Print 41 comment(s) - last by ptmmac.. on Mar 11 at 11:47 PM

Ford fails to deliver on promised efficiency again

If you're a fan of green vehicles or are shopping for car promising lots of fuel economy, you may be familiar with the Ford C-Max Hybrid and the Toyota Prius V. These vehicles are two of the most popular hybrids in the segment. Ford has been at the center of allegations from several publications that had reviewed the C-Max claiming that the vehicle does not meet the fuel economy promised.

Previously, the EPA had stated that it was ready to investigate Ford over allegations of improperly stated fuel economy numbers for its C-Max and Fusion Hybrid. A recent test conducted of the C-Max Hybrid and the Prius V by reviewer Wayne Gerdes found that the Ford C-Max didn't achieve fuel efficiency suggested by the EPA's numbers.

The EPA shows that the C-Max gets 47 miles per gallon in all three EPA test categories (city/highway/combined). According to Gerdes, in his testing the C-Max managed only 35.537 miles per gallon over 360 highway miles. However, he does admit that in the city he was able to achieve 52 miles per gallon over 22.8 miles of driving, which is better than the EPA promises.

Ford C-Max

He also tested the Prius V along the same driving route and achieved 40.768 miles per gallon on the highway and 55.8 miles per gallon in the city. That means while the EPA lists lower numbers for the Toyota (44/40/42) compared to the C-Max, it actually outperformed the C-Max.

Gerdes isn't alone in finding that the Prius V posted better real-world efficiency numbers than the C-Max, Motor Trend came to the same conclusion during its tests.
As with any review that tends to focus heavily on miles per gallon for hybrid vehicles, you have to have a saltshaker ready. Driving style and conditions greatly affect fuel efficiency numbers for hybrid and electric vehicles. That means the results from one person won't necessarily be the same for the next.
However, real world numbers from fuel economy conscious C-Max and Prius V owners on Fuelly back up the claims that the former lags far behind its EPA numbers while the latter hits them right on the mark.

C-Max Hybrid on Fuelly

Prius V on Fuelly

Sources: Autoblog, CleanMPG

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Mint on 3/1/2013 10:08:19 AM , Rating: 2
Have you ever seen an automaker so cocky about their MPG claims? It's as if they're saying, "go ahead and run the test yourself".

But here's a guy doing controlled tests, and even steady state driving is only getting 51MPG at 50 MPH. How can the C-Max then get 47MPG in a test with varying speeds needing braking and acceleration and all the losses associated with that? If it's legit, how does Ford minimize the difference between steady state and the EPA cycle so much more than any other hybrid?

I want to see someone actually try the EPA cycle, and maybe flip around some segments to see if any pattern detection is going on. Something fishy is going on...

By Spuke on 3/1/2013 11:22:32 AM , Rating: 2
Didn't the article state that the C-Max's 52 mpg was achieved in CITY driving?

By Nutzo on 3/1/2013 12:17:20 PM , Rating: 5
The problem with highway portion of the EPA test, is that it is a highway test, not a freeway. The average speed for the test is around 45 mph.

A big diference between the hybrid systems on the Prius and the C-Max is the top electric speed. The C-Max can travel at up to 62 mph on electic, where the Prius is limited to around 45.

The higher electric speed allows the C-Max to stay in electic mode much more during the EPA test than the Prius. But in real life, who drives 40 on the highway?
At 70MPH, the hybrid portion of the car no longer maters, as you are using the ICE.

By drycrust3 on 3/1/2013 2:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
The problem with highway portion of the EPA test, is that it is a highway test, not a freeway. The average speed for the test is around 45 mph.

If people don't get the same results as Ford did, that doesn't mean Ford lied about their results, it could easily those people aren't driving their car the way Ford did. One thing that seems to be missing from all of this is asking Ford how they actually conducted the test that got them the results they say they got, and not to laugh when Ford tell them.
If the results are the result of a real test, and I think they are, then Ford would have (or should have) told their driver how they wanted the car to be driven, and if he was a good driver then he would have done exactly that. For example, say the driver was told to drive at 46 mph +/- 1 mph along a certain road with a known tail wind, then that is exactly what he would have done.
As much as we may not like it, it isn't illegal to exploit loopholes in taxation law, and it isn't illegal to exploit loopholes in fuel economy standardisation tests.
If the EPA doesn't like companies exploiting loopholes within their tests, then they should tighten up the standards.

