Following Ford’s decision to restate the fuel efficiency rating of its C-Max hybrid, the EPA is left defending its tests.
C-Max hybrid owners complained last year about real-world mileage returns, sparking a class-action lawsuit against the automaker. Ford maintained that it follows the EPA’s rules.
Some questioned whether or not the EPA testing procedures can accurately measure hybrid fuel consumption. Late last year, Consumer Reports announced that it, too, found the C-Max and several other hybrids to fall short of EPA estimates.
In December, the EPA announced plans to re-test the C-Max hybrd. But over the summer it also re-ran testing on the Toyota Prius and Hyundai Sonata hybrid. The same issue didn’t seem to exist.
Ford’s insistence about not having broken any rules is true, too. The maker simply reused fuel economy results found on its Fusion hybrid, which uses the same powertrain, but is more aerodynamic, according to the EPA. The rule that allows manufacturers to recycle test results was put into place to save costs on redundant evaluations between models with few or not mechanical differences.
The rule that allows those misleading figures is on the way out, and should be amended in less than a year, the EPA’s top regulator, Christopher Grundler told Automotive News. The current five-cycle testing procedure will, however, remain in place.
[Source: Automotive News]
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