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How Ford achieved 47 MPG in testing, and why you can't in the real world

MPG gasmileage FordFusionHybrid

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44 replies to this topic

#21 OFFLINE   Fynack

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 03:12 PM

I wonder if during testing, the car saw the EPA facility as "Home" and was in EV+ mode?

Most likely it did, considering there is no specific EPA facility they have to test at. They just have to test and then post results. Still waiting for the EPA test .... hopefully the results come soon.









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#22 OFFLINE   expresspotato

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 03:28 PM

Yeah I was wondering the same thing... What ever happened to that EPA investigation?



#23 OFFLINE   Barsoom

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 06:44 PM

Having once toured a gasoline company test facility, I wonder if the EPA testing was done on a treadmill rather than on an actual road?

 

If it was on a treadmill, then there isn't the effect of wind resistance on the car, which would cause a car to need more power than a treadmill test requires.

 

The gasoline company puts the car on rollers and lets the car run for hours and hours in a stationary position while hooked up to monitoring equipment. It's true that the gasoline company is testing for engine deposit build-up and not necessarily mpg, but do we know what the EPA test requires? Is it actual road driving or treadmill driving?



#24 OFFLINE   corncobs

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 06:58 PM

Treadmill!
The effect of wind resistance is calculated into the result. The same thing happens with AC usage it's not actually tested / measured its just calculated according to EPA guidelines.

I read this somewhere might even been on this forum!
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#25 OFFLINE   djminfll

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 07:32 PM

http://www.fuelecono...ow_tested.shtml

 

 

energy.gif
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How Vehicles Are Tested

Fuel economy is measured under controlled conditions in a laboratory using a standardized test procedure specified by federal law. Manufacturers test their own vehicles—usually pre-production prototypes—and report the results to EPA. EPA reviews the results and confirms about 10-15 percent of them through their own tests at the National Vehicles and Fuel Emissions Laboratory.

Estimating MPG with Laboratory Tests
  1. car_on_dyno.jpg

    In the laboratory, the vehicle's drive wheels are placed on a machine called a dynamometer that simulates the driving environment—much like an exercise bike simulates cycling.

    The energy required to move the rollers can be adjusted to account for wind resistance and the vehicle's weight.

     
  2. driving.jpg

    On the dynamometer, a professional driver runs the vehicle through a standardized driving routine, orschedule, which simulates “typical” trips in the city or on the highway.

    See video

  3. following_schedule.jpg

    Each schedule specifies the speed the vehicle must travel during each second in the test.

    Right: The driver watches a computerized display that shows his driving statistics compared to the specified schedule.

    See video

     
  4. collecting_emissions.jpg Measuring Fuel Use

    For vehicles using carbon-based fuels (e.g., gasoline, diesel, natural gas, etc.), a hose is connected to the tailpipe to collect the engine exhaust during the tests.

    The carbon in the exhaust is measured to calculate the amount of fuel burned during the test. This is more accurate than using a fuel gauge.

    This method does not work for vehicles using non-carbon-based fuels, such as fuel cell vehicles and electric vehicles.

     
Mobile | Download EPA's MPG Ratings | Find and Compare Cars | USA.gov | Info for Auto Dealers | Privacy/Security | Feedback

This site last modified Friday July 26 2013


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#26 OFFLINE   rdr

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 12:28 PM

Just traded a 2010 FFH with approx 60,000 miles on it.  Overall average fuel economy was 44.4 mpg when the car was traded in for a 2013 FFH.  The dealer upgraded the PCM at delivery and like the 2010, I within a mile or so or exceeding the EPA rating.  Last night, I got 60.9 mpg on a 21 mile cross county drive that included a mix of suburban surface streets and 4-lane highways with occasional stop lights.  Car has approx. 520 miles on it.


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#27 OFFLINE   jeapa

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 09:18 AM

That is awesome mileage rdr. Welcome to the forum.

