It’s ironic: Even though the all-new Chevrolet Volt can routinely go weeks—and longer—without a visit to the gas station, the company’s engineers had to put significant effort into designing the car’s fuel tank. The issue: Because the Volt uses so little gasoline, steps had to be taken to ensure the fuel won’t evaporate during the long periods it’s not needed to power the vehicle.
This isn’t a concern in traditional vehicles, both because they are constantly running their engines and because they feature charcoal canister systems that trap fuel vapor and route it back to the engine. But that latter approach won’t work with the Volt, as it can go so long between engine start-ups that the vapor could reach dangerous levels. The solution: A specially designed, sealed fuel tank for the Volt, developed in conjunction with Spectra Premium Inc.
Instead of the plastic tanks found in other vehicles, the Volt’s fuel tank is made from tin-zinc-coated steel that resists corrosion from both inside and outside, backed by a mechanical pressure-relief valve that can act as a fail-safe in the unlikely occasion it’s needed.
Of course, even then it’s still important for the Volt’s operation that the gasoline is used up occasionally and replenished. Thus, the Volt also features a “maintenance mode” that comes into play if its engine hasn’t been started in six weeks. First, the system will alert the driver that the engine needs to run for maintenance purposes, including to make sure its components are properly lubricated. Then, the driver can either enable the engine to run or defer maintenance for up to 24 hours, after which the engine will turn on itself. In addition, if a driver goes a full year without filling up, the system will come on until the engine uses all the old gas or the driver adds fresh fuel.
The bottom line, according to Jon Stec, fuel system integration engineer for the Volt: “For the driver who starts the year with a full tank of 9.3 gallons and runs 15,000 miles on electricity, the maintenance mode will use just enough gas to average a very respectable 1,613 miles per gallon.”
Jerry’s Chevrolet is excited for the arrival of our first Chevy Volts to retail in July. To place a preorder, contact Chris Silk or Mike Campbell at (410) 661-9100. For general inquiries of our Baltimore Chevrolet dealership, call (443) 213-0304.