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Is 230 MPG B.S.?

230mpgbsThere's no denying that the Volt is exciting green technology, and we at EcoGeek are happy to get potential buyers excited about the car. But the question has been raised (and it deserves to be addressed here) what does a 230 MPG plug-in vehicle really mean. Is it an honest attempt to help buyers determine what car to buy or is it all just B.S.?

There are a few problems with GM's claim that the Volt will be rated at 230 MPG in the city, and we're going to have to address them all separately. So, in order of validity:

  1. The EPA rules for fuel economy are draft rules, and there is no guantee that these are the numbers that will be on the car.

    This is absolutely true. GM took draft rules from the EPA, applied it to their car, and then created a gigantic advertising campaign celebrating the results. This could be an attempt by GM to force the EPA into keeping these new guidelines, or it could just be GM jumping the gun. Either way, it doesn't seem like a good idea. If this number gets into the cultural consciousness and levitra en gel then people walk onto dealer lots in two years and see the fuel economy listed at  80 / 60, people are actually going to be disappointed by 80 MPG. That's a situation GM doesn't want to put itself in.

  2. The EPA is fudging numbers because the government owns GM and thus wants GM's cars to succeed

    This isn't exactly how I'd put it...but there might be some truth here. The EPA wants Volts to sell, but they also want all plug-in cars to sell. It decrease emissions and dependence on oil. It's a win win for the EPA and the government. It is possible, thus, that the EPA will create rules that show the mileage of these cars to be higher than it will be in practical use. Additionally, this means that one modestly selling plug-in will allow car companies to hit the updated CAFE targets without even trying. I wouldn't however, say that this has anything to do with GM (or our government's ownership stake) in particular.

  3. Miles per gallon is a useless metric for plug-in vehicles

    I wouldn't call it useless, but I wouldn't call it ideal either. Europe already uses a grams of CO2 per mile metric that would be far more useful with the buy viagra pill Volt.  However, we use MPG in America right now, and absent lawmakers taking that on and creating a new standard, we can't really blame GM or the EPA for doing what they are required by law to do. We especially can't blame GM for being so far ahead of the curve that our current laws literally do not apply to their car. The EPA is struggling to find ways to make the MPG metric apply to cars that are powered in part by electricity. They've done this by determining the emissions equivalence of gasoline for the electricity used to move the car. However, because it's a conversion, it's less accurate. A better system needs to be developed. But our laws are built for MPG right now, and so are our consumers. So we're stuck with it for now.

  4. There is no way for the government to estimate the amount of pollution my car will produce because energy mixes are different everywhere.

    This is true, but it does not matter. The EPA isn't looking to give individuals a precise count of the environmental impact of their vehicle. They want to determine the cialis paypal environmental impact of ALL vehicles. So they can use the national average for CO2 per kW and, overall, it will be a very accurate measure of how much CO2 all of Volts sold in all fifty states will be producing. Just as the current MPG standards doesn't take into account whether your gasoline was pumped out of the ground 20 or 200,000 miles away, the government can use national averages for a car that will sell nationally and get numbers that are accurate enough for their purposes.

  5. Electricity is worse than gasoline anyway, since coal plants are so dirty

    Actually, per unit of energy produced, your car is about two times dirtier than the dirtiest American coal-fired power plant. Mix that with the fact that coal is only about half of America's energy mix, and you get a car that is much cleaner because of coal. I know...I don't like it any more than you do, but there it is.

  6. The Volt is vaporware. It doesn't exist and will never exist and you should stop writing about it.

    Sorry friend, but there are hundreds of hard-working people who are sinking 60 hours of their life per week into this car and your ignorance doesn't excuse your rudeness. That doesn't mean that we're sure the Volt will meet it's deadline. But GM has sunk huge amounts of resources and soft tabs viagra money into the Volt. It isn't a PR stunt, it's a car, and they want it to work.

If there are any other issues with the numbers GM is now bombarding the world with, please let me know and I'll do my best to address them. However, as I said at the beginning of this post, none of this means that the Volt isn't going to be the most efficient, most advanced, and most environmentally friendly car on the market in 2011.

Thanks to Mark Chu-Carroll at Good Math / Bad Math for starting this discussion off.

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Comments (33)Add Comment
very nice Q + A
written by John Voelcker, August 12, 2009
Hank: Very nice presentation of the main issues and your counters to them. Agree with *almost* all!

