While space aficionados lament budget cuts to NASA and the U.S. space program, Chevrolet Volt owners have already reached the planet Mars.
Not literally, of course. (Otherwise, the Mars probe Curiosity would have some real curious pictures to go viral on the Internet!) According to Chevrolet, owners of the plug-in electric car with its range-extender engine have cumulatively driven 150 million miles, the distance between the Earth to the red planet.
The Chevrolet Volt has a EPA-estimated MPGe range of 98, which is higher than the 93 figure given when the Volt originally went on sale as a 2011 model. MPGe, or miles-per-gallon equivalent, is the measurement used by the EPA when comparing the fuel economy figures of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids versus the more conventional gas-powered engine, with roughly 33 kWh equaling one gallon of gas.
The 2013 Volt travels up to 38 miles on electricity alone before the 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine kicks on. Unlike conventional hybrids like the Toyota Prius, the engine does not move the wheels. Instead, the Volt’s gasoline engine is attached to a generator which in turn recharges the depleted battery. Locomotives use a similar system to move on their tracks. With its battery fully charged and gas tank full, the Chevy Volt can travel nearly 390 miles before needing to refuel.
Many Volt owners have had no need to visit the gas station. By staying within the 38 mile range and recharging the hatchback’s lithium-ion batteries regularly, many are traveling 900 miles between fill-ups. Some Volt owners have driven thousands of miles: Brent Waldrep of Auburn Hills, Mich., for example, averages 9,000 to 10,000 miles before feeling the need to stop for gas.
Says Cristi Landy, marketing director for the Chevrolet Volt, “We’ve seen and heard from our Volt owners that they are achieving fantastic performance numbers with their vehicle as many are beating the EPA label estimates. Our Volt owners are showing the performance potential of driving electric, and having fun doing it.”