New era in motoring

NT News - Motoring - - NEWS - By STU­ART MARTIN

GM’s new Volt elec­tric car is boast­ing ul­tra-low 1.2l/100km fuel con­sump­tion fig­ures dur­ing pro­to­type test­ing.

The ‘‘range-ex­ten­der’’ plug-in elec­tric ve­hi­cle, which goes into pro­duc­tion later this year and is due in Aus­tralia with a Holden badge dur­ing 2012, uses a low-emis­sion flex-fuel en­gine to charge on-board bat­ter­ies.

GM’s early test­ing sug­gests the Volt’s city-cy­cle fuel econ­omy could be at least 230 miles per gal­lon — or 1.2 litres per 100km, based on draft EPA fed­eral fuel econ­omy method­ol­ogy for plug-in elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

GM says the Volt has the po­ten­tial to travel up to 64km on elec­tri­conly propul­sion from a sin­gle bat­tery charge, with a 480km-plus range with its flex fuel-pow­ered en­gine-gen­er­a­tor.

GM chief ex­ec­u­tive

Fritz Hen­der­son said the early fig­ures from the Volt would mean the new car is a ‘‘game-changer’’ for the brand.

‘‘From the data we’ve seen, many Chevy Volt driv­ers may be able to be in pure elec­tric mode on a daily ba­sis without hav­ing to use any gas,’’ he said.

‘‘EPA la­bels are a yard­stick for cus­tomers to com­pare the fuel ef­fi­ciency of ve­hi­cles.

‘‘So, a ve­hi­cle like the Volt that achieves a com­pos­ite triple-digit fuel econ­omy is a game-changer.’’

Ac­cord­ing to US Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion data, nearly eight of 10 Amer­i­cans com­mute fewer than 64km a day.

Mr Hen­der­son said the Volt’s high-mileage per­for­mance would re­quire plug­ging the car into the elec­tric grid at least once each day and would also de­pend on cargo, pas­sen­gers and air con­di­tioner use.

Dur­ing GM’s test­ing of pre­pro­duc­tion pro­to­types the Volt has achieved 64km of elec­tric-only, petroleum-free driv­ing in both EPA city and high­way test cy­cles.

GM ex­pects the Volt to con­sume as lit­tle as 25kW hours per 161km in city driv­ing, which would cost around 3 US cents per 1.61km, based on the av­er­age cost of U.S. elec­tric­ity.

GM says us­ing the US av­er­age cost of elec­tric­ity (about 11 US cents per kWh), a typ­i­cal Volt driver would pay about US.$2.75 ($3.25AUS) for elec­tric­ity to travel 161km.

The Volt is pow­ered pri­mar­ily by elec­tri­cal en­ergy stored in its 16 kWh lithium-ion bat­tery pack, but when the bat­tery runs low, an en­gine-gen­er­a­tor pro­duces elec­tric­ity to power the ve­hi­cle.

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