I'd add that gas mileage is a bad measure even for gasoline cars: It's not a linear scale, whereas consumption (in Europe, liters/100 km) is--and hence translates directly to financial cost.
written by Bob Wallace, August 12, 2009
2. EPA is fudging the numbers because...

You seem to be drifting into tin foil hat territory here. You really think someone from Treasury went over and leaned on the scientists at the EPA and got them to perform a stock manipulation?

3. grams of CO2 per mile metric that would be far more useful...

When I'm shopping for a new vehicle I want to know how much I'm going to be spending on fuel during the years I own it. I can't get from "grams of CO2" to my American Express statement without a lot of math.

With PHEVs one really needs to know both MPG and electric-only range.

What we really need in the showroom is a "personal use" calculator/chart. Let people plug in their percent of driving that exceeds the all-electric range.

That's not different from making a finer distinction based on city/highway mileage ratings.

5. coal is only about half of America's energy mix

And it dropped a small percentage last year.

And the percentage of electricity that we get from wind increased.

Not only is coal produced electricity surprisingly less "dirty" than pure ICE engines, it's in the early stages of being replaced with very clean electricity.

written by Ryan, August 12, 2009
I was just wondering about cost for electricity to charge your volt every night? Say for a state with rather high electric costs such as California. How much would it drive up the average consumers power bill to have to charge it up every night? In situations where lets say you only had a 20 mile commute every day, requiring you to charge it every night, would that amount of electricity cost you more than the gas it would take for that long of a commute?

The variables here would be the amount of electricity it takes to charge the battery as well as the fluctuation of gas prices. But still, i was curious...
written by AB, August 12, 2009
Technically this might be True!!!
GM (Government Motors) should lobby to change it, the sticker should state, 40 miles on a single charge and 5o MPG after that.

If they dont do that and go for 230 MPG, lots of other companies will bring in inferior plug ins (inferior to volt) and claim 100 MPGs.

There are not many cars ready for production which can match 40 Miles all electric and 50 MPG after that, if they combine the recommended site fda approves levitra two, Volt will loose the bragging rights.

written by RM, August 12, 2009
AB has it exactly right. The EPA should be using two numbers for these hybrid plug-ins:

1. Miles per charge.
2. MPG when running on the engine backup.
written by Ross, August 12, 2009
I've complained a few times about you entertaining plug in hybrids being rated in MPG. So glad to see you get a discussion going. I think you're on the right track RM, this can't be simplified to one number. I think the consumer should be given numbers that they need to use in making a decision however.

1. Estimated cost per mile (on both electricity and usa generic levitra gas)
2. Estimated pollutants (i.e. CO2) per mile (again electric and gas)
3. Electric range.

Let them drum up whatever MPG numbers they want based on driving habits, but this is what the consumer needs to know to make a decision. It may be too complicated for some, but MPG ratings on a plug in are a lot of FUD.
written by Bob Wallace, August 12, 2009
Ryan - I don't think I've seen a kWh per mile figure for the Volt. Let me use the power consumption for a Prius that was converted to plug-in. It uses 0.26 kWh per mile. (I think the Tesla uses 0.28.)

OK, 20 miles would burn up 5.2 kWh.

California residential average electricity cost was 14.21 cents per kWh. So it would cost about $0.74 to charge up for the next days drive.

That price might drop once we get smart metering and can buy less expensive "off peak" power. Demand for electricity is high during the day but drops drastically after evening hours.

By comparison a 20 MPG car would burn a gallon of gas, a 40 MPG car would burn a half gallon. At $3 per gallon you're looking at $1.50 - $3.00 vs seventy-five cents.

In Oregon a 20 mile charge would cost about $0.45, in Hawaii it would run about $1.15.

Here's some price by state data....
Drilling Oil 200,000 Miles Away?
written by Tom Saxton, August 12, 2009
Are we drilling for oil on the moon now?
MPG vs. Better Data...
written by Bob Wallace, August 12, 2009

Sure, MPG is dicey when it comes to PHEVs.

But there's an educational value in generating a MPG number to stick on the window. People are used to MPG and seeing a nice big number like 230 where they are used to seeing something like 27 will get the point across very rapidly.

99% of car buyers aren't going to understand CO2 numbers. You can educate most of them, but that's going to take time.

It would be simple to install some simple programs in the salesroom that allowed people to plug in their annual driving, the percentage of miles > electric range, and what they think gas is going to cost for the next few years.

