The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a message for those saying and complaining that its fuel economy tests couldn't reliably measure the performance of hybrid vehicles -- don't blame the test. EPA's message came as Ford Motor Co. decided to restate fuel economy estimates on its C-Max Hybrid. The matter was raised after Consumer Reports claimed that half the hybrids it tested fell short of their advertised mpg numbers by 10 percent or more.
Ford jumped on the issue, saying that it would help the EPA determine figure out whether its tests were inflating the fuel economy estimates for several hybrids. Christopher Grundler, EPA's top auto industry regulator, said the matter was enough to make its own engineers question the accuracy of their tests. The engineers got some reassurance after EPA had Toyota Prius and Hyundai Sonata hybrids underwent the same safety tests that faltered Ford C-Max.
The results? The other hybrids did fine on the tests. "It was all quite reassuring," Grundler told Automotive News, adding that the problem is "really not how the testing is done." Ford, however, is contented with EPA's move, saying that there is an industry-wide issue with hybrid vehicles.
Raj Nair, head of global product development for Ford, remarked to reporters that they've learned along with EPA that the "regulations create some anomalies for hybrid vehicles under the general label rule."According to the EPA, the C-Max had an inflated combined fuel economy estimate of 47 mpg since Ford employed test results from the more aerodynamic Fusion Hybrid, which have the same powertrain and weigh with the C-Max. [source: automotive news - sub. required]