As we make our way through the maze of alternative fuels, there is one type of vehicle that acts as our seeing-eye dog: range-extended EVs. These cars, like the Chevy Volt and BMW i3, give us the gasoline-free driving of an EV with a gasoline-fueled generator that kicks in if the car’s batteries run out of juice. Chevy recently revealed its second-generation Volt along with its estimated range and fuel economy, and today, the EPA has revealed that Chevy was quite conservative with its estimates.
When Chevy debuted the redesigned Volt, it put the total EV range at 50 miles and the total driving range at 400 miles. This resulted in ratings of 102 mpg-e combined on batteries only and 41 mpg combined when running the 1.5-liter generator. All of these numbers seemed great at first, but the official EPA numbers make things even better.
At the end of testing, EPA numbers show that the Volt can travel up to 53 miles on a single charge, giving it a combined rating of 106 mpg-e, and 420 miles with a full charge and a full tank of gasoline. With the 1.5-liter four-cylinder generator, which now runs on regular gasoline instead of premium, is running, the Volt is still thrifty at 42 mpg combined. This means that Volt owners will be able to enjoy huge fuel savings whether they are driving on pure electric power or with the aid of the gasoline-powered generator.
For those worrying about charging times, it’s not too bad as long as you have a 240-volt charger. With this, it takes about 4.5 hours to recharge the Volt. If you’re running a 120-volt system, the charge time rises to about 13 hours.
On top of being fuel efficient, the Volt is also a decent performer. Its electric drive system churns out 149 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque. This allows the 2016 Volt to hit 60 mph in just 8.4 seconds and top out at an electronically limited 98 mph.
The Volt should hit dealers in the fall of 2015 with a starting price of $33,995 before federal credits. If you qualify for the full $7,500 credit, you can have the Volt for the equivalent of $26,495.