Get their attention and then help them make a reasoned decision.
Dirty Coal Stations
written by Drew, August 12, 2009
Hi, just wondering, in your article it says about a petrol car being a lot dirtier than Americas dirtiest coal station. Just for my own benefit, what sort of figures are we talking for the dirtiest power station? ( (I don't live in the US and would like to compare what is used here with you guys). Cheers!
Using the same formula...
written by Bob Wallace, August 12, 2009

“Nissan Leaf = 367 mpg, no tailpipe, and no gas required. Oh yeah, and it’ll be affordable too,” the folks over at Nissan’s electric vehicle Twitter feed wrote today. About an hour later, they added this statement: “To clarify our previous tweet, the DOE formula estimates 367mpg for Nissan LEAF.”

DOE? EPA? Both?

Anyone got a link to the formula?
Dual numbers don't capture the story, either
written by David, August 12, 2009
With two motors this will always be a fudge. However, a responsible methodology might be to use averages, and make some logical assumptions.

Example: according to one source, the average commute is 16 miles each way. In a year that's 8320 miles. Average travel per year is 15K, so we have 6680 miles left to divvy up into drives over 40 miles and under 40 miles.

If we make the assumption that our consumer is 'average', then more than likely they will not use gas for their commute to work at all.

We could then use statistics on holiday travel by car to determine some of the longer trips they'll take, where the travel will be almost all gas-powered.

With that, we could calculate an estimated annual expenditure. And then it's not that big a leap to take that annual gas consumption, divide it by total distance travelled, and call that the mileage. And it's not really inaccurate, as that really is the average mileage.

And if what people are interested in is how much they will spend, it's even a 'good' measure.

But to have a truly informed consumer, the electric distance and the ICE mileage will need to be on there too.
written by Bob Wallace, August 12, 2009
Drew - Here's a couple of sites that might help answer your question.

The first lists 10 of the dirtiest plants around the world, and the US is well represented. (UK got one of theirs on the list as well.)

And if you want to dive deeper into the issue, this site should give you lots of data....
Next cut the cord and turn parked cars into power plants!
written by Mark Goldes, August 12, 2009
The VOLT opens the door to appreciation of better hybrid designs. Now consider the next step.

Magnetic generators will initially make it possible to cut the cord on a plug-in hybrid so it no longer needs to plug-in. Later, they can replace the canadian pharmacy batteries in an electric car. Then, the MagGen can run when the car is parked and sell power to the utility. Prototypes are under development.

Next is a Self Powered Internal Combustion Engine - SPICE, which will replace hybrid engines. It will need no fuel and cialis prices is another path to ending the need to plug-in. The engine can run when parked. SPICE is at an early stage and already has spun off devices that could be retrofit to existing vehicles and promise a substantial improvement in fuel mileage.

Both systems will be able to wirelessly transmit and sell power to the local utility.

The SPICE will be powered by fractional Hydrogen - which lets a barrel of water equal hundreds of barrels of oil.

Scientists and engineers will doubt these technologies are possible until validation by Independent Laboratories, an important step on the agenda.

A competitor announced today independent validation of fractional Hydrogen at Rowan University.

Until now, car ownership has been an expense. Payments to car owners driving a hybrid with a SPICE, or powered by MagGen, are likely to be substantial.

Parked cars each will become decentralized power plants - a rapid, cost-effective path to catalyze reduction of the need for fuel and coal burning power plants.

And a rebirth of the auto industry and the economy!
The Formula
written by Hank, August 12, 2009
@Bob - Unfortunately, no one's got the formula except for the car companies. GM talked about it a bit in their press release, and it should be pretty easy to reverse engineer the numbers for the electric portion from what Nissan's saying. Maybe I'll get to work on that.

Also - Of course the Leaf gets fantastic gas mileage...I'm really excited about that car. Unfortunately, the range extender is, in my mind, what really makes the Volt practical.
written by Bob Wallace, August 12, 2009
Hank - different strokes for ....

The Leaf is reported to have a 100 mile all-electric range and can take an 80% recharge in 30 minutes at a specialized charging station. For lots of people, once the charging stations exist, the Leaf would be practical.

I typically drive 100-150 miles per trip (round trip to town). If I could charge up at home and cialis online australia then quickly boost back up to an 80 mile range I'd be set.

I agree that the Volt with it's ability to switch to gas is more practical right now, but I'm not sure that the extra cost is going to justified for lots of drivers.

