Sometimes the government boggles me. The EPA has just given the Nissan Leaf, an all-electric car, a 99 mpg-equivalent rating. Yet they still haven’t managed to figure out how to rate the Chevy Volt. For reals?
Ok, so I know that often times, the government moves at the same place as tectonic plates, and that the EPA is indeed working on a new rating system for cars and electric vehicles. However the Leaf is not as close as the Volt is to launch, and the EPA managed to get numbers out for the Leaf that, frankly, confused the hell out of me.
The EPA says one gallon of gasoline is equivalent to 33.7 kWh of battery power. The EPA also says that the Leaf gets about 3.4 miles per kWh, but they rated the Leaf’s range at just 73 miles after taking it through the five-cycle course they use on regular cars. In total, the Leaf managed to get 106 mpg-e city, 92 mpg-e city. In total, 99 mpg-e, giving it the best-in-class fuel economy…even though it doesn’t use a drop of fuel. They also say it takes seven hours to fully charge the battery out of a 240v outlet.
While our own Editor Nick Chambers managed to get just over 116 miles in his Leaf excursion, the rating is probably pretty realistic if people drive the Leaf as they do a regular car. Still, why not just scrap the whole mpg-equivalent rating and say “This car can go about 73 miles in mixed conditions” and leave it at that?
I hope the EPA doesn’t muddle the Volt’s rating as badly as they did the Leaf’s. The new ratings can’t come soon enough.
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to Hemis. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.