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Software update won't change window stickers

Ford has announced that it will be applying a software update to its hybrid vehicles with the intention of improving the real world fuel efficiency for owners. The software update will be made available for approximately 77,000 Ford Fusion, C-Max, and Lincoln MKZ hybrid vehicles.

The update will also be made available for all 2014 model year hybrids. Ford has said that the update will "reduce the variability in MPG" many owners see. The update will help optimize active grill shutters to reduce aerodynamic drag, and increase the electric-only top speed from 62 mph to 85 mph among other things.
The software update is a response to owners of Ford hybrid vehicles who have complained they can't achieve the 47 mpg average promised by the EPA.

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
Ford hybrid owners over at have reported real world combined ratings of 40 mpg and 41 mpg respectively for the C-Max and Fusion. This is well short of Ford’s claimed 47 mpg combined rating for the two hybrids.

Ford claims that many of the complaints of poor fuel efficiency have come from owners in the Midwest. Some of the issue for these owners is linked to the colder climate and higher speed limits, both factors that can negatively impact hybrid fuel efficiency. The software update will not change window sticker fuel economy ratings according to Ford and the EPA is aware of the new software.

Ford is currently fighting lawsuits over the fuel efficiency claims after some of its hybrid vehicles were unable to achieve the promised fuel efficiency. The C-Max and Fusion hybrids have been criticized for not being able to meet fuel efficiency claims in real world consumer and third-party tests.

Source: Detroit News

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RE: Edit needed
By Brandon Hill on 7/17/2013 9:38:55 AM , Rating: 3
Edit made, thanks.

As for the the speed increase, 62 mph is actually plenty. It's not like it would be able to last long at that speed anyway. The Ford hybrids have relatively small battery packs, so I seriously doubt you could do more than a few miles at 62 mph -- even less at 85 mph.

Those high EV speeds are there just to game the EPA test anyway...

RE: Edit needed
By Colin1497 on 7/17/2013 11:07:14 AM , Rating: 2
Many, many things exist only to game the tests. One of the big reasons European manufacturers have gone to dual clutch gear boxes over torque converter automatics the last few years is that the European cycle includes a lot of time stopped, and the torque converter is a load at idle, so dual clutch gearboxes produce noticeably better window stickers.

RE: Edit needed
By Spoelie on 7/18/2013 9:59:39 AM , Rating: 2
Except that start/stop systems come standard on most vehicles these days, mooting the point.

RE: Edit needed
By Mint on 7/17/2013 12:53:54 PM , Rating: 2
Every manufacturer tries to optimize for the test. That doesn't explain why Ford's real world numbers are so much poorer than the EPA results while other manufacturers don't show anywhere near that disparity.

I also don't understand how you can game the test while barely getting 47 MPG in real world steady state tests:
Those are far simpler than the EPA cycle.

The 62 mph motor doesn't really give Ford any advantage in gaming the test either, especially the city cycle.

RE: Edit needed
By Brandon Hill on 7/17/2013 1:06:52 PM , Rating: 2
The EPA highway test only hits a maximum of 60 mph and averages only 48.3 mph over 10.26 miles. Pretty convenient that the "old" top speed was 62 mph in EV mode. That allows Ford to maximize using the battery for the EPA highway test of just ten miles; but after that you're running pretty much on the gas engine. Hence why most people aren't able to hit 47 consistently on the highway.

Even the High Speed test averages just 48.37 mph over 8 miles.

RE: Edit needed
By Mint on 7/17/2013 3:37:05 PM , Rating: 2
Unless Ford is starting the test with a full battery and draining it by the end, which is prohibited by the EPA, I don't see how that should make such a difference.

Cruising at highway speeds is where an engine can be most efficient, and you'd probably lose efficiency by draining a battery into 60 mph electric cruising and charging it later.

Again, the 62 mph motor doesn't explain city mileage either.

RE: Edit needed
By alpha754293 on 7/18/2013 1:09:19 PM , Rating: 3
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are solely that of my own and are not representative of Ford Motor Company or its affiliates.

Well, first off, nowhere in the article does it say/mention anything about the city mileage, so I'm not sure what's with the fascination or the hang-up over the whole "city mileage" thing.

Second, with the old 62 mph max electric motor speed, it means that if you have a speed that's < 62 mph, you increase the probability that you will be running on electric (it MAY or may NOT happen depending on the battery's state of charge). It isn't an automatic guarantee that just because it's less than the max. electric motor speed that it will automatically run in EV mode. And by increasing the probability that you'll be running on the electric motor, means that you're also decreasing the probability that you'll be running on gas (either as assist or primary motive power or to recharge the battery); which means that if you're not using gas, you're going to increase your fuel economy number.