If the Leaf comes to market in the mid $20k range and gets a government assist of a few thousand, sales are likely to be large. And that will help create rapid charging stations.

Interesting times ahead....
Let's not overlook China's BYD...
written by Bob Wallace, August 12, 2009

“Our goal is to introduce BYD electric vehicles here in 2011 and set up our manufacturing facilities in U.S. when it is appropriate,” Chua-Fu said as he unveiled the vehicles at the Detroit auto show.

"The lineup will include the F3DM, the world’s first mass-produced plug-in hybrid sedan, which went on sale in China last year, and the battery-powered e6, a mid-size five-passenger crossover vehicle with a range of up to 250 miles on a single charge."


"...the BYD enough power to drive 62 miles without using a drop of gas. Unlike most other battery alternatives, a user can quick-charge the vehicle and achieve half the electric range in just 10 minutes at a special charging station

BYD's PHEV apparently sells for around $22k in China.
written by K1 Visa, August 12, 2009
The federal government will start charging a fee per mile based on a GPS system since they will lose federal gas tax revenue. They will also be able to track the movement of all americans.
Cost is the way to go: GPM+WhPM
written by Carl Hage, August 12, 2009
Why do all these blogs just regurgitate quotes without any links to the material being discussed? This is frustrating-- where is the draft EPA guideline? I spent 20 minutes vainly searching. What we don't know is if electricity consumption in the volt is ignored, or is there a kWh to gasoline-gallon conversion assumed?

Really, the best measure is $/1000mi or some such thing (use a 3 digit measure e.g. 035 means $.035/mi or $35/K-mi). Separating gas vs electric cost would be useful to make adjustments easy. Some annually adjusted fuel cost assumptions would need to be made. Electricity should probably be night rate, with some table for other rates.

Looks like the new EPA stickers will include annual cost estimate-- multiply by 10 and you get an approximate lifetime cost. (It was $21K in the sample sticker, typical of current cars.)

Assuming cost is a valid conversion, we could convert kWh to gasoline at either average residential cost or special EV-rates, but roughly going to come out 6-1, e.g. 30MPG gas car might be about 180MPG in night-electric cost equivalence.
(A Tesla would get 240MPG.) But MPG is a bad unit.

Measuring mi/$ or MPG makes calculations, adjustments, etc. complicated. I wish the EPA would switch to the gal/K-mi. But $/year is perhaps a better comparison for shoppers.

Yes, MPG is a bad measure and makes less sense in a hybrid or EV, but that's been the commonplace measure for plug-in conversions way before GM announced anything, e.g. the 100MPG Prius paint-job (ignoring electric cost). The 100MPG number is certainly arbitrary-- not even based on an EPA test, and actual measurements by NREL show much less MPG, but varying wildly depending on driving habits.

There is some truth in ignoring electricity in a hybrid, though. For simplicity, consider a normal Prius to be 50MPG, gas $3/g, so that's .020GPM or $.06/M. Assume battery consumption to be 5mi/kWh. In California, the night-rate for EVs is about $.05/kWh (not the average of .14), so that's .01/M. So claiming 100MPG ignoring electricity is like claiming $.03/M vs $.035/M. Because the Volt assumes a greater percentage of electric only, ignoring electric cost is more bogus (maybe 2X off).

With a parallel hybrid like a plug-in Prius, the battery/motor is wimpy (small and cheap), so the gas engine is used to accelerate, and computing city mileage is more tricky. If you have a 4kWh battery (and assuming EV-only uses 5mi/kWh) if your commute is 20mi/day, that doesn't mean you use 4kWh and no gas. If you eliminate acceleration, then the battery might deliver 10 or 15 mi/kWh (I don't know the real number), so to get the full benefit of a 4kWh/day battery, the commute might need to be 50mi-- a 2kWh battery might be just as good.

The hidden message in the post is that the EPA is working up measures to deal with plug-in and EVs. That's good. The only problem is that the last News post from the EPA fuel economy web site was from 2006!
written by Bob Wallace, August 12, 2009

The guvment goin' to find out I done went to Hooters!

More likely road use fees will be based on annual miles driven. Lots of states already require an annual safety inspection and odometers can be read then.

It makes no sense to do all the data collecting and maintain all that hardware that a GPS based system would require.

The places who don't do an annual inspection could require you drop by DMV every year or two and viagra now online have someone peer in your window.

