1. Attachments are working again! Check out this thread for more details and to report any other bugs.

Ford Hybrids' Fuel Economy Failing To Live Up To EPA Ratings?

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by jsfabb, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    12,544
    2,123
    1
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    ^^^
    Not sure if I've posted in threads that you're involved in but Car and Driver: The Truth About EPA City / Highway MPG Estimates | PriusChat has details of the EPA test.

    Hint: The highest average speed of any of the tests (including highway and "high speed") is only 48.4 mph. Those two tests start w/a warm engine. The test isn't run on a real road, but rather a dyno. Actual fuel use isn't measured either, but rather derived from tailpipe emissions.
     
  2. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2004
    14,487
    2,994
    0
    Location:
    Fort Lee, NJ
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    I guess the new generation of Ford hybrids hates constant speed.
     
  3. rkk

    rkk Junior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    33
    18
    0
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Did they actually say you have to be at 50 using cruise control to get 47? I didn't see that on the sticker. It's that kind of attitude that is going to get them sued. When I complained about my C-MAX I was told to wait until 10,000 miles because that is when it is broken in and if the mileage was "much less than expected then" they would test it to see what was wrong.
     
  4. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    11,627
    2,530
    8
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    Anybody who suggests using cruise control for higher fuel economy does not know what they are talking about.

    In any case, the EPA (BIG) number is only promised to people who match the EPA course and conditions. Is that so hard to understand ? Missing the EPA number cuts both ways by the way. Yesterday I drove 30 miles Westward on a warm engine, perhaps with a tailwind at 40F. This AM the return trip was starting from a cold engine and car, driving in ~ 32F weather, on somewhat wet roads. The round trip measured 60.1 mpg on the meter of my Prius Wagon.

    I don't think my car's EPA rating of 42 MPG is wrong; I think I hypermile better than the EPA driver, had fewer stops, may have benefitted from some wind, and was aided by driving at 5000 ft.

    I don't have a dog in this fight, or really any opinion about the C-max. I would, however, like to see valid criticism. I can say with some confidence however that the cold weather performance of my Prius wagon is *much* improved over our G2 Prius. If the Ford does not have equally effective solutions I am not at all surprised by new Ford owners finding their winter results markedly below EPA.
     
  5. rkk

    rkk Junior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    33
    18
    0
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Actually it is not promised to anybody however it is designed to be a comparison between vehicles and clearly in this case it can't be used that way. Either way Ford markets these heavily as 47 mpg cars. For the vast majority of people they aren't. Ford markets these cars heavily as getting much better mileage than the Prius V. They don't. Plenty of room for a lawsuit there. And there is just plain integrity. Most people understand YMMV but they also think that if they drive carefully they should be able to get the numbers on the sticker(or at least close to it) and so far anyway for most people with these cars they can't. Bottom line Ford can't market them so hard as 47 mpg cars and then hide behind YMMV and actually expect to sell these cars successfully.
     
    acdii likes this.
  6. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    11,627
    2,530
    8
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    rkk,

    The car comparison only holds true when the cars are driven in conditions that mimic the EPA test. It is simply impossible to reliably extend the comparison to other tracks, or other conditions.

    Some years ago a British car magazine tested a Prius against a big, fancy diesel; I think an MB. They ran the course one car in front of the other, trading leader places as they went. The test was well designed from a methods standpoint, and their results were sound: the MB nicely trounced the Prius in fuel economy. There was no conflict with the EPA, which showed the Prius wiping the floor with the MB. The difference was that the brits tested at 80+ mph the entire way, while EPA does not.

    One cannot extrapolate one test to another and always expect the comparo to follow the same pattern. As I have pointed out before, EPA is not a good cold weather test protocol overall because most of their sub-tests are run on a warm engine. If (IF) the Ford C-max has relatively poor cold weather performance compared to a Prius, the EPA is not going to reflect that difference to the degree it will be noticed by owners.

    If I owned a C-max, I would invest in a gauge to monitor inverter and ICE temps for safety, and block my radiator.
     
    Trollbait likes this.
  7. dipper

    dipper Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2005
    1,242
    252
    0
    That was Top Gear, and they hate anything not named Ferrari, Porsche, or Austin. It was meant as "Entertainment".

    But people driving around town is what the cars are designed to do, they should not be 20% off the EPA rating... isn't that what the changes of the EPA was supposed to fixed? Just look at Hyundai and BMW, they had to change their EPA numbers because real-world numbers were no where close. And they were only 2-3 miles off.

    But from what "real" people are saying, Ford might be off A LOT.
     
  8. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    12,544
    2,123
    1
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    I don't know the specifics of the BMW case (I only know of it at a high level, involving recent 3-series) but the reason why Hyundai's numbers had to be changed was NOT because real-world numbers were not close, it's because there were procedural errors in how Hyundai ran their tests, causing them to arrive at inflated numbers. See New Testing Process | Hyundai MPG Information, Coastdown Facts | Hyundai MPG Information and Hyundai, Kia Mileage Mishap: How It Happened - KickingTires.

    As for the italicized part, people can be WAY off from EPA ratings depending on how they drive. You can't come up with 1, 2 or 3 numbers that encompasses how everyone drives in the "real world". I could be doing only 5 minute long city drives w/tons of stopping and stop and go. Worse yet, I could be sitting warming up my engine, idling uselessly, going to drive thrus w/long lines, accelerating to red lights, etc. I would be WAY below EPA city numbers (esp. since the EPA city test cycle is 31.2 minutes long) but that's MY real world.

