Ford has announced that it is introducing "calibration updates designed to improve on-road fuel economy for owners of the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid."

We can speculate that these changes are at least due in part to lawsuits over mileage claims of hybrid vehicles. The automaker is enhancing 2013 models starting in August by raising their electric cruising speed to 85 miles per hour from 62 mph, optimizing the use of active grille shutters and the climate control system, shortening the engine warm-up period by 50 percent and reducing electric fan speed to minimize the fan's energy consumption.

It bears mentioning that Ford is doing pretty well in the US electrified vehicle market this year. The company claims to have grown its share in the segment by 12 points to 16 percent while taking a high number of Toyota Prius trade-ins in the process. Conversely, Toyota has experienced a five-percent drop in new-Prius sales over the same period. Additionally, Ford states that it has increased its share of the US vehicle market by one percent this year, more than any full-line automaker.

We're sure Ford will be monitoring the fuel mileage of its hybrid fleet closely with the hopes of seeing significant improvements, though the automaker offers the expected 'Your mileage will vary" disclaimer, which you can read all about in the press release below.
Show full PR text
Ford Further Improving On-Road Hybrid Fuel Economy and Hiring for Future, as Electrified Vehicle Share Quadruples

Ford's share of U.S. electrified vehicle market grows to nearly 16 percent during first half of 2013, a 12-point gain over the same period last year – supporting the company's nearly 1-point increase in overall U.S. market share, the biggest gain of any full-line automaker
Ford electrified vehicle sales help drive coastal growth, including the largest retail share increase in California of any brand this year; top trade-in for new Ford C-MAX Hybrid is Toyota Prius, which has seen a 5 percent drop in sales
Committed to continuously improving fuel economy, Ford is enhancing the on-road fuel economy performance of its 2013-model hybrid vehicles
Ford also expanding electrification engineering jobs by nearly 50 percent and investing $50 million in electrified vehicle development centers to further its commitment to deliver leading fuel economy across its lineup


DEARBORN, Mich., July 16, 2013 – As Ford's share of the U.S. electrified vehicle market has quadrupled in the past year, the company is announcing improvements to the on-road fuel economy performance of its hybrid vehicles, hiring new engineers, and expanding its research facilities for expected continued growth.

This year, Ford's share of the U.S. electrified vehicle market is up 12 share points to nearly 16 percent, while Toyota's share is down 8 share points, and more customers are trading in their Priuses for the new Ford C-MAX Hybrid.

"Strong consumer acceptance of Ford hybrids shows that our plan to lead in fuel economy across our lineup is working," said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development. "Our commitment to deliver great fuel economy in our cars, utilities and trucks is a key reason we are seeing strong growth in coastal markets and with import buyers."

Ford reported electrified vehicle sales of 46,197 units through June – more than 400 percent higher than the same period a year ago. Ford C-MAX Hybrid and Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid are helping drive this growth. C-MAX is drawing new buyers in coastal markets and in Florida and Texas, as Toyota Prius U.S. sales have declined 5 percent. Meanwhile, the Ford brand had the largest retail share increase in California of any brand during the first five months of 2013, based on the latest Polk retail registration data.

Last month, 64 percent of C-MAX Hybrid buyers came from non-Ford brands. In fact, the vehicle most traded in for a Ford C-MAX is Toyota Prius.

Lincoln MKZ also is bringing new customers into the showroom. Strong demand has led Lincoln to increase the production mix of MKZ Hybrid to 40 percent of MKZ production, up from 20 percent.

Electrified vehicles part of larger Ford success story
The company's strong product lineup has led to Ford's U.S. market share growing at a faster rate than competitors – gaining nearly a full percentage point through the first half of the year. The Ford brand also achieved the fastest retail share growth of any automotive brand on the coasts, up almost 2.5 percentage points compared with 2008, based on Ford's analysis of Polk retail registration data.

Consumer demand is strong across the company's lineup – with its fuel-efficient cars, utilities and trucks all showing gains this year.

One example is the Ford brand's coastal retail passenger car share, which is up more than 1 percentage point and growing at about three times the rate of the industry.