(Remember to put your pants on. ;o)

written by Tom Lakosh, August 12, 2009
The EPA formula appears to be totally irrelevant to public conceptions of mpg and must be amended to better reflect actual fuel comsumption in the hybrid mode but additional information for consumers should be provided as well: kwh/mile with/in electric only range for both city & highway; kwh to gallon of gas equivalent conversion factor; mpg with/in hybrid only range for both city & highway; mpg equivalent over 300 miles continuous driving for both city & highway. It's this last figure that combines electricity and direct fuel use in continuous driving that people could best equate to mpg for ICE vehicles and should be used for fleet CAFE compliance.

Most electric vehicles will only serve the levitra generic brand second car market and PHEVs will hopefully evolve into a combination of the gas turbine charged design of ETV Motors with an added Organic Rankin Cycle generator using waste heat as Honda is developing. We'll all be fueling up with propane, CNG or hydrogen in these 65% efficent vehicles. ICEs are only 25% efficient and I doubt Volt exceeds 40% over the 300 mile range.
written by Tom Lakosh, August 13, 2009
Bob; I get your drift on average use statistics but what the consumer wants to know is jow far s/he will get on a tank of fuel and that is represented by average fuel use given continuous driving for a set distance approximating the common fuel tank range ~300 mi.
The rest of the world actually uses Liquid Petroleum Gas as its most common alternate fuel, we call it propane and it's sold in about as many places in the US as diesel because there are more gas barbeques than diesel cars. When I was quoting a 65% efficiency for a gas turbine hybrid with ORC heat capture, I was estimating a conservative hybrid only mode efficiency. If you add the battery only range to that, you could probably run for over 250 mi on a 5 gal propane tank.
written by Brendan, August 13, 2009
The EPA estimates are usually a bunch of baloney. Anyone who reads car magazines like I do commonly notice the discrepencies between the EPA and actual performance.

When it comes to the Volt, I don't understand why MPG are important...I know it was explained in the article, but I'd rather know how many miles the thing gets per charge.
written by Bob Wallace, August 13, 2009
On the current Chevy Volt page there is a short blurb on "230". In the second paragraph they indicate that the electricity used is figured into the EPAs mileage calculation.

(Can't C&P from the page. Right click isn't working.)

I can copy this from their Facebook page...

Big news today as we announce Volt can achieve 230 mpg in city driving based on draft EPA methodology, and more importantly, we expect a combined (city/highway) mpg rating of more than 100 mpg when charged daily. seo=goo_|_2009_Chevy_Awareness_|_IMG_Chevy_Volt_Phase_2
written by John Rowell, August 13, 2009
Why not a double figure - MPG for the fuel component, and miles per charge for the EV component. Like this - if the buy discount levitra online car travels 40 miles electrically before the engine kicks in, and then gets 50 MPG from that point on, let's rate it as 40P (40 miles EV mode, then 50 MPG). We don't need to measure fuel equivalency for the electric-only mode, because electric motors are all generally the same efficiency, which is in all cases far higher than gas.
written by Bob Wallace, August 13, 2009
It could work, but isn't it more convenient to have a single number?

Let's remember that the MPG on that Hummer you're looking at is only an "average for the typical driver". It assumes you aren't blasting away from every stop, hypermiling, riding around with half inflated tires or a mattress strapped to your roof, ....

I'm still sayin' we need lots of numbers.

One big one that summarizes everything for the average driver and then all the other numbers so that us different than average folks can adjust to our situation.

I want a quick comparison number plus fuel only MPG plus electricity per mile numbers.

If the super-slick Aptera ever makes it to market it's likely to have a significantly lower electricity per mile rating than the boxier BYD. The electricity number might be fairly meaningful for someone like me who lives off the grid and pays a lot more per kWh than other people.

written by bluemonkey, August 16, 2009
The battery pack itself, rated at 16 kilowatts/hour, comprises more than 220 separate cells wired in series. That means the failure of any one cell disables the entire array, though some existing hybrid vehicles also have this flaw. The Volt pack is about six feet long and buy viagra on line weighs a hefty 375 pounds.
Voltage: 320 – 350 V
100% recharge time:
110V outlet: 6 – 6.5 h
Electromotor: 45kW
GM also claims the 2011 Chevrolet Volt can run solely on electric power for 40 miles with a full battery charge. That’s in line with studies showing that most Americans drive only about 40 miles a day, so in theory at least, a Volt could go for weeks without using a drop of gas or spewing any CO2. But some analysts think the real-world electric range will be closer to 30 miles and probably less, depending on vehicle speed, ambient temperature (which affects battery performance), and whether trips include steep grades.
After how many recharge cycles (DAYS) the Battery Pack 16KW/H with 220 separate cells wired in series, weighting 375 pounds, HAS TO BE REPLACED WITH A BRAND NEW ONE?
If this car will be used as a normal hybrid car:
If the battery pack is fully charged overnight, the fuel tank filled with gasoline (gasoline pump shuts off) and the car is driven non stop 230 miles:
Going beyond Hybrid, GM and his rescuers are going down a cliff.
written by Bob Wallace, August 16, 2009
1. & 2. 10 years, 150,000 warranty.

