Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ford Says EPA May Change the Way it Tests Hybrid Economy

Ford Says EPA May Change the Way it Tests Hybrid Economy
The story of how Ford’s two new hybrids, the Fusion and C-max, fell way short of the official Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claimed fuel economy figure, is now very popular. The Fusion managed to achieve 39 mpg on the combine cycle, while the C-max managed just 37 mpg - 17% and 21% under the 47 mpg window sticker level.

Now, Ford are saying that it is not really their fault that this happened, blaming the testing procedures of the EPA. They say that the EPA should take more things into account when testing hybrids, and that they should adopt special techniques for such vehicles, in order to get as accurate a result as they can.

According to Raj Nair, Ford’s product development chief, "They (hybrids) reflected a lot of differences versus the EPA label for all manufacturers [ . . . ] There are a lot of factors that can introduce that type of variability."

Apparently, hybrids can lose around 7 mpg if they are driven at 75 mph, instead of 65 mph, while air temperature can also negatively affect efficiency, by as much as 5 mpg. Also, after 6,000 miles or 9,800 km driven, hybrids will lose another 5 mpg - we do not know what this last part really refers to. If it is about the wear caused in 6,000 miles of driving affecting the range, then let us be the first to say that that is not at all confidence-inspiring for owners.

Nair concluded by saying: "We continue to work closely with the EPA to determine whether the industry testing procedure needs changes for hybrid vehicle testing."

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