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#28 OFFLINE   majorleeslow

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:14 AM

I can consistently get above epa but the other drivers don't. this car was built too heavy for the electrical drive to keep up with today's traffic demand and hills. pls the hvac is not tuned for a hybrid family. At times the ac consumes more energy than driving the car at 50mph with just blower fan on.
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#29 OFFLINE   Waldo

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:47 AM

I can consistently get above epa but the other drivers don't. this car was built too heavy for the electrical drive to keep up with today's traffic demand and hills. pls the hvac is not tuned for a hybrid family. At times the ac consumes more energy than driving the car at 50mph with just blower fan on.

 

As I posted somewhere else, producing the cold air to keep you comfortable requires the same amount of energy, regardless if your car is a hybrid or not.  It's just that with a hybrid using so little fuel for propulsion, it makes the A/C seem like it's inefficient, just because it represents a much higher percentage of the energy use.


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#30 OFFLINE   majorleeslow

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 01:33 PM

you're absolutely right. the ac system needs tobe hybrid as well :).
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#31 OFFLINE   Waldo

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 03:00 PM

you're absolutely right. the ac system needs tobe hybrid as well :).

 

You can make that modification yourself.  Just pack a cooler full of ice.  Halfway through your drive dump the ice on the passenger seat.


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#32 OFFLINE   majorleeslow

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 10:18 PM

Or carry cold blooded passenger. that's hybrid too.
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#33 OFFLINE   majorleeslow

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Posted 06 September 2013 - 10:22 PM

I wonder if I can plug a 12 v solar battery charger while driving to charge the accessories battery and offset some of that energy from converter and make it more of a hybrid. like the prius with solar panel. hmmm
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#34 OFFLINE   corncobs

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 05:41 PM

Just read a new article on EPA vs. Real world numbers on USA today.

There are some interesting statements in there one of them being that the consumer should expect FE to be 10% less for regular gas and 20% less for hybrid cars compared to sticker.

Check out this article from USA TODAY:

Getting car's claimed MPG tough

http://usat.ly/17HfqNF
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#35 OFFLINE   majorleeslow

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 11:16 PM

Nice article very true on some aspects. One needs to ask the question what did all kinds of company ads, brochures and the guys at dealership led you to believe, whats the real cost to own a hybrid. How much longer one needs to drive the same car to recoup the 20% mpg that they didn't realize.
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#36 OFFLINE   alpha754293

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Posted 16 September 2013 - 12:55 PM

Alright...here we go.

First off, for those that don't know - see my disclaimer in the signature. Yes, I do work for Ford as a Global Core Weight Engineer in our facility in Allen Park, Michigan; but my daily job as actually very little to do with fuel economy (it's indirectly related).

 

Second, I myself bought a 2013 Ford Fusion Titanium Hybrid. I did so for a number of reasons, the first of which was because I poked a hole in the bottom of the oil pan of my old 2003 Chevy Cavalier (literally -- it was quite a bit bigger than the size of a U.S. quarter. I always thought that I would get a new car because I run the old one into the ground - I didn't think that I was going to be doing it quite so literally when I cut a corner a little too close and the inboard side of the curb (the grassy area) - the ground was sunken in (a la pothole, but obviously not a pothole per se) so that meant that my right wheel cut the corner, and fell into the hole, which meant that between my front left wheel and my front right wheel - I was straddling the curb = coming out of a parking lot; fell hard/far enough to poke said hole. And after fixing the car twice (under insurance) and the check engine light kept coming on - I gave up on it). I drive ~40,000 miles (~65,000 km) a year; so I needed something fuel efficient. Test drove both the Prius and the Jetta Hybrid - decided against both for different reasons (which I won't get into now). And the Fusion actually PASSED the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Small Overlap Crash Test (usually referred to as the small overlap rigid barrier or SORB) test. So, for those reasons, I pay a LOT of attention to the fuel economy stuff, cuz I run the car myself; so it has no relation to the company or the fact that I work for them.

 

Third, it's always interesting reading the general public (who may or may not be engineers, and more specifically automotive engineers) looks at and interprets this fuel economy stuff.

