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GM Boosts 2013 Volt Mileage Rating, Beating Toyota Prius

A Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle in Las Vegas. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
A Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle in Las Vegas. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

June 7 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co.’s changes to the battery of the Chevrolet Volt will extend the 2013 model’s range beyond Toyota Motor Corp.’s plug-in Prius in miles-per-gallon equivalent.

GM said the all-electric range of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt will be 38 miles (61 kilometers) on a single charge after the company increased battery storage capacity and changed the cell’s chemistry. That’s an increase of three miles. The model’s mpg-equivalent will rise to 98 miles from 94, the company said in a statement on its website.

Toyota’s plug-in Prius gets a 95 mpg-equivalent and the company has said it’s capable of traveling 15 miles on electricity alone. GM overtook Toyota in global sales last year to become the top-selling automaker. The Detroit-based automaker promotes Volt as an example of the company’s technology and fuel efficiency.

“I always like it when our numbers are bigger -- when bigger is better,” Andrew Farah, Volt chief engineer, told reporters today on a conference call.

The 2013 Volt goes on sale in August and its starting price will be the same as the 2012 version, Farah said. The 2012 Volt starts at $39,145, according to GM’s website, before a $7,500 U.S. tax credit.

New ‘Recipe’

For the Volt’s batteries, “the best way to explain what we’ve done at the cell level is to compare it to a cake batter recipe,” Bill Wallace, GM director of global battery systems engineering, said in the statement. “Sometimes if you use more sugar and less vanilla you get a better tasting cake. We’ve done some work at the cell level to modify the ‘ingredients’ to make a better end result.”

Volt was the best-selling rechargeable auto in the U.S. last month, with deliveries more than tripling to 1,680 from a year earlier. That topped Prius and Nissan Motor Co.’s all-electric Leaf.

Prius jumped to the world’s third best-selling car line in the first quarter. U.S. demand and incentives in Japan caused Prius sales to more than double to 247,230, trailing only Toyota’s Corolla at 300,800 and 277,000 for Ford Motor Co.’s Focus.

GM gained 0.1 percent to $21.85 at the close in New York. The shares have risen 7.8 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Higgins in Detroit at thiggins21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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