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Ford to boost fuel economy of hybrid cars

Its hybrid car line-up has come under fire for its fuel consumption: but now Ford has revealed plans to enhance the fuel economy performance of its petrol-electric models.

From August, it will introduce updates to the 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid, 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid (pictured). The updates will continue into the 2014 models.

Consumer Reports had criticised Ford in a report at the end of 2012 for what it described as a large discrepancy between the fuel economy results reported for its C-MAX Hybrid model and its real world fuel economy. That prompted Raj Nair, the Ford group vice-president of global product development, to state that Ford stood by its fuel economy ratings but that the performance aspects of its vehicles meant they were built for more spirited driving.

Ford Fusion Hybrid Blue

Discrepancies prompted class action lawsuits alleging Ford had overstated the fuel economy of its hybrid cars: but now calibration updates have introduced a number of control style enhancements in a range of driving conditions.

Among the enhancements are:

- Optimisation of the active grille shutters that will reduce the aerodynamic drag.

- Increasing maximum pure electric speed to 85mph (up from 62mph).

- Electric fan speed has been reduced to cut its energy consumption.

- Warming up time has been shortened by 50 per cent to boost engine shutdown and assist electric only driving.

- The climate control system has been optimised to minimise use of air conditioning.

According to Raj Nair, fuel economy improvements will vary between customers depending on driving habits: but the largest improvements should occur during highway speeds.

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Paul Lucas

Filed under: Latest News, Green cars, Hybrid cars, Ford

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