Another success is in what Ford calls the "super segment" – small cars, midsize sedans and small utilities that have fueled 42 percent of the company's overall growth since 2008. Ford's small cars, including Fiesta, Focus and C-MAX, totaled 35,851 sales last month, a 39 percent increase over last year and the company's best June small car sales in 13 years.

Ford Fusion has seen record sales for the first half of the year, and Escape continues to be the best-selling utility in America – posting record sales the last five months.

Overall, Ford is on track to be the best-selling brand of utility vehicles for three straight years. Ford F-Series has been America's best-selling pickup for 36 straight years; it sold more than 367,000 trucks during the first half of the year – a 22 percent increase over last year.

Better on-road mileage performance for hybrids
As its electrified vehicle market share grows, Ford also is taking action to improve the on-road fuel economy performance of 2013-model hybrid vehicles in the United States and Canada. Starting in August, the company will make calibration updates designed to improve on-road fuel economy for owners of the 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid, 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

"We are committed to continuously improving the fuel economy of our vehicles," said Nair. "We believe these actions will provide our customers enhanced on-road fuel economy satisfaction."

Calibration updates to Ford hybrid vehicles include control system enhancements for a variety of driving conditions on the highway, during short trips and while using the climate control system. Enhancements designed to improve customer satisfaction include:

Increasing the maximum pure electric speed to 85 mph from 62 mph, allowing increased use of electric-only mode on the highway
Optimizing the use of Active Grille Shutters to reduce aerodynamic drag under more driving and temperature conditions including cold weather, during air conditioner use and when the engine coolant temperature is higher
Reducing the electric fan speed as a function of coolant temperature to minimize the fan's energy consumption
Shortening engine warm-up time by up to 50 percent to enable electric-only driving and engine shutdown at stops sooner after cold starts
Optimizing the climate control system to minimize use of the air conditioning compressor and reduce the energy used in cold weather operation


"Just as individual mileage can vary based on driving styles and environmental conditions, we expect fuel economy improvements will differ from customer to customer depending on individual driving habits," said Nair. "Customers should see the most improvement at highway speeds, during air conditioner use and operation in colder climates."

Expanding for the future
This year, Ford also will expand its electrification engineering team by nearly 50 percent, growing to 500 salaried employees. Further, the company is investing an additional $50 million in electrified product development and testing centers in Dearborn.

Ford will double electrification battery-testing capabilities by the end of the year – to a total of 160 individual battery-test cells – helping to speed hybrid and electric vehicle development by as much as 25 percent.