 

Fourth, please understand that because I DO work for Ford, that I have to be VERY careful about what I put in writing. (I'm actually probably going to be drawing upon my class material and lecture notes and stuff from when I took my hybrid electric vehicles course when I was doing my undergrad (BSME, Kettering University, 2009) MOST for legal (and liability) reasons. That also means that there might be some stuff that I CAN'T answer (to put in public record).

So, with all that out of the way, if you want the pictures of my hole-in-oil pan and also the curb where I hit - message me and I'll post 'em up. Yes, I've got pictures. No, I haven't uploaded them anywhere yet; but I have nothing against sharing them.

 

---

 

[counter reset]

 

First off - fuel economy isn't really "fuel economy". The way that fuel economy is measured, yes, the EPA defines the test schedules, but the idea that we run it and then measure how much fuel we consume (which you would think would be the easy way of measuring fuel economy) isn't what actually happens.

1a) Fuel economy is measure moreso as a "result" of emissions, and NOT the other way around. Fuel economy is actually a back-calculated value from the emissions results; which is something I don't think that a lot of people in the general public know about.

 

b) To ALL the people who were talking about the whole real world vs. lab world (or EPA/Ford) tests - and some of you have probably seen me say the same thing (I think?) - so many people are critical about it and the results that they produce to which I usually ask them - ok how would you come up with a test that will be able to capture 99% of how people drive in the US - ranging all the way from hard core traffic in downtown Manhattan and L.A. to the farmer in Idaho, doing 80-85 on the long, flat, straight road? From the drivers in Florida (lowest elevation) to those in Colorado (highest elevation)? To the people in Alaska (coldest temperature, with the heaters jacked up on high) to the people in Arizona (hottest temperature, with the A/C cranked up)? What would THAT test look like? And it seems like that the moment I frame the fuel economy tests like that, the person's who has complaints still complains, but also realizes that it's not as easy as they might once thought. (And since the rate of acceleration is specified, it has to (loosely) cover the grandma's style of driving to church to the lead-footed men AND women)).

 

And the tests cannot be cost-prohibitive, and they can't take forever. In fact, I think that if you were to add up all of the tests, two required and three supplemental; I think that the schedules combined is like less than an hour total time.

 

2) It's a bit of a history lesson on dynos (and I'll be honest, I have very, very little experience with them), but from what I'm told; they used to actually have to physically put weights on the dynos in order to give it the inertial resistance. I'm not sure exactly HOW that worked, but dynos aren't just dynos. The resistance on the roller is supposed to represent the resistance that the vehicle will see when it's running on the road. This is important because it leads to this concept called "equilvalent test weight" or ETW. Back in the day, they could only physically add weights in 250 lb increments, so this lead to what's called the ETW tables. That means that if your car weighs a certain amount, it's classed in/lumped in with other vehicles within that ETW weight class (hence why I said what I do is indirectly related to this). Modern, computer dynos have much greater control, but because of the history and the amount of baggage that the US legislations carries; that's how the dynos are set up. (In water brake engine dynos, modern ones control the amount of resistance (work that the engine has to do/load) by the amount of water in the water brake). I'd assume that the weights on a chassis dyno is a similar idea nowadays.

 

And it's more of general history lesson as well it being a lesson on the history of the EPA regs which came about since ~mid 70's.

 

Once you understand those pieces, understanding how Ford (and ALL automakers) do the fuel economy testing ought to be easier.

 

So, unfortunately, to the OP that started this thread - mehhh...the theories aren't exactly true.

 

The test schedule is governed by Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 86 (which, by the way, is a total of 1211 pages if you read both Volumes 19 and 20; which you can download from thomas.loc.gov; which I had to (read)). If you are REALLY bored and you have nothing else better to do (or it's your job as it was in my case) - read it. It's quite interesting actually - especially on a "fuel economy" internet board.

 

Per the official releases and stuff - we've done exactly what US federal law requires us to do, in the manner that the US federal law requires us to do it in. Any deviation from that would have been really, really bad.

