Human Journey

230 MPG… Can It Be True?


General Motors (GM) announced today that the new Chevy Volt electric car could get up to 230 miles per gallon (MPG) under new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for electric cars. (The EPA gave the Toyota Prius a 51 MPG rating, according to

The Volt, expected to launch in 2010 and cost around $40,000, is part of a new fleet of electric vehicles–coming from GM and other car companies–that some experts predict could make up 10 percent of car sales by 2013.

GM’s Volt will allow a driver to go 40 miles on a lithium-ion battery, with range-extension beyond that fueled by gas or other fuels.

According to the handy Plug-in Vehicle Tracker on Plug-In America’s Web site, only two electric cars are now widely available in the U.S.: Commuter Cars’s tiny Tango T600 EV, a two-passenger commuter car that sells for about U.S. $108,000, and the Tesla Roadster, which also carries a $100,000-plus price tag. (Read more on the Green Guide Blog.)

Nissan Motor Co. responded to GM’s Volt announcement today by saying the LEAF, Nissan’s new all-electric plug-in hatchback, would get a 367 miles-per-gallon rating under the new EPA guidelines the Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Prototype electric cars have been around since the early 1900s, so why aren’t electric cars on the road en masse now?

The cost of batteries, and their relatively short lifespan, as well as a lack of urgency to go gas free, according to experts. (Read more on NGM Blog Central.)

–Tasha Eichenseher

Tasha Eichenseher is the Environment Producer and Editor for National Geographic Digital Media. She has covered water issues for a wide range of media outlets, including E/The Environment Magazine, Environmental Science & Technology online news, Greenwire, Green Guide, and National Geographic News.
  • iPad

    Not sure how many Volt’s will sell. It has a very high price tag, it is in the range of a luxury car, only its more like a mid size economy car.
    Most older people and people making a decent income won’t buy the car and green minded people can’t afford it. It is also not a good pick for people that commute more than 40 miles. The 40 mile number is also based on surface streets. Drive on the freeway and its even less miles to the charge.
    The Toyota and Honda hybrids have sold, but those cars are not cost effective when you compare gas savings to just buying a Yaris or other cheap car. The Volt is really out there when it comes to the price tag.
    I hope GM hasn’t promised it’s employees a bonus on sales.
    Best of luck GM.
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  • EcoTerra Enterprises

    We should be more concerned about how the electricity to charge these cars is generated. In many places, it’s most likely going to be coming from a coal fired power plant.
    What we need to be promoting is PV panels on buildings before we push all-electric cars. If buildings could be supplying the energy to charge the cars while they are sitting in parking lots, it would have much more impact. Otherwise we are just trading one type of carbon emission for another.

  • savvycollector

    Lack of urgency for an electric car? Shall we say lack of persuasion to override the petroleum industry’s strong lobby? “Who Killed the Electric Car” demonstrates that the demand for an electric car was present. However, dominion was not held by consumers clamoring for this form of transportation.

  • The Window Man

    I wish car manufacturers would focus on more of a “consumer” model car. This is pretty impressive; however, its price tag isn’t for everyone.
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  • teppy

    Volt is powered by an electric motor, an innovative water pump and a battery pack with a 40-mile range. and as GM claims that they have developed a commercial car that gets 5 times the gas mileage of toyota models.

  • Viru

    The last sentance of this article is absolutely right. The ‘lack of urgency’ is why there are not a mass of electric cars on our roads today. From an environmental point of view there is a MASSIVE urgency for such cars to be on the roads – but unfortunatley, once again money is king. There is simply too much money to be made from gas by the corporate world and while the gas reserves are not going to run out for another 20 years or so, i fear this will not change anytime soon. This really gets me down!
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  • Linda

    Though this is a credit for those who care about environment, I feel there should be a proper negotiation in price in order to convince people. Good Job anyway!!
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  • Fabio Dantas

    Thanks for sharing this article really its worth for reading it!descontos . blog do fabio . famosas

  • james lee

    This is so amazing how this car can go 230 MPG. I think everybody should get a car like this in the future. This would definitely drop the gas prices so fast. This would be good to see.
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  • John

    Great Invention. When the product is good in quality there is no issue in spending hard for it. I m gonna get one for me right now.
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