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Ford Lowers MPG Ratings for Newer Hybrids, PHEVs Over Testing Error

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/12/2014 Karla Sanchez

First it was Kia and Hyundai, and now it's Ford. The Detroit-based automaker has just announced that it is lowering the fuel economy figures for six vehicles including certain hybrids and PHEVs due to an error with its internal testing.

Affected vehicles include 2013-2014 model years of the C-Max hybrid /Energi, Fusion hybrid/Energi, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, and the 2014 Ford Fiesta. The automaker says that it has worked with the EPA to determine the new fuel ratings, and although most models knock of 2-3 mpgs off, the new ratings for others, including the MKZ Hybrid, shaved off as much as 8 mpg on the highway. Ford says the error can be traced to a factor called "Total Road Load Horsepower" (TRLHP), which is a vehicle-specific resistance level used on vehicle dyno testing that determines mpg ratings. "TRLHP is established through engineering models that are validated through vehicle testing, including physical track tests referred to as coastdown testing," Ford said in a release. 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

"As an ongoing practice, Ford conducts tests on production vehicles to validate its engineering models. Based on coastdown testing of the Fusion Hybrid, the company found the TRLHP did not match the values used for the dynamometer testing. Upon further testing, Ford also discovered an error specific to how we correlate wind tunnel results into the TRLHP model. Ford’s error was the result of a recent process change, which the company has since corrected."

Because of the mistake, the company has offered to grant owners of the approximately 200,000 affected vehicles a "goodwill payment" for the estimated average difference in fuel cost between the two mpg ratings. The amount of the goodwill payment depends on whether customers leased or purchased the vehicle, and values range from $125 to as much as $1050. 2014 Ford C Max Hybrid© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Ford C Max Hybrid

Ford also assures customers that it has reviewed the rest of the lineup and found no other vehicles needed to have their ratings changed. In addition, the company vows it will be taking steps to improve the process to prevent something like this from happening again. During the Kia and Hyundai MPG-Gate, the automaker lowered the highway ratings in some models by as much as 6 mpg. Before that new broke, both Korean companies heavily advertised having a number of 40-mpg models in their lineups.

Check out the revised fuel economy ratings for the six models in the chart below.

Source: Ford

U.S. EPA-Estimated Fuel Economy Label Ratings and Goodwill Payments*
Model YearVehiclePowertrainRevised (City, Highway, Combined)Previous (City, Highway, Combined)Lease Customers Purchase Customers
2014Fiesta1.0L GTDI M/T31 / 43 / 3632 / 45 / 37$125 $200
2014Fiesta1.6L A/T27 / 37 / 3129 / 39 / 32$150 $250
2014Fiesta1.6L SFE A/T28 / 38 / 3230 / 41 / 34$275 $450
2014Fiesta1.6L M/T28 / 36 / 3127 / 38 / 31Combined MPG not affectedCombined MPG not affected
2013-14C-MAXHybrid42 / 37 / 4045 / 40 /43$300 $475
2013-14FusionHybrid44 / 41 / 4247 / 47 /47$450 $775
2013-14MKZHybrid38 / 37 / 3845/ 45 /45$625 $1,050
Model YearVehiclePowertrainRevised** (Charge Sustaining, Charge Depleting, EV Range)Previous** (Charge Sustaining, Charge Depleting, EV Range)Lease Customers Purchase Customers
2013-14C-MAX EnergiPlug-in Hybrid38 mpg / 88 MPGe+43 mpg / 100 MPGe+ $475 $775
2013-14C-MAX EnergiPlug-in Hybrid19 mi EV range21 mi EV range$475 $775
2013-14Fusion EnergiPlug-in Hybrid38 mpg / 88 MPGe+ 43 mpg / 100 MPGe+$525 $850
2013-14Fusion EnergiPlug-in Hybrid19 mi EV range21 mi EV range$525 $850
*Bolded figures in the above chart represent the values used to determine the customer goodwill payment.
** Combined numbers only. Revised EPA-estimated ratings: 40 city, 36 highway MPG; 95 city, 81 highway MPGe. Charge depleting range is 20 mi. Previous EPA-estimated ratings: 44 city, 41 highway MPG; 108 city, 92 hwy MPGe. Previous charge depleting range was 21.
+MPGe is the EPA equivalent measure of gasoline fuel efficiency for electric mode operation.

2014 Ford C Max Hybrid© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Ford C Max Hybrid

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