After advertising its new C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid 47 mpg mileage, Ford faced a lot of negative publicity, along with a federal class-action lawsuit, when Consumer Reports published its own test findings that were 17 and 21 percent lower than the EPA-certified mileage.
During the Deutche Bank Global Industry Conference in Detroit on Tuesday, January 15, Ford’s product development chief Raj Nair disclosed that the EPA may change its testing procedures concerning the consumption of hybrid models.
“We continue to work closely with the EPA to determine whether the industry testing procedure needs changes for hybrid vehicle testing”, said Nair.
He also said that it’s not just Ford’s hybrids but other models, too, including rival Toyota’s Prius that didn’t measure up to the EPA’s official figures.
“They reflected a lot of differences versus the EPA label for all manufacturers”, commented Nair, adding that “there are a lot of factors that can introduce that type of variability”, such as speed and outside temperature.
According to the Blue Oval exec, hybrids can lose about 7 mpg (when driving at 75 mph (120 km/h) compared to 65 mph (105 km/h). Moreover, a 30-degree difference in outside tem can result in a 5 mpg drop while after 6,000 miles (9,600 km) a hybrid’s mileage may decrease by another 5 mpg.
He also addressed the quality problems in Ford’s North American products, pointing at issues with the MyFord Touch infotainment system being the primary reason for this drop in the last two years and saying that the company is working to make improvements.
In November 2012, Ford reported 400 problems with its infotainment system for every 1,000 vehicles. This may sound a lot but is certainly an improvement over the 2012 March 500 problems for every 1,000 vehicles rate. Ford aims to have lowered that number to 360 by next August.
By Andrew TsaousisStory References: Bloomberg