Ford acknowledged today that its hybrid fuel economy claims are unrealistic for real-world driving.
The company announced a plan “aimed at improving on road fuel economy customer satisfaction,” Ford global product development group vice president Raj Nair said today in a press conference. It asks current hybrid owners to bring their vehicles back to dealers for “enhancements” designed to improve real-world hybrid fuel economy.
Those changes include the ability to drive on electric power at up to 85 mph rather than the former 62. That, and a series of other enhancements will improve customer satisfaction surrounding the actual fuel economy their hybrid vehicles offer.
Other changes include an optimized active grille shutter system to reduce drag. Nair also said Ford is speeding engine warm up times by over 50 percent to allow the engine start-stop system to operate sooner after a driver starts the car. The same tweaks will be made on vehicles being manufactured.
Ford also promised that the changes will be carried out free of charge and that they will not affect vehicle performance — something the brand says has played a key role in differentiating its hybrids from Toyota products. The C-Max offers more output than the Prius.
MPG Scandal Late Last Year
During the presentation, Nair spoke about addressing varying fuel consumption associated with hybrid vehicles in December, 2012. That month, Consumer Reports had also released its real-world fuel economy tests showing both the C-Max and Fusion hybrids returning significantly poorer than advertised fuel economy. It was a big discrepancy (the largest the consumer publication had ever recorded), and one that came shortly after Hyundai had been caught fudging its advertised fuel efficiency ratings.
Rather than the 47 MPG combined claimed by Ford, Consumer Reports returned 39 MPG in the Fusion Hybrid and just 37 MPG in the C-Max hybrid.
It wasn’t long before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would begin testing to evaluate both vehicles.
Read the complete story on Ford fuel economy claims