 

And while I can't comment on EPA/Consumer Reports - let me put it to you this way - you don't see Consumer's Reports say much more about us (Ford) lying about the numbers.

 

And as I always have before (I gotta run for a meeting) - you can find an article in Car and Driver which says why the EPA tests aren't so good for predicting fuel economy in electrified vehicles (like hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and full electrics (which BTW, doesn't even use the EPA test procedure, cuz there's no emissions to be measured) ;)).


Edited by alpha754293, 16 September 2013 - 12:57 PM.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed here are solely that of my own and are not representative of Ford Motor Company or its affiliates.

 

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#37 OFFLINE   hybridbear

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 11:12 AM

So, unfortunately, to the OP that started this thread - mehhh...the theories aren't exactly true.

You're absolutely right. If you notice the date when the thread was started it goes back a LONG time. Back in January when I wrote this we didn't have any of the information that we do now. Back then there was no data online about the rules of the EPA tests. I tried searching for the rules that you mention come from Title 40, Part 86 but couldn't find them online to read. I don't doubt that they were available back in January, just that I didn't have the right keywords in my Google search to find them. I started this thread back before there had been articles written by Car & Driver and other publications about the topic which have debunked most of my first post.

 

I've been meaning to get back to this thread and comment that most of my comments in the first post have been disproven, but I haven't gotten there. I fully believe that Ford accurately followed the EPA test procedure and I place the majority of the blame with the EPA. I have also called into question the testing methods of CR. In other posts I've commented that while CR does explain in detail their fuel economy testing procedure, they don't account for factors such as SOC at the beginning and end of their tests. They also don't give details about the length of their tests to understand the miles covered. In a gas car you're going to see the same MPG at 65 MPH whether you drive 5 miles or 500 miles. With a hybrid and the computer programming calling for ICE high, the first 5 miles will always have terrible fuel economy while the ICE works hard to charge the battery. It seems that you need at least 50 miles of constant high speed driving to even out this initial impact to fuel economy. Long highway trips also tend to conclude with a much higher SOC than when you started. If CR isn't accounting for this then they're unfairly biasing their results against hybrids. CR may also be letting the cars idle between tests. If they let a gas car idle between tests they likely just exclude that fuel usage from their calculations. But if they let a hybrid idle and run down its SOC and then don't account for that loss of SOC then they'll again bias their results against hybrids.


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#38 OFFLINE   alpha754293

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 12:05 PM

@hybridbear

Well...let's see...how should I put this so that I don't get myself into trouble.

 

So...I think that the best way that I put it is that there are articles available online now where Alan Mulally (CEO, Ford Motor Company) has publically stated that fuel economy is a priority for Ford; and I don't think that I really need to say much about that given the products and engines that we make. It's clearly evident that that's an important factor.

 

There's an article from PRNewswire that quotes a study that says that fuel economy is now priority 1 for some people.

 

(http://www.prnewswir...-132781153.html) and with gas having hit $4/gal US average, and it's even more expensive in California; it's in someways sad to see that the way to make people pay attention is to hit their wallets. But...well...people being people, it is what it is.

 

So, that's important because you can bet that we (Ford) is working with EPA and CR and the likes and I mean, they have some pretty smart people at all three places; so I'm pretty sure that they're well aware of the challenges.

Electrification is something that's still quite new (even though Toyota's been doing it en masse since 1997), and I'll be honest, I never grew up in the Detroit/muscle car era, so I don't have the kind of emotional attachment that the EPA has with the cars of the 70s (overall) and the Detroit 3. So, as someone looking in, and you read the EPA regulations, and you start wondering why things are the way they are, like I said, a LOT of that comes from the history of the North American auto industry. And because it's been done for so long that way, that while, yes, it makes more logical sense to update it; there's also been a lot that's been invested in testing and conforming to the regs. So - Catch 22.

 

And while I can't comment on CR (even though I know about it, but I'm not involved with it); and with the EPA coming and saying "nope - we are sticking to our rules, our tests" (which, there's more than meets the eye on that one as well, which I also can't talk about/comment on) - you end up with the kind of situation that we're in right now.

