California Rules That Chevy Volt Pollutes More Than VW Diesels

According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Chevrolet’s upcoming Volt is an ultra-low emissions vehicle, or ULEV – which is great, until you realize that tailpipe emissions from Volkswagen’s line of TDI diesels, Toyota’s Prius, and Honda’s full line of Hybrids are (per CARB) significantly cleaner.

Chevy’s Volt performed well in most categories, but not concerning carbon monoxide. CO limits for SULEV status is 1.0 grams per mile (below) while ULEV is 2.1 g/mi. Volt produces 1.3 g/mi.

To be fair, CARB requires that these tests must be completed with the car’s ICE (internal combustion engine) running, and since the Volt theoretically doesn’t need to burn any gasoline on short drives it doesn’t benefit from its electric-only abilities in this test … although the same could be said of Toyota’s Prius (which has an electric-only mode good for 12 miles) which performed significantly better than the Volt in the same test, earning the Prius a better CARB rating.

There are, I am sure, dozens of ways to interpret this data, but (to me) this news – along with the Cruze’s “reduced” mpg numbers and the Volt’s “outing” as a much more conventional hybrid – seems like another chink in the armor for the new GM.

For those of you who’d like to deep-dive into the mathematics involved, you can CLICK HERE to check out the full CARB report (in PDF format).

SOURCE:  California Air Resource Board, via Autoblog.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.