    Your Mileage Will Still Vary has more info on factors that affect mileage.
     
    SageBrush likes this.
  9. dipper

    dipper Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2005
    1,242
    252
    0
    And info coming in from some of us Prius owners seeing the same less than EPA stories on a Ford, that is disturbing though. Unless you are saying us Prius nuts don't know what we are talking about, after so many years of milking the mileage out of Prius.
     
    acdii likes this.
  10. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    11,627
    2,530
    8
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    All it likely means is that the Prius performs better than the Ford in the specific, unique, 'real worlds' of those Prius owners.

    Good to know to be sure, but it does not imply EPA error, or Ford error, or any legitimate actionable demand by C-max owners. C-max owners can whine, or they can figure out where the weaknesses are in their cars and either adapt their driving or their cars to work around. This is what we early Prius owners did when we realized that the car was e.g. performing (relatively) poorly in cold weather.

    Y0u guys need some owners who are tinkerers and engineers.
     
  11. rkk

    rkk Junior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    33
    18
    0
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    If the EPA tests, or any tests have any meaning they should be a valid point of comparison. In other words if I have car A rated at 40 mpg and car B rated at 47 mpg I might not get either one but I should do better in car B than I do in car A. That is what the EPA tests are supposed to do. If they don't, pull them off the sticker because they are worthless.

    Regardless of that, one of four things are going to happen to someone looking at these cars. 1. They will research it and see that most people are falling well short of rated mileage and not buy the car. I think this will be the biggest group. 2. They will research and see the same thing but decide it doesn't matter because they like other aspects of the car. 3. They won't research it and be upset when they don't get the mileage they expect. 4. I guess there will also be some that don't research it but be okay with getting better than their old car. I think this will be the smallest group.

    Either way I still say Ford won't be able to hide behind YMMV. Enough people getting upset and enough bad coverage is going to hurt their sales, and their reputation. They are going to have to address this some how and not just hope it goes away.
     
  12. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    12,544
    2,123
    1
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    Yep. Hopefully the EPA reviews Ford's procedures AND tests the questionable vehicles themselves to see if they arrive at the same result. If the EPA's tests arrive at the same result and finds no procedural errors and no cheating by Ford, then it likely means that Ford optimized better for the test.

    And, it's possible that Toyota sandbagged or under-reported the results.
     
  13. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    13,531
    4,062
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Vehicle:
    2018 Tesla Model 3
    Model:
    N/A
    Except the EPA tests are better than the tests in Europe and Japan, and much better than the old tests. No one will do perfect testing. As the EPA explained they have had complaints about hybrids and the tests since the first prius arrived. They may need to test hv and phevs differently.

    I think its perfectly legitimate to simply say its the test, YMMV. Ford's problem is they have been using the test numbers in marketing, and that looks bad. Remember all the magazines said you could not get the epa mileage in a prius:( Numbers have been revised though so it is much more doable today than 2003. I think ford mistakenly took a page from toyota's marketing book.

    The epa said something that is likely true. The better highway mileage seems to be a result of higher EV speed. That along with the low average speed of the highway test are likely responsible. They also seem to spike the toyota hybrid city numbers.

    Toyota stretched to get a 50 mpg rating for the prius on the test. No sandbagging. The prius is more aerodynamic so it does better at higher real speeds. The fusion beat the prius in CR's "real world" city test.
     
  14. spwolf

    spwolf Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    3,156
    440
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Europe

    lol... It is now Toyota's fault, right? At what point do you stop?
     
  15. spwolf

    spwolf Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2005
    3,156
    440
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Europe
    i guess Ford engineers live in their own special world, and rest of the planet doesnt. haha.
     
  16. Sergiospl

    Sergiospl Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    3,938
    1,351
    28
    Location:
    Florida
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Don't know what will happen after EPA/Ford's review, but according to this article, Hyundai/Kia currently have a reimbursement program.
     
  17. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    13,531
    4,062
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Vehicle:
    2018 Tesla Model 3
    Model:
    N/A
    No blame here.

    All the car makers do it. There is no denying that toyota targeted the prius at 50 mpg on the test. We should not be naive like you want us to be, and assume that Ford is the only company that has trouble here.

    The EPA did single out the prius as the car that had the first major claims here. The civic hybrid has also had major claims. The city figures on all the hybrids are quite unrealistic. The EPA says this is because they can go with there engine off on parts of the test. The c-max and fusion hybrids are the first ones that can do this on the highway portion.
     
  18. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    12,544
    2,123
    1
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
  19. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    13,531
    4,062
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Vehicle:
    2018 Tesla Model 3
    Model:
    N/A
    Hyundai/kia were caught doing the test improperly What both Ford and the EPA seem to be saying is Ford did the test properly, but the results of the test don't match users expectation.

    It is in EPA and Ford's best interest for the EPA to test the car, and if the EPA gets a different result there likely would be similar remediation as hyundai. These are new models so the cost would be low.

    The bigger blow to ford is that it seems to be handling PR badly. They need to get out in front, and perhaps do some of the tests Bob wilson advises, and give people the numbers that come out what ever they are. The CR test is no more real world than the EPA. There is no way the c-max should be able to get the same mileage on the highway as the fusion the way most americans drive.:)
     
  20. rkk

    rkk Junior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    33
    18
    0
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    The difference being that on average anyway all the other major selling hybrids out there are hitting or beating their EPA combined rating.

    Compare Side-by-Side

    Fords

    Compare Side-by-Side
     
    usnavystgc likes this.