"This investment in new engineers and expanded facilities helps us prepare for growth," said Nair. "All of us at Ford remain absolutely committed to offering customers a choice of leading fuel-efficient vehicles – from EcoBoost®-powered gasoline engines and hybrids to plug-in hybrids and electrified vehicles."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 81 Comments
      Jesse Gurr
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm not sure because I don't own one but, is it true that whenever the engine is on or the car is on the move that the battery is being recharged from that? If that is true then as you are driving on the freeway up to 85 MPH and the battery runs out and the engine turns on, the battery is recharged up to a certain point and then at that point the engine turns off and you are still going 80 MPH on battery alone. That could really help with MPG numbers. That is a really good idea to do that. I think I am seriously considering getting one now if that is the case.
        David Murray
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        That is the general concept behind a series hybrid design. However, what you describe is mostly the case in low-speed city driving. The engine will run for a few minutes here and there as needed, while the electric motor keeps the car moving independent of the engine. However, at 85 mph as you say, the amount of energy required to keep the car moving at that speed would require the engine to run constantly. So it would likely never shut off unless you were driving down a mountain slope or something. The Chevy Volt will actually sometimes shut off the engine (assuming the main battery is drained and you have switched to gas) at higher speeds such as in the 40's or even 50's sometimes. But it has a MUCH larger battery pack than a typical hybrid and thus can store a little more power. Byt a typical hybrid like the Prius or Cmax you can expect the engine to run constantly at any speed over around 30 mph in real-world driving.
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      This car continues to be a best buy, the plugin. I hope they continue to keep making these improvements. The 20 mpg range is just a little skimpy. 25 real world, electric only miles would be better.
        Ziv
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        25 real world is a bit short, as well. I love my Volt but if it was 42 miles of range instead of 38 I would be driving on the ICE about 33% as often. And I think there are a lot people that would be in the same boat. I have had the car for just 5 weeks so it is early days, but it is amazing how often I put 4, 5 or 6 miles on the genset. That having been said, I have only used around 2 gallons in 5 weeks and a large part of that was used driving the car home from the dealer.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Long overdue.
      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Calibration Updates" LOL, it's a RECALL
      FatManChew
      • 1 Year Ago
      If I was a CMax owner I would let Ford beta test on other cars before I'd let them touch mine.
      Andy Drake
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm so tired of hearing about people whining about not getting the mpg average the sticker says in the real world. It doesnt always happen and it's impossible to guess what every customers driving situation is going to be whether it be weather, terrain, traffic or whatever may impact it. Life isn't always fair and doesn't always work out in your favor. Get over it!
        mazeroni
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andy Drake
        Rather, I think all hybrids and electric cars need a sticker stating these are R&D vehicles, and you the consumer are a guinea pig. I applaud those who buy these vehicles but as a whole we are still 7~10 years out from a truly solid mainstream hybrid offering. When that day comes I'll take a look but right now I can't swallow the cool-aid.
          manure
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mazeroni
          The Toyota Prius has proven totally reliable and gets good mileage. For all others however, 100% agree. Would not buy. Gas engines have 100+ years of engineering. Hybrids aren't there yet.
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mazeroni
          yonomo200: Almost no locomotives are hybrids. They do not have energy storage, they just use electricity to get energy from the engine to the wheels.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mazeroni
          [blocked]
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andy Drake
        When ONE person fails to get the rated mileage, you could blame it on individual variation. When HUNDREDS of people sampled all fail to get the rated mileage- that means FORD is lying. I am tired of hearing people defend liars.
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @icemilkcoffee
          so, what about the THOUSANDS that havent complained and are getting close/ EXCEEDING mpg claims?....THAT means your presumption is groundless.....no defense, people with a gripe make sure they get heard, satisfied people have better things to do with their time than to fuel haters much like yourself.....
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andy Drake
        Andy Drake: In well-organized tests, Fords have done noticeably worse in meeting their mpg figures than other makes. For example, in steady-state 55mph testing, Fords hybrids almost met their rated EPA highway figures. Toyotas and Hondas in the same test exceeded their rated EPA highway figures by 20% or more.
        Aaron
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andy Drake
        I typically get BETTER than EPA estimates on my cars.
        Famsert
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andy Drake
        People are "whining" because standardized tests show FORDS severely underperforming vs their EPA estimates unlike the competition. There was just an article showing how a base Accord can meet or exceed its EPA estimate and even beat the Fusion Hybrid in the highway mileage since the Fusion Hybrid underperforms severely. This is why people are whining, not because they don't realize driving habits affect mileage, but because their FORDS were advertised to get better mileage than they are reasonably capable of.
