Who Revived the Electric Car?

G.M. claims the electric Chevy Volt will get 230 miles per gallon.© Chevrolet

On Tuesday, August 11, General Motors (G.M.) announced they are finally releasing the much-anticipated electric Chevrolet Volt. Described by Wired magazine, the electric car is run on "A 16 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery [that] provides juice to a 100-kilowatt electric motor. The 1.4-liter gasoline engine drives a 53-kilowatt generator to keep the electric motor going as the battery approaches depletion." There are now 30 Volt prototypes and it is scheduled for release in 2011. G.M. announced that the Volt will get 230 miles per gallon.

That claim is based off of a new rating methodology developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), though the EPA has not yet tested the car itself. The car can last 40 miles on battery charge alone, which surpasses the commuting distance of nearly eight in 10 Americans, according to the Department of Transportation.

"If you are the Volt target guy who is driving under 40 miles per day," Jack Nerad, executive editorial director of Kelley Blue Book told The New York Times, "then theoretically your miles per gallon is infinite."

While the EPA has not yet verified G.M.’s impressive mileage numbers, it has given them the green thumbs up, saying it "does applaud G.M.’s commitment to designing and building the car of the future—an American-made car that will save families money, significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create good-paying American jobs."

The only snag for consumers may be the presumed $40,000 price tag, although G.M. anticipates lower prices in years to come. They also remind consumers that the Volt comes with a $7,500 tax break.

Sources: ENN; New York Times;wheels.blogs.nytimes.com; Wired Magazine.