Ford Says EPA May Revise Hybrid Efficiency Test Methods


Ford received a lot negative attention and a federal class action lawsuit for advertising their new C-MAX hybrid and the Fusion hybrid’s 47 MPG efficiency. It all came to a head after Consumer Reports stated that the fuel efficiency ratings obtained from their own test results were 17% and 21% lower than the EPA fuel efficiency that Ford claimed. This backlash could lead to new hybrid vehicle testing methods from the EPA.

During the Deutche Bank Global Industry Conference in Detroit, development chief of Ford, Raj Nair, disclosed that the EPA would revise its testing procedures for hybrid vehicles.

“We continue to work closely with the EPA to determine whether the industry testing procedure needs changes for hybrid vehicle testing”, said Nair. He added that this isn’t a Ford problem, as it affects other hybrids such as the Toyota Prius, which did not measure up to the EPA’s official figures. Consumer Reports has also noted that the Toyota Prius failed to live up to its advertised fuel economy by a substantial amount.

“They reflected a lot of differences versus the EPA label for all manufacturers”, commented Nair, adding that “there are a lot of factors that can introduce that type of variability”, such as speed and outside temperature.

He said that hybrid vehicle fuel efficiency can decrease by 7 mpg when driving speed increases from 65 mph (105 km/h) to 75 mph (120 km/h). On top of that, a 30-degree difference in outside temperature can result in a 5 mpg efficiency decrease, while after 6,000 miles (9,600 km) its mileage may decrease by another 5 mpg.

To be fair to hybrid cars, this is not just a hybrid issue. Gas engines deteriorate significantly and their efficiency drops as they get older, and until an ICE engine totally warms up, they can be quite inefficient. Still, with such high expectations coming from Ford’s new hybrids comes an intense backlash when consumers don’t even come close to achieving the advertised fuel economy. In Consumer Report’s testing, they averaged around 39 mpg in the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid, and just 37 mpg in the C-Max hybrid, an 8 and 10 mpg discrepancy respectively.

Will new EPA testing standards quell the calls for justice? Or has Ford spent some of its popular capital with overly-ambitious fuel economy numbers?

Source: Car Scoop

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loves attending and writing about/photographing events, and he writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, automobiles, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography.

  • It seems to me that the class action suit against Ford has gone after the wrong target! Clearly the problem is with the testing regime of the EPA which fails to obtain realistic fuel consumption figures when testing hybrids..

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    You got the 6000 mile vehicle “break-in” fuel economy affect backwards. Optimum fuel ecomony will not be achieved until the engine/vehicle is broken-in….which is at about 6000 miles of driving. Or in other words, a brand new vehicle will get less fuel ecomony when new (o miles) than it will when it reaches about 6000 miles.

  • Ron Kramer

    I thought this would be a Prius Killer? As a cross over buyer I feel deceived. I want to support US companies and US jobs. What was Ford thinking when they published 47/ 47 estimates? I would have been ok with low 40’s but low 28-33 is not even in the ballpark. Mark my words there will be no fix for this. Ford should offer to take the cars back or offer cash compensation to offset the mileage claims. The EPA estimates will have to be adjusted to the mid 30’s and sell the cars as is. My dealer’s sales and service department were ok at the beginning of the complaint process, but now have turned hostile and un-professional.

    Ronald Kramer
    Yankee Ford Customer
    South Portland, Maine