EPA Stands By MPG Test for Hybrids, Blames Ford for Lower-Than-Promised C-Max Hybrid MPG
August 27, 2013 12:46 PM
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Ford C-Max Hybrid
Ford still demands changes to hybrid testing methods
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) is standing its ground when it comes to the accuracy of its MPG test for hybrid vehicles
despite problems with Ford's C-Max Hybrid
The EPA's five-cycle fuel economy test was questioned when owners of the Ford C-Max Hybrid complained about
lower-than-advertised fuel economy
even chimed in on the debate, saying that half of its hybrids tested fell below their advertised MPG ratings by 10 percent or more.
The EPA worried about the accuracy of its testing for hybrid models, but this summer, other hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Sonata had accurate ratings after going through the same tests as the C-Max Hybrid.
The EPA is now saying that the C-Max Hybrid's inflated combined fuel economy estimate of 47 MPG was Ford's fault. According to the EPA, Ford used test results from the Fusion Hybrid, which shares a powertrain with the C-Max and weighs about the same. The automaker did this because an old rule allowed it in an effort to cut costs and the amount of testing for companies with nearly identical cars.
However, more efficient vehicles -- although sharing the same powertrain -- have various models. For instance, the Fusion Hybrid is more aerodynamic than the C-Max Hybrid, which led to the inaccurate fuel economy.
But Ford disagrees with the EPA's statement. The automaker believes these tests should be revised for hybrid vehicles.
"This is an industrywide issue with hybrid vehicles," Raj Nair, the head of global product development for Ford. "We've learned along with EPA that the regulations create some anomalies for hybrid vehicles under the general label rule."
While the EPA doesn't plan to reconfigure its five-cycle fuel economy test, it will change the rules regarding use of the same fuel economy ratings for nearly identical cars -- especially in the case of hybrid vehicles.
The EPA estimates that proposed changes should take less than a year to complete.
In July 2012, Ford's C-Max Hybrid achieved
-- beating Toyota's Prius v. But in March 2013, tests conducted by reviewer Wayne Gerdes found that the Ford C-Max Hybrid didn't achieve fuel efficiency suggested by the EPA's numbers. Instead of the 47 MPG, his testing showed
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.
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RE: Problems are more about who's running the tests.
8/27/2013 5:36:53 PM
The EPA testing is very standard and should be simple enough to do without issues, however the latest issues are based more on how to properly report aerodynamics in the EPA rating than dping the test improperly. Regardless, manufactures can make vehicles that test well, but don't have good real world numbers. The EPA should provide both best case and average driving habits instead of the current best case scenario.
I say this because many times someone who got better than EPA rated MPG on their old vehicle are getting significantly worse than EPA rated MPG in their new vehicle without changing driving styles. Both vehicles being similar in size and type.
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