It is often asked whether the Volt’s 40 mile all-electric range (AER) will be applicable both to city and highway driving. Other questions include how driving aggressiveness and the use of heating and air-conditioning might affect range. I had a chance to discuss these matters with Nick Zeilinksi. Nick is GM's Director of Advanced Technology Vehicle Engineering.

Nick describes the driving test cycles used to test the Volt and other cars. “There are three primary driving cycles, the EPA city cycle, the EPA highway cycle, and the US06,” he says. “The US06 is a very aggressive driving schedule with a lot of high speeds over 70 mph and wide open throttle."

“The city and the highway cycles are a little bit milder than the average driver (drives),” he says. But for the Chevy Volt he confirms that “on both the city and highway schedule we are achieving the 40 mile AER.”

“The city and highway electric ranges are within about a mile of one another,” he says. “There isn’t much difference.”

Nick explains that the test cycles include “a standard set of accessory loads,” but that “air conditioning is not included.” He says the testing “also assumes a 60 F to 65 F degree temperature.”

“When we do our calculations we include parasitic loads,” he says referring to computer modeling. “In mule development we are trying to bring those to a minimum because they take away from driving range.”