 

And it's also always interesting reading the general public's comments on the whole C-Max being voluntarily downgraded and stuff (which, you've GOT to figure that it was NOT an easy decision from our management team), because it was ultimately the right thing to do for our customers (including the voluntary goodwill payments). And I mean, I don't have to say it cuz I work for "the mother ship" lol...and we could have just as likely spent a lot of time, money, company resources, etc. to fight them on it. But in the end, the EPA isn't our customers. Our customers are our customers and they're the ones that matter. So, that's what we did. (Loosely, and largely paraphrased and there's obviously a LOT more to it than that as well, which I also can't comment on too). But it's a super short summary that a good automotive analyst ought to have been able to figure out once you are able to piece together the whole puzzle like a detective solving a mystery.

 

I don't think that I would really "blame" the EPA as well. I remember sitting in my hybrid's class in school and thinking that pretty much everything we ever learned about cars upto now, goes all out the window. The nice thing about mechanical engineers and electrical engineers is that the fundamentals of engineering a common throughout. So, all of that history (or baggage to some others, if you will) all changes once you have EVs or even part-time EVs (as is the case with hybrids and plug-in hybrids). I remember doing the study on converting the Cavalier that I killed to a hybrid and the amount of engineering that would have gone into doing that project was like being Ford, with just one person (me) doing everything. And having a microscopic budget compared to what Ford spends on developing each vehicle program.

 

And I will definitely admit that reading the 2000 pages of US regulations isn't the most EXCITING thing to do in the world - BUT, having done so, and learning some of the rules of the game - I definitely have a much more profound appreciation for it than I did if I DIDN'T read the regs.

 

So, it's also a bit of a public education thing too. And since I'm indirectly involved in it professionally, and directly involved in it personally (just past 20,000 kms on the odo) in < 5 months; I can't edcuate everybody, but I figure that it might very slowly (like molasses slowly) cascade through. And I NEVER think that a more informed customer is going to be a bad thing. No, in fact; I think that it works to our advantage. That people would start expected other OEMs ("Detroit" based or not) and ask the questions "what are your fuel economy numbers?". It's a learning process for all of us. And I would be surprised that for those who follow those who lead, (and the latest data says that we're now #2 in hybrid sales, behind Toyota), that they're going to have to face and deal with the very same challenges that by the time they get it, we would be like "oh yeah...we dealt with that (and solved it and fixed it) like...YEARS ago. Dude...where the heck were you?"

 

I personally and honestly cannot WAIT until we get into a fuel economy war with GM. That would be a lot of fun. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone. And we're conquesting too...who SAYS that a hybrid has to look like this fuel economy, aerodynamic "box".

Course, I'm preaching to the choir.

http://detroit.cbslo...months-of-2013/


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#39 OFFLINE   lggodwin

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 10:04 PM

I have never expected EPA mileage rating and didn't expect 47 on the Fusion Hybrid primarily because my driving style does not equate to EPA guidelines. Reality versus EPA should be off about 10% (no science or survey, just experience).  On my first hybrid, purchased in March, I got 43 prior to the reprogramming update.  Unfortunately, we were hit by a pickup and the Fusion was a total loss (no injuries, which was great).  In purchasing a replacement, we're only getting 36, after the reprogramming.  EPA or not, mileage should be better than 36.  From postings I've found thus far, overall average appears to be 40 with range from 29 to 53 and 70% of the postings are above 37 and 60% are above 40.  The premium for Fusion is not justified at 36.  I just want to get to 43+/-.  Ford dealer tells me there is nothing they can do and Ford corporate tells me to drive another 3000 miles.   



#40 OFFLINE   clummus

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 10:34 PM

I get about 35mpg average now. A bit better than the 32 I was getting before the update, but no where near what most on this forum get. I'm disappointed, but as time goes on I find I'm not obsessing as much as I was. What are my options..I can't trade it in without taking a huge loss. I ordered the car exactly like I wanted it, and I love it except for the gas mileage.
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