They extend the cheap quality viagra battery life by never deeply discharging it.

I would expect a much better battery to be available before the 10 year period is over and for battery prices to significantly drop. I wouldn't be surprised if people were not replacing their batteries before they wear out, just to get more all electric range.

3. 40 miles on electric. 50MPG after that.

230 - 40 = 190/50 = 3.8 gallons.

4. Lithium batteries are not sensitive to cold as are some other batteries (lead acid, for example).

(Your writing style is hard to read.)
Coverage of the o f AFS Trinity Power Proposed New SUV?
written by Richard Fletcher, August 18, 2009
you did a great job on the volt coverage, the would you be willing to cover the new proposed SUV from AFS Trinity Power,which allegedly gets 750 miles per gallon as a hybrid?smilies/wink.gif
2 Numbers Per Fuel Source
written by Ecir Nodnarb, August 18, 2009
This isn't rocket science. There are only so many variables here. Depending on which fuels the vehicle can support:

1.Give us city/highway numbers
for electricity in MPC(miles per charge)!
2.Give us city/higway numbers
for diesel in MPG!
3.Give us city/highway numbers
for gasoline in MPG!
4.Give us city/highway numbers
for ethanol in MPG!

Wow! Problem solved.

The EPA has established the 2 number rating system with a third "average" rating. Let's drop the "average" rating because no one drives the same city/highway ratio. This number is misleading. Publish the formula instead and just give us the cheap real viagra england city and highway numbers! Now all that's needed is for Google Maps to tell us which roads are "city" roads and which roads on our commute are "highway" roads. I guess it would be based on speed limit criteria. Another ambiguity to excise from the government "ratings".
written by Bob Wallace, August 18, 2009

No. Don't drop the 'one number'.

Sure. List all the other numbers. Geeks and car buffs will look at all the other numbers and make their considered decisions.

But a single number will get the attention of the wary.

There will be folks who are scared of PHEVs/EVs because they are 'new' and new stuff scares a lot of people.

But hit them with "230 MPG" and they'll stop and think. Especially if they've just put $30, $40, $50 worth of gas in their current ride.

Give them the attention grabber and then in plain English "Your Mileage May Vary".

Then give people a chart, little electronic device, whatever that will let them plug in their personal driving characteristic and they will be able to make a well informed decision.
Science Teacher
written by Holly Turner, August 20, 2009
As so often the case with new things, unforeseen problems arise. What impact will all these spent batteries have on the environment? Will they be shipped to India and China to ooze their toxic waste into their waterways? What about the manufacture of the batteries in the first place? Nickel, cadmium, lithium. Are these minerals just laying around? Doesn't the mining and manufacturing of batteries create an environmental nightmare of their own? http://www.minesandcommunities....php?a=441
And what about the supply of lithium? It is predicted that the demand for lithium will outstrip the availability of current resources, driving up the price dramatically.

We have many kinks to work out before we can say we have a solution. The U.S. needs to understand that we are not the only people on the planet and everything we do affects the rest of the world, good or bad.
It not that complicated!
written by Justin Pigott, September 25, 2009
Currently on ICE vehicles we are told how big the gas tank is, and the MPG in the city and on the highway. From that we can determine for ourselves how far we can drive and how much it is going to cost us based on current gas prices.

For PHEVs we would still need these numbers for the fuel burning part of the vehicle and then additionally we would need the same data for the electric part of the vehicle - KWHR capacity of a single charge, miles per KWHR. From that we can determine how far we can travel on electricy only and how much that electricity is going to cost us based on current rates.

You can't just state a total distance of electric only travel because at some point you are going to have 2 vehicles that go 40 miles on electricity but one will have to use significantly more electricity to accomplish the same 40 miles due to being a heavier vehicle or less efficient or less aerodynamic... You have to have a miles per KWHR metric.

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