Claims fuel economy battle
It’s Leaf v Volt in fuel war, writes PAUL GOVER
TWO of the world’s most frugal cars are involved in an economy battle long before they make it to showrooms. The GM Volt is claimed to have an impressive 1.02 litres for 100km fuel consumption, but Nissan says its all-electric Leaf will do even better at an astounding 0.6409 litres/ 100km.
But the biggest — and so far unanswered — question is how the two companies arrived at their economy claims.
The Leaf runs on electricity so how can it even claim a petrol-style fuel figure?
And the Volt is a range-extending hybrid, which packs an onboard petrol engine but only uses it to charge its battery pack. As yet, no one has even revealed the size of the fuel tank in the Volt.
The new numbers come from the US where the Environmental Protection Agency is working on a draft test to rate the fuel economy of plugin electric vehicles. It wants a system that will give comparative figures against regular unleaded and dieselfuel cars, and hybrids.
Nissan has yet to reveal the detailed testing of the Leaf but GM, which plans to eventually sell the Volt as a Holden, is being more open. It says it will travel 64km from a single electric charge, or 480km with its flex-fuel generator in action.
Neither brand is talking about the fine detail of their green machines, but Nissan is hinting at a price in the $37,000 to $40,000 range for the Leaf. GM’s pricing has slipped to about $55,000.
Even so, GM president Fritz Henderson describes the Volt as a ‘‘game-changer’’ for the brand.
‘‘From the data we’ve seen, many Chevy Volt drivers may be able to use pure electric mode on a daily basis without having to use any gas,’’ Henderson says.
He believes the new EPA system will be good news for consumers.
‘‘EPA labels are a yardstick for customers to compare the fuel efficiency of vehicles. So, a vehicle like the Volt that achieves a compo- site triple-digit fuel economy is a game-changer.’’
Henderson says the Volt’s performance requires plugging the car into the electric grid at least once a day and also depends on cargo, passengers and the use of airconditioning.
During GM’s testing of preproduction prototypes, the Volt achieved 64km of electric-only, petroleum-free driving.
the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf are being cited as leaders in fuel economy long before they go on sale.