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Just How Clean Is The Chevrolet Volt?

California regulators raise some concerns about emissions.

by on Oct.25, 2010

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt takes a hit in California's emissions tests.

Just how green is the Chevrolet Volt?  Not nearly as much as you might think – at least according to the results of a new test by the California Air Resources Board.

The agency has ruled that General Motors’ new plug-in hybrid falls short of not only conventional hybrids, like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight but even the new diesel-powered Jetta TDI in a key test.  As a result, Volt not only doesn’t get a coveted PZEV (for Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle) rating but misses the next-best SULEV category and slips into the rankings as a ULEV vehicle.

But observers caution that the 2011 Chevy Volt may be taking hits because of its own efficiencies, ironically.  And California regulators may take steps to modify their rules so vehicles like Volt, designed to run primarily in electric mode, get the technical benefit of the doubt.

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The eagerly-awaited Volt has faced its fair share of controversy lately.  Earlier this month, a debate began swirling over what the Chevy battery car actually should be called.  Since the debut of the original Volt concept, GM had argued that it was an “extended-range electric vehicles,” since the car’s wheels, according to the maker, would only ever be driven by its two electric motors.