Troubled auto giant General Motors said Tuesday its new electric sedan, the Chevrolet Volt, will be marketed in 2011 as the first mass produced vehicle capable of achieving three-digit fuel savings.
It said the Volt was expected to achieve city fuel economy of at least 230 miles per gallon (370 kilometers per 3.8 liters), based on development testing using government fuel economy methodology for labeling for plug-in electric vehicles.
"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," said GM chief executive Fritz Henderson.
The Volt, which is scheduled to start production in late 2010 as a 2011 model, is expected to travel up to 40 miles (64 kilometers) on electricity from a single battery charge, the company said.
It may be able to extend its overall range to more than 300 miles (483 kilometers) with its flex fuel-powered engine-generator, it added.
"So, a vehicle like the Volt that achieves a composite triple-digit fuel economy is a game-changer," Henderson said.
According to US Department of Transportation data, nearly eight of 10 Americans commute fewer than 40 miles a day.
"The key to high-mileage performance is for a Volt driver to plug into the electric grid at least once each day," Henderson said.
The Volt is part of a trend in the beleaguered US automobile industry to move towards smaller, more environmentally friendly cars as customers abandon large and fuel-guzzling sport-utility vehicles.
GM is now majority owned by the US government after it emerged from bankruptcy on July 10.
(c) 2009 AFP
Explore further: Can we turn unwanted carbon dioxide into electricity?