Green Lies Exposed – The Chevy Volt

Green washed as environmentally friendly Chevrolet are selling just 110 Volts a month

The electric car has longed been pitched by the ecomentalists as clean, zero CO2 emitting transport, provided that you believe electricity just is and never needs to be generated.

Chevrolet have joined the green bandwagon with their Volt which is of course going to save the planet.

Maybe not, because depending upon where you are in the USA, depends on how the electricity for your Volt is generated

General Motors pitches the pricey Chevy Volt as a means of reducing carbon emissions. The Volt web page states:

Electricity – a more sensible primary fuel
Put simply, electricity is a cleaner source of power. And as technology improves in the generation of electricity, we will continue to see reduced carbon outputs. Advancements in electricity production along with reduction in emissions from electric-powered driving could help make our world a cleaner place.

So does the Chevy Volt’s battery actually reduce carbon emissions? Here’s our analysis.

According to the EPA the 4-seat Volt is capable of driving 35 miles on its 16 kilowatt hours (kWh) of stored electric charge. The Volt’s gas-only fuel economy rating is 37 mpg.

Since two oxygen atoms from the atmosphere combine with each carbon atom when gasoline is burned, a gallon of gas produces about 19.6 lbs. of carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned. So when operating on gasoline, the Volt produces 0.53 lbs. of CO2 per mile (19.6 lbs. of CO2 per gallon divided by 37 miles per gallon).

Since we can’t quantify accurately just how much transmission loss there is between electricity generation and charging points, we’ll assume an impossible 100 percent efficiency at the charger to work out the CO2 emissions for the Volt’s 16 kWh stored charge.

In 2007, national “average” CO2 emissions were 2.16 lbs per kWh from coal-fired generation and 1.01 lbs per kW for gas-fired generation. according to Power Systems Analysis. Given that 44.46 percent of electricity in the U.S. is coal-fired and 23.31 percent is gas-fired, on a national basis, then, the mean emission of CO2 per kWh is 1.2 lbs/kWh. (2.16 lbs/kWh x 0.4446 = 0.96 lbs/kWh from coal, plus 1.01 lbs/kWh x 0.2331 = 0.24 lbs/kWh from gas).

The Volt’s “emissions mileage” from its stored charge is then 16 kWh x 1.2 lbs/kWh divided by 35 MPG = 0.55 lb CO2/mile.

So on an “average” basis, the Volt emits more CO2 from battery use than from gasoline use (0.55 lbs/mile vs. 0.53 lbs/mile).

Just another Green lie and half truth, in an ocean of lies and half truths.

About Tory Aardvark

Climate Realist, Conservative and proud NRA member. I don't buy into the Man Made Global Warming Scam, science is never settled. @ToryAardvark on Twitter ToryAardvark on Facebook

Posted on April 17, 2011, in Anthropogenic Global Warming, Cancun COP16, Church Of Climatology, COP16, Copenhagen COP15, Green Lies, IPCC, ManBearPig, Oh FFS and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Well that is GM (Government Motors) for ya!

  2. Good analysis but definitely favours electricity.

    Even in a perfect world the maximum power that could be transferred to the car is 50% as shown by the Maximum Power Transfer Theorum (

    In practice I doubt it would be better than 33%.

  3. I believe your calculations are incorrect. The Volt’s battery does not use the full 16kWh per 35 miles. It only uses 10.4kWh. (see ) Also, it’s range is 40 miles, not 35 miles. Multiplying your final result by these corrections, you end up with 0.31 lbs/mile (0.55 lbs/mile x 10.4/16 x 35/40). The Volt’s 0.31 lbs/mile is much better than 0.53 lbs/mile for a typical car. It still doesn’t justify the cost in my mind, but that’s another matter. Just thought I would point out that your numbers are wrong.

  1. Pingback: Green Lies Exposed – The Chevy Volt (via Tory Aardvark) | MibsBlog

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