious teaser ad all over the web. The ad simply displayed the number 230 (the "0" represented by a smiling electrical outlet) and a date. Well today's the day and the secret is revealed. The number 230 is significant because the Chevrolet Volt plug-in series hybrid has received an EPA estimated 230 city miles per gallon.
If that number sounds a little high to you, remember that for about the first 40 miles of driving on a full charge, the Volt uses no fuel. And once the batteries are low on juice, the gasoline generator kicks in to sustain the charge, not to motivate the vehicle--as is the case in parallel and two-mode hybrid.
The EPA has had to completely rethink its fuel economy standard for extended-range EVs like the Volt. For the Volt, that drafted number is based on combined electric only driving and charge sustaining mode with the gasoline generator running, although how much driving of each mode is still under wraps. The new draft works in GM's favor as the automaker now has bragging rights the the first ever triple digit fuel economy rating.
In addition to new fuel economy numbers, the new EPA stickers may also feature electric efficiency ratings. The Volt will consume 25 kW/hours per 100 miles.
Update: The EPA has subsequently stated that it hasn't actually tested the Volt to confirm or refute GM's claims.