Do extended range electric cars and plug-in hybrids really save energy and make an environmental difference like all-electric vehicles? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ if enough zero-emission miles are driven. To that end, the latest news from Chevrolet is encouraging: Since Chevy’s Volt extended range electric was introduced in 2010, Volt owners have reportedly driven more than a half a billion all-electric miles, resulting in no localized emissions over those miles and a pretty huge petroleum offset. In fact, Volt owners are spending some 63 percent of their time in EV mode.
All electric miles are even higher in an independent study managed by Idaho National Labs and conducted during the last half of 2013. Volt drivers participating in the Department of Energy’s EV Project totaled 1,198,114 vehicle trips during the six month period from July through December, 2013, with 81.4 percent of these trips completed without use of the Volt’s gasoline-powered generator.
Battery-only driving range is also proving to be better than projected. A GM study conducted over 30 months that focused on more than 300 Volts in California shows many Volt owners are exceeding EPA’s estimates of 35 miles of EV range per full charge. About 15 percent are surpassing 40 miles of all-electric range. GM data also illustrates that Volt owners who charge regularly typically drive more than 970 miles between fill-ups and visit the gas station less than once a month. The 2014 Volt features EPA estimated 98 MPGe fuel economy when running in electric mode and 35 city/40 highway on gasoline power.
Some interesting trivia: Since the Volt’s launch in 2010, more than 25 million gallons of gasoline have been saved by Volt drivers. Chevy also likes to point out that 69 percent of those buying a Volt are new to the GM brand and of those trading in a vehicle during purchase, the most frequent trade-in is a Toyota Prius. The Volt was named Green Car Journal’s 2011 Green Car of the Year®.