By FiveTenths on 3/1/2013 2:39:57 PM , Rating: 3
The mileage tests are done on a dyno following the EPA speed trace. There is a highway trace, city trace, and a few others requiring a/c and heater use.

All of the variables are set by the EPA and the whole thing is really just a standard to compare one car to another. It isnt representative of the milage you will actually get from the car, hence the " your milage may vary" disclaimer

By drycrust3 on 3/1/2013 3:22:38 PM , Rating: 3
So ... let me get this right ... from what you're saying there is so little "wriggle room" that Ford basically have no hand in how the results are obtained? If that is correct, then why are people blaming Ford and not the EPA?

By Mint on 3/1/2013 10:11:53 PM , Rating: 3
Because only Ford's C-Max and Fusion are seeing such inflated numbers with the EPA test.

For virtually all other cars, if you drive around in a manner similar to the test cycle, you'll get within 5% of the EPA rating.

By toyotabedzrock on 3/1/2013 5:34:54 PM , Rating: 1
But that would make weight, aerodynamics and rolling resistance irrelevant.

By Mint on 3/1/2013 9:36:48 PM , Rating: 2
Rolling resistance applies to a dyno as much as it applies to a road, as the tires still deform and bearings still roll on the dyno. Weight and air resistance are parameters for the dyno, telling the machine how much resistance to provide as a function of speed and acceleration. Weight is very easy to measure.

The only thing that can be manipulated is Ford is lying about air resistance parameters (i.e. coefficient of drag), but that's not too hard to test so Ford would be foolish to do so.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/1/2013 10:45:41 PM , Rating: 1
Do the dyno rollers also have the exact same friction as concrete or blacktop does on the tires?

No matter how much you try, you can never truly duplicate real world driving conditions in a lab.

The EPA method is wrong.

By Mint on 3/1/2013 11:45:14 PM , Rating: 3
Road friction doesn't affect fuel economy, because the tires don't skid in normal use. It's tire deformation that causes rolling resistance, and road texture plays a minor role unless you're driving through potholes or on dirt/sand. You're nitpicking 1-2% now, and that's accounted for with a simple coefficient as well.

Really, what do you want? 100 different real world MPG measurements to choose from depending on the exact conditions where you live and how you drive?

A standardized controlled test is the only reasonable way to make a measurement for comparing MPG between cars.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/2/2013 12:25:21 AM , Rating: 1

Really, what do you want?

Isn't it obvious? I want the Government to stay the fuck out of fuel economy.

By xti on 3/2/2013 11:44:50 AM , Rating: 2
well, they help not keep it from going to $6/gallon or w/e, milking gas efficiency is prob the responsible thing.

either way, they aint gonna please everyone...

By drycrust3 on 3/5/2013 6:00:28 AM , Rating: 2
A standardized controlled test is the only reasonable way to make a measurement for comparing MPG between cars.

The problem being the results of the standardised tests are more inaccurate for some vehicles than for others, and since the tests are done on an EPA dynometer, then doesn't that suggest there is a problem with this method?

By Mint on 3/1/2013 9:55:37 PM , Rating: 2
The EPA has the US06 test for higher speeds if you're interested, but that's unrelated to my qualms.

CleanMPG did steady state tests at various speeds, and at 50 MPH got 51 MPG with the CMax. The EPA highway test is mostly 45-55 with variation (which hurts MPG) and an acceleration + stop (also hurts MPG). Average speed is 48.3 MPH, not 45:

So how does the C-Max lose almost no efficiency (i.e. from 51 MPG down to 47) when going from steady speed to adding all the braking/accelerating of the EPA highway cycle?

If it really is legit (i.e. highly efficient regenerative braking), then why does it only appear in the EPA test and not in any other similar driving?

By cyberguyz on 3/1/2013 1:54:17 PM , Rating: 1
A few American dollars in the right pockets goes a long way.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/1/2013 3:35:18 PM , Rating: 1
Only our Government could usher in such a clusterfuck. Does the way the EPA arrive at their numbers make any sense to anyone??

By Keeir on 3/1/2013 8:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
Does the way the EPA arrive at their numbers make any sense to anyone??

Yes. They make perfect sense.

By Mint on 3/1/2013 11:04:23 PM , Rating: 2
use methodology that in no-way ever reflects real world MPG
WTF are you talking about? Virtually every other car gets matching results in the real world, and in fact you'll beat the ratings if you drive similarly to the test schedules because the EPA adjusts the measurements downward.