(Common sense stuff).

Third, I forget the weighting of the 5 fuel economy tests (2 original, 3 supplemental).

Fourth, in tests that I've done with my own 2013 Ford Fusion Titanium Hybrid, there's a section of highway just outside of Windsor that's relatively flat and open and straight. I ran a test where I did one of the runs at 110 km/h (69 mph) and on the return, did it at 119 km/h (74 mph) and the difference is 3 mpg. (I've yet to try it at 90 km/h (56 mph) and 100 km/h (62 mph).)

I know that driving up I-295 around Washington, D.C.; with the construction and traffic now, I can hit 43-46 mpg easy because the combination of traffic and construction meant that I could drive (and stay) at 50-60 mph for relatively long stretches (before both traffic and construction disappeared which let me go faster). And that was like 10 PM on a Saturday night.

If I can stay at 55 mph, it'll alternate between spending a few minutes charging the battery (it looks like it goes up to like 80-90% SOC) and a few minutes draining it again (which it does in pure EV mode, which it burns no gas when it's doing that). And anytime you're not burning gas, it increases your fuel economy. And I've also discovered that if you run on electric as much as you can, you don't have to drive very far to have a huge impact on your overall fuel economy. My swinging around Alexandria/Washington D.C./Baltimore (coming up from Fredericksburg, VA, on my way back to Detroit, MI) - I was able to increase my fuel economy average by 0.2 mpg when I've already got 7500 miles - it makes a HUGE difference. Any right now, because the weather has been ridiculously hot up here, I KNOW that I am really hurting my fuel economy with blasting the A/C, and I still haven't been able to bring my average down from that (yet) even though I know that my current trips around quite a bit lower than my lifetime average fuel economy.

RE: Edit needed
By alpha754293 on 7/18/2013 12:31:43 PM , Rating: 3
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are solely that of my own and are not representative of Ford Motor Company or its affiliates.

Except Hyundai/Kia who got busted for it.

For those that are complaining about how there's a disparity and how there's a huge discrepancy between the published and the actual numbers - lemme ask you this: if YOU were to come up with a test that you can apply to EVERY car that's made by ANYBODY, and you have to capture the whole RANGE of how, and where people drive, what would your test (or series of tests) look like?

Remember that it has to apply equally in Alaska as it would in Arizona, as well as in Colorado as well as Louisana. And that driving up and down the test must give you comparable numbers as you drive up and down the Applachians towards the East coast as you would get driving on I-80 in Iowa (South of Dexter) to the I-80/I-680 split).

And it also has to apply also equally in LA or Manhattan as it would on SH130 between San Antonio and Austin, TX.

And the test(s) itself cannot exceed 1200 seconds (20 minutes).

And the tests MUST be able to be performed and completed by cars as low as 70 HP (Smart fortwo) all the way up to Bugatti Veyron (987 HP).

(I left out the 47 HP Smart fortwo electric, which also has to pass the test to get the window sticker.)

RE: Edit needed
By alpha754293 on 7/18/2013 10:59:08 AM , Rating: 2
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are solely that of my own and are not representative of Ford Motor Company or its affiliates.

Not around here in Michigan, it isn't. The speed limit here is 70 mph and even then, most people are doing 80-85 mph actual.

In fact, there are streets in and around the Detroit area (Van Dyke, Mound Rd., etc. between 15 Mile to 26 Mile) where you get a stop light every like half-mile, and people normally do between 45-60 to 65 on there (including the cops). And that's JUST a city/surface street.

Parts of Big Beaver (through Troy/Rochester/Rochester Hills) hit 50 mph nominal cruising. Same with M-59. Same with Telegraph Rd (from Dearborn/Allen Park all the way up to Waterford). Southfield Freeway from I-75 to I-94 you'll be doing 50 nominal.

Someone might say that 62 mph is plenty nearly IF and ONLY IF they live in a major city like Chicago, NYC, Boston, LA, Atlanta, etc. But around here, we hit that on normal city roads.

P.S. I-80/I-90/Ohio Pike limit is also now 70 mph, and in my experience, Ohio State Police aren't nearly as strict as they used to be.

RE: Edit needed
By flyingpants1 on 7/21/2013 10:53:02 AM , Rating: 2
Detroit is like a Mad Max-style wasteland so no surprise everybody is gunning it.

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