Achieving EPA ratings of up to 29 mpg city/42 mpg highway is no easy feat—the all-new Chevrolet Cruze is still the sole gas-only vehicle in its class that can reach those marks. But it certainly helps when your engineers can develop breakthrough technologies like Regulated Voltage Control (RVC), a system so innovative that GM recently was granted a patent for it by the U.S. government.
Here’s how RVC works:
Chevrolet Dealers Lubbock, TX explained that under normal driving conditions, RVC reduces the power going from the alternator to the battery from 14 volts to 12.8 volts, allowing the alternator to focus its operation on supplying electricity to vehicle systems, instead of using it to charge the battery with current it doesn’t need.
With less power demanded from the alternator, the alternator’s pull on the engine is reduced as well, helping the engine to run more efficiently and return better fuel-economy numbers.
When the battery is in a high state of charge, RVC also can manage power distribution to share the load created by electronic accessories like the vehicle’s audio system, which again works to lower demand on the alternator and boost engine efficiency. But if the available battery power drops too low, RVC can use regenerative braking to recharge it during vehicle deceleration.
“Engineers left no stone unturned when it came to implementing fuel saving technologies on the Cruze. We estimate RVC improves fuel economy on the Cruze by up to 1.5 percent,” said Doug Dickson, an electrical engineering specialist with the GM Global Energy Center. “To a Cruze customer, RVC enables them to get more than eight additional miles of range on every tank of fuel.”