It derives ratings from five total tests, including one for aggressive driving (SFTP US06), one with AC on, etc.

It all depends on whos driving it
By cknobman on 3/1/13, Rating: 0
RE: It all depends on whos driving it
By Philippine Mango on 3/1/2013 10:38:59 AM , Rating: 1
Anyways we got tired of trying to maximize our MPG in the thing and getting frustrated with not achieving 50 MPG on a regular basis. We traded it in Monday on a Lexus RX 350 and will no longer worry about MPG's (wife got a promotion where they pay for all gas and 3/4 of the car payment)

So you ditched the vehicle because you had to "try" to get 50mpg? you couldn't be happy with anything above 40mpg? now you've got a vehicle that gets 1/3 of the mpg. Yes your company pays for the fuel but you still have a car payment when you already had a paid for vehicle. Also that RX350 is going to have significantly higher maintenance costs than the Prius ever will. Going from a Prius to an RX350 is a downgrade as that vehicle has no redeeming qualities.

By Spuke on 3/1/2013 11:18:58 AM , Rating: 3
Going from a Prius to an RX350 is a downgrade as that vehicle has no redeeming qualities.
Says you. The RX350 is a major upgrade over the Prius. Cars aren't just about fuel economy. I will agree that trading a paid off car a new one for that reason sounds kinda silly to me but it's your money. It sounds to me that you just wanted a more luxurious car. No problems with that from me either. We just bought a BMW X1 (for the wife). I like it so much I want a bimmer too.

RE: It all depends on whos driving it
By Nutzo on 3/1/2013 12:04:24 PM , Rating: 2
No redeeming qualities?
What about more room, better ride, better visability, more features...

I guess if all you care about is milage, then stay with the Pruis.

I wish I could afford an RX350 :)

RE: It all depends on whos driving it
By cubby1223 on 3/1/2013 1:04:01 PM , Rating: 2
I owed a Prius for a short while, sold it because the seat hurt my back pretty badly. Now have a Mazda 6, the Prius was an absolute mistake that I will be paying for for quite a while, but at least the Mazda is worlds better in every way except gas mileage.

When I had the Prius it does get to you watching that mileage gauge, I actually wish cars did not have them, I had to force myself never to have it display.

By cyberguyz on 3/1/2013 1:53:35 PM , Rating: 2
I have a feeling the whole 'getting a hybrid' novelty might have blinded you to some of the things you would have normally been more critical about in other vehicles (I am most certainly critical of the comfort of the driver's seat!!).

For sure a Lexus is going to have a way more comfy driver's perch than a Prius :D

On the other side I owned a Mazda 6 (V6 GT Sport)before and dumped it about 2 years later due to its poor build quality (that didn't manifest until about owning for about a year) and super laggy engine. Seats were fine in it though.

By Jedi2155 on 3/1/2013 2:30:12 PM , Rating: 2
Its not even how you drive it. Wayne Gerdes, the original hyper mileing legend, proves that there is something really wrong with the EPA claims:

Just look at their testing:

By tayb on 3/1/2013 4:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
This is the problem with testing MPG. My wife has a Prius and when I drive her car I drive it like a baby. I average mid 50s (mpg) combining highway (60+ mph) and city. This is way above EPA estimated, way above industry average, and a fair bit higher than what she averages (48-49). Most reasonable people are NOT going to drive their car as slowly as I drive that Prius but to me there is absolutely no reason to buy a Prius unless you're going to drive it in that manner.

If I drove that Prius like I drive other vehicles the average would be in the mid 30s. I know, I've done it. The problem isn't the car it's the driver. There is no definitive test because there is no definitive driving style. Every single person is going to get different results.

The real people to blame for this 'debacle' are consumers. If you are buying a car for its fuel efficiency why don't you test the fuel efficiency before you freaking buy it? Take a 24-72 hour test drive and test it out. Yes, they let you do that. Do you not understand what the word ESTIMATE in 'Estimated MPG' means? I feel like I do more research before buying $10 equipment from Amazon than people do when they buy $25,000 vehicles.

By Mint on 3/1/2013 11:57:07 PM , Rating: 2
If I drove that Prius like I drive other vehicles the average would be in the mid 30s.
And with other cars you would get mid 20's with that driving style, so why is there "no point"?

By Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on 3/2/2013 8:32:13 PM , Rating: 2
If I drove my Volt that way, I'd probably get 50mi out of a charge on a mild day, which would encompass my entire round-trip commute.

But I have nearly free charging at work and my charger's in my garage at home, so I drive it in Sport all the time and still have an entirely electric commute any day the temps are above about 25F. Those days are probably numbered using fingers in any given year in Texas.

By Philippine Mango on 3/4/2013 7:10:01 AM , Rating: 2
To get mid 30s in a Prius, you really have to be dogging that car. I was in a prius taxi in Las Vegas and the driver hated that car b/c it wasn't as fast as his crap victoria and to prove the point, he slammed the throttle at every opportunity (car was faster than the other passengers expected and he didn't make a very good point at all) anyway when he got over his rant about the Prius, he complimented it and said that despite thrashing it, he still gets really good fuel economy at 38mpg... I was surprised at the 38mpg he said cause that's no easy feat in a Prius...

By tayb on 3/4/2013 1:21:33 PM , Rating: 2
It depends on how much stopping and going you do. Every time you slow down the MPG will go up. In traffic it's incredible. I can only kill the MPG on a highway.

But let's just take the 38 number. My wife is out of town so I drove her car yesterday and today. When I pulled into my office this morning I had driven 33 miles in highway + traffic and managed 56.9 MPG (pic below for proof). That's a difference of 18.9 MPG in the exact same car. How in the world is the EPA supposed to account for that? They can't. No one can. I've seen people post numbers above 60 with their Prius and I have personally been as low as 36 when I was trying to kill it. That's an incredible variance. -> Dusty!

The average driver is going to get less...
By Pneumothorax on 3/1/2013 8:58:15 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure if Dailytech readers know who Wayne Gerdes is, but he's a sick-in-the-head hypermiler. He's able to extract 50MPG out of a 2007 Accord 4 banger that's rated 21/31. It's not clear if he was doing all his hypermiling techniques on the Ford, but he's not your typical driver!

By Spuke on 3/1/2013 11:20:25 AM , Rating: 2
Is that the same guy that got 30 mpg from one of Ford's new 6.7L diesel pickups?

Reality check
By GatoRat on 3/1/2013 11:37:37 AM , Rating: 2
The EPA tests are extremely artificial (though not as lame as the British or European tests.) They have little to do with actual driving, but rather are contrived tests with few allowances for variation. The point of all of these is to offer a point of comparison, not to indicate what kind of mileage actual drivers would get.

I would like to see the tests revised to be more realistic, but ensuring they are consistent is a challenge.

(Back when my older kids just started driving, my daughter consistently got 10% worse gas mileage than me. When you drive with her you understand why--rabbit starts doesn't do justice for how she launches herself from stop lights.)

By rkramer40 on 3/3/2013 9:40:57 PM , Rating: 2
Still only getting 31 mpg... My Prius is still getting 40 plus. It's it me ... It's the car

C Max is also a plug in
By ptmmac on 3/11/2013 11:47:09 PM , Rating: 2
I am not sure how the "real" mpg works on the C Max, but I would be more interested in how the car drives and how much the battery charge would help with my day to day driving costs. If I can get over 50 miles of driving range from the electric battery then I would be quite happy with this car if it drives well. I like the styling, extra storage in the back and it's adjustable rear seats. Electricity in my state is about 10-12 cents per kilowatt/hr. That means it would cost me $1 a day for charging this car. I would be quite happy with a $30 increase in electrical costs for a $100 dollar drop in fuel costs per month. The car itself is priced pretty reasonably at $29,000 purchase price. Gas savings over a smaller car would be about $8000 over 10 years if gas prices don't change significantly. Our ford SUV gets like 19 mpg so there would be an even larger savings for this vehicle. This smaller, but not any where near as small as a Honda Fit which is our current 2nd car. If gas drops in price because these cars become a decent percentage of the current American car fleet, I could use the charger less and still benefit in daily expenses.

Blame the EPA
By superflex on 3/1/2013 8:47:37 AM , Rating: 1
I guess Richard Windsor ran that test.

By Richard875yh5 on 3/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: Ford
By Goty on 3/1/2013 9:59:19 AM , Rating: 3
Cool story, bro. Get back to us after you've actually read the article.

"DailyTech is the best kept secret on the Internet." -- Larry Barber

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
Snapchat’s New Sunglasses are a Spectacle – No Pun Intended
September 24, 2016, 9:02 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki