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Chevy Volt Requires Premium Fuel

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On: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 3:14PM | By: Chris Weiss

Chevy Volt Requires Premium Fuel

Despite previously offering (exaggerated) fuel economy claims of as much as 230 miles per gallon, GM confirmed today that the Volt will be a little less frugal than some may have hoped. The Volt requires premium fuel to run its 1.4-liter range-extending four-cylinder engine. According to Edmunds, the premium fuel will jump fueling costs by 10 percent over regular fuel, based on today's fuel prices.

Spokesman Adam Denison explained: "The Volt's unique architecture causes the onboard engine to act more like a generator. As such, premium fuel is required to maximize fuel efficiency. The use of premium fuel in the Volt increases fuel efficiency by 5 percent or greater over the use of regular fuel. Simply put, premium fuel optimizes this engine's characteristics. Basically, with reduced fuel consumption a key objective, premium fuel is the right solution for the Volt."

While the premium fuel requirement isn't great news for future Volt consumers—or GM—it isn't as much of an issue as it might seem. Chevy designed the Volt to deliver enough unassisted electrical driving to address the majority of day-to-day commuting needs. According to the company, the Volt's 40-mile electric range is enough to transport 75 percent of U.S. workers to their jobs each day. The gas engine kicks in only after the batteries have been depleted, so commuters wjp drive short distances each day won't need to add gas very often.

The Volt's electrical propulsion comes from a 111 kW motor that is powered by lithium-ion batteries. The 80-hp gas engine serves as a generator when the battery pack is depleted, providing electricity to power the motor. It's said to extend the range of the vehicle by about 300 miles.

Last year, GM created a big media buzz when it prematurely announced the Volt's fuel economy rating at 230 mpg. Criticisms immediately followed the announcement, claiming that the figure was innaccurate and exaggerated since a plug-in electric doesn't exactly fit into the "miles-per-gallon" mold. The EPA later decided to change the proposed testing methodology that GM had used to deduce that figure, and the automaker is awaiting the new EPA procedure before announcing an official number.

The Volt goes on sale in November in the United States, with sales set to spread gradually across the country beginning in California. GM announced earlier this week that the car will cost $41,000 and will have a $350/month lease option.

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