C-Max Hybrid Numbers Questioned

Ford Focus ST
Ford Focus ST

One of the most prestigious market review companies, Consumer Reports, announced last Thursday its discovery of an apparent discrepancy in the numbers proclaimed by Ford. The report focused on the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the C-Max Hybrid and it highlighted the fact that these two vehicles fall short of the estimated fuel economy numbers as required by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The government agency numbers that are placed on the window labels of these Ford models are 47 mpg city, 47 highway, and 47 combined. According to the Consumer Reports tests, the Fusion Hybrid was only able to muster 39 mpg combined while the C-Max Hybrid was able to reach only 37 mpg overall. The consumer rights organization said that the discrepancies in the numbers in its test results and the EPA numbers were the largest difference ever seen with the current models.

There is a disclaimer though that says, “your results may differ” but these numbers are determined by automobile manufacturers in dynamometer testing using a prescribed driving sequence. The EPA is said to spot check about 15 percent of the new car fleet in its own test labs.

Ford issued a statement in response to the Consumer Reports test results. It said, “Early C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid customers praise the vehicles and report a range of economy figures, including some reports above 47 mpg. This reinforces the fact that driving style, driving conditions and other factors can cause mileage to vary.”

Wesley Sherwood, spokesperson for Ford, also stated that an independent forum for C-Max owners had comments on fuel economy. Some commented that they reached no better than the Consumer Reports results and others shared that they were able to reach the EPA estimates.

The Consumer Reports challenge has become a big issue in the car world, especially after Hyundai and Kia were forced to reimburse its buyers for overstating the fuel economy of some of their vehicles. The EPA discovered the discrepancies after it conducted an investigation on Hyundai and Kia mileage after numerous complaints from its owners. The automaker later admitted that it provided inaccurate numbers.

Despite the admission, the consumer advocate firm extolled the fuel economy numbers of the Hyundai Elantra. This was seconded by the EPA, as it was also cited for its fuel efficiency. In a review, Tom Mutchler, an automotive engineer at Consumer Reports said that the Elantra “gets very impressive fuel economy. We got nearly 40 mpg on the highway in our tests.” Mr. Mutchler also tested the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, a vehicle similarly cited by the EPA. He criticized the vehicle’s on-road behavior, braking and handling but gave good marks for its fuel efficiency.

In highlighting the discrepancies in the Ford vehicles, Consumer Reports also stated that it had not yet concluded the testing of the Ford Fusion and the C-Max hybrids. It did praise the Fusion, saying (the Fusion) “is a sold well-rounded package.” On the other hand, the C-Max was called “a very practical package that also drives well.” They also said that despite the discrepancies, the numbers were considered as very good as the 39 mpg of the Fusion is the leading number of all tested family sedans while the C-Max placed second behind class leader the Toyota Prius V.

Ford Focus Electric Now Highest EPA Rated

Ford Focus ST
Ford Focus ST

It’s official. The Ford Focus Electric is America’s most fuel-efficient five-passenger vehicle. It has been certified by the Environmental Protection Agency as having a 110 miles per gallon equivalent city rating and 99 MPGe on the highway. On combined mode, it is able to run on 105 MPGe.

These ratings have beaten the previous record holder, the Nissan Leaf. The previous levels were at 99 MPGe on combined mode, while the highway driving is rated at 92 MPGe. The Focus Electric has more passenger room and a faster charging system that fully recharges its battery pack in just half the time compared to the Nissan Leaf.

The Ford Focus is a five-door hatchback electric car and was first produced in December 2011. The body of the Ford Focus Electric is the third generation Ford Focus and the power train is a 23 kWh liquid cooled lithium ion battery pack providing the EPA certified range. It has a top speed of 84 mph or 135 kph.

Ford would be unveiling new vehicles in its line, such as the 2013 Ford Fusion. This model aims to build most fuel-efficient gas and hybrid powered midsized sedans. The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid projects to become the world’s most fuel-efficient midsized sedan with the objective of having a range of 100 MPGe in full electric mode.

According to Eric Kuehn, Chief Nameplate Engineer of the Focus Electric, “Ford is giving customers the power of choice for leading fuel economy regardless of what type of vehicle or power train technology they choose. The Focus and the Fusion are great examples of how we transformed our fleet of cars, utilities and trucks with leading fuel efficiency.”

The EPA-approved Focus Electric label is certified that the vehicle has a range of 76 miles on a single full charge compared to the 73-mile range of the Nissan Leaf. The Focus Electric has a range of 100 miles, depending on one’s driving habits. According to the latest statistics of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, an average driver travels about 29 miles a day.

With these statistics, car owners would be able to save $9,700 in fuel costs spread over five years compared to new internal combustion engine vehicles. Savings could even go higher as gas prices continue to rise, such as in California where the price of gas increased by twenty cents per gallon in just a seven day period last week.