        Rob Mahrt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andy Drake
        I started up my CMAX the other day and sat there.. waiting for the MPGs to hit the EPA estimate. I probably sat in my driveway for 40 minutes and the MPG never even came close to what Ford told me they would be.
      James
      • 1 Year Ago
      It is clear there are many people will buy anything that has a Detroit brand name on it. That is what keeps Ford in business. It is phenomenal people will buy something that scores so poorly in the Consumer Reports reliability score. The reliability problem is why so few people purchase Ford on the east and west coast. Based on some of the questionable stories coming out of Ford on MPG I wonder if their claim that a large number of Prius are being traded in for Ford hybrids is just more smoke from Dearborn, Mi.
        mikeybyte1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @James
        Unless you are one of the hundreds of millions of people that do not read Consumer Reports or use them as a reference for car shopping.
          cyb
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mikeybyte1
          Hundreds of millions? There are around 300 in USA. I suppose all people are reading it.
          DK
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mikeybyte1
          Seriously, I can only think of one person I know who subscribes to CR.
      James
      • 1 Year Ago
      Only a Japanese car hater would purchase a Ford hybrid. The Camry Hybrid is faster, handles better, obtains better real world MPG, has much more room, will be more reliable according to consumer reports, and is less expensive than the CMax. Fords are for old people who have World War 2 in their brains.
        RoyEMunson
        • 1 Year Ago
        @James
        Wow... where did the bad Ford man touch you, James?
        Aaron
        • 1 Year Ago
        @James
        How does a Camry (sedan) have more room than a C-Max (crossover)? What metric are you using? It sure isn't cargo capacity.
        Bayard
        • 1 Year Ago
        @James
        Why dont you compare apples to apples, Fusion Hybrid is far Superior than a Camry hybrid. and really Fords are for old people really.
      TIMMAH!
      • 1 Year Ago
      "It bears mentioning that Ford is doing pretty well in the US electrified vehicle market this year. The company claims to have grown its share in the segment by 12 points to 16 percent while taking a high number of Toyota Prius trade-ins in the process." If anything it's because the Fords drive like cars whereas the Prius' drive like some sort of appliance.
        zoom_zoom_zoom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @TIMMAH!
        Source?
          throwback
          • 1 Year Ago
          @zoom_zoom_zoom
          Source for how a Prius drives? You have to drive one. The Prius gets very good mileage but has some of the worse driving dynamics of any modern car. Numb steering with no road feel, spongy brakes (regen does not seem very well calibrated) and a too soft a ride. Now if that does not matter to you, then the Prius is a good buy for a daily commuter as it has great reseale value and is reliable. It's just not a car for people who actually like to drive.
          m_2012
          • 1 Year Ago
          @zoom_zoom_zoom
          ^^^^ Press release. ^^^^ and no source needed for Prius drives like an appliance, everyone knows that.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Dean Hammond
        • 1 Year Ago
        AROUND TOWN?.........still dont get it do you aaron....I will cut and paste this response on all your alter egos....
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          VW is having the same problem with the Jetta hybrid about MPG not hitting target. Seems people are getting mid-high 30s. Accord hybrid has a similar system so it will probably have a similar problem that ford and VW are having.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          [blocked]
          merlot066
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dean Hammond
          That's interesting aaron, when Car and Driver tested the original Accord Hybrid, which was rated at 30/37 city/highway, they only got 26. I wouldn't call that "exceeding their EPA estimates by a lot", quite the opposite.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      The problems lie within the iteration itself. A very "American" take on a Prius-esque hybrid. Bigger and more powerful. Both of which are counter to what hybrids can do. End result- lack luster hybrid.
        Eric
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        I have one, and I don't find it lackluster at all- I've gotten 40-60mpg in my C-max on a regular basis. It varies a lot depending on the route, and it's not your average hybrid- I was getting lousy mileage until I learned that THIS hybrid has different sweet spots than you might expect; i.e., 65mph is better than 55mph 40-50mpg vs. 30mpg@55mph 70-73mph up a 5% grade is more efficient than 65mph uphill (5% is a lot more serious hill than it sounds like) driving slowly all the time won't charge the battery enough for full efficiency- better to keep it on EV until 10-15mph then accelerate briskly to the speed limit where it takes little power to maintain that speed, all these things add up to what I consider "my fast hybrid". I tested the prius, and the suspension was too hard for me. The C-max is more like a regular car, and if the difference is I pay a couple hundred more a year for gas, that's a small price to pay for better interior, plusher suspension, auto parallel parking, power liftgate, etc., etc., the C-max wins hands down. The prius would have my back aching in a day, or a week at most.
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Scooter
        I agree completely! Obviously the mileage numbers don't come close to the Prius, and we all know Americans don't like larger vehicles. This is why the vehicle is selling so poorly, as compared to the Prius V, and why the Fusion hybrid sales are down 95% so far this year. Wait...what? Nevermind.
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