Ford: fun or fuel economy – pick one

Two Ford execs have addressed the recent revelations that its 2013 C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid fell short of their EPA mileage ratings in real-world tests done by Consumer Reports and others.

 

Two Ford execs have addressed the recent revelations that its 2013 C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid fell short of their EPA mileage ratings in real-world tests done by Consumer Reports and others (in fact, hybrids from Toyota and Honda fared little better in CR’s tests, and Hyundai recently had a fuel-economy flap as well).

“We followed the EPA test guidelines,” said Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs in an interview with the Detroit News. The EPA has said it plans to investigate Ford’s fuel efficiency ratings, but Hinrichs doesn’t expect the EPA’s figures to change.
 
Ford VP Raj Nair offered more details in a press event on Friday:
We absolutely agree with EPA that hybrids are far more variable in the test cycle compared to real world driving conditions in conventional vehicles. We are working closely with the agency to determine if any changes are needed for the industry relative to hybrid vehicle testing.
 
We have designed our hybrids to drive exactly the same as all our other vehicles, with the global Ford DNA. A key part of that DNA is “fun-to-drive”. We could have detuned the vehicles to maximize fuel economy like some of our competitors have done, but it would have been at the expense of a fun driving experience. And this would have meant that you would not be to take advantage of the 54 more horsepower that the C-MAX provides over the Prius.
 
Nair noted that speed, temperature and even the age of a vehicle can make large differences in fuel economy. But the moral of the story, according to Ford, seems to be that if you want to play, you gotta pay. Said Mr Nair:
When I drive our hybrids home from Dearborn to Ann Arbor, when I am using all of our coaching tools, I consistently hit the combined number. Unfortunately, that’s not the way I usually drive. So when I drive that hybrid the way I drive my Shelby GT500, I typically lose about 12 mpg. That can be the difference between maximizing the tools available, versus having a little bit of a lead foot like I do.
 
 
Image: Ford