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TheStreet Open House

100 Million Miles in the Chevrolet Volt

Stocks in this article: GM

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- No, that's not a typo. In the next couple of days, owners of the Chevrolet Volt will have driven a cumulative 100 million miles. That is more than 200 round trips to the moon.

Why is this significant? When the Chevrolet Volt was first conceived in 2006, and finally put into traffic in 2010 after four years of development and testing, one of the key questions was whether this radically new automotive propulsion architecture would be reliable. How frequent would repairs be in the first 150,000 miles? How about in the first 400,000 miles?

As important as fuel savings are, much of the future of electrified cars hangs on their reliability record. If a car like the Volt ends up with a bad rap due to parts that break down and keep it in the shop too much, that would risk soiling the reputation of all new automotive propulsion technologies. So we have to know where the Volt stands on this.

Back to the 100 million miles for a minute. You deserve to know where all of these numbers come from.

General Motors (GM) publishes the cumulative number of miles driven on its Volt Web site as they are reported real-time. How many cars are involved? Based on Chevrolet's production and sales numbers, we can estimate that it has manufactured around 35,000 Volts to date since November 2010.


Out of these cars, approximately 25,000 are on the road and around 10,000 are in transit to dealerships or otherwise in inventory. To be clear, the Chevrolet Volt is sold on multiple continents under a few different badges: Opel in Continental Europe, Vauxhall in the U.K. and Holden in Australia. Sales outside the U.S. started in February 2012. It's the same car, made on the same assembly line, in Hamtramck, Detroit.

With 100 million miles in total and 25,000 cars in traffic, each Volt has travelled on average 4,000 miles. That's not that interesting, because we would prefer to know how far the most frequent drivers have taken their Volts. For this, we turn to a Web site called VoltStats.net.

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