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jasonj80

Ford restates mpg estimates on 6 models after internal audit

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.......This is really really bad for Ford......

 

I agree it's not good, but in less than a week, it will be totally forgotten by the general public. Like recalls, nobody really pays attention to this kind of stuff except people who frequent automotive forums.

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Hmmm, like I didn't see this one coming. Like Austin said..wouldn't surprise me if the EB cars are next.

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I doubt that very much. You couldn't stand driving with the moderate acceleration that is part of the EPA protocol. And if you wants more acceleration, you gets worse gas mileage.

 

This has the hallmarks of an engineer (or engineers) playing fast and loose with coastdown numbers. Possibly they thought that they had the freedom to do this, within the regs. Possibly they thought they wouldn't be caught.

 

Ultimately, this is bad management at the highest levels.

 

You do not, as a manager, create a system that incentivizes cheating, and that's what happened here.

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Hmmm, like I didn't see this one coming. Like Austin said..wouldn't surprise me if the EB cars are next.

Well, the 1.0 Liter EB in the Fiesta was down graded from 32/45/37 to 31/43/36. Hopefully, this will be the extent of all of it and it never happens again. Dumb dumb dumb.

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All I'll say is that Ford's engineers better be busting their balls from here until the next round of hybrid launches to make sure they get the mileage right and competitive. Bad Ford! No dessert for you!

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It is possible this was an honest mistake, but the process should have had provisions to catch that.

 

But Richard is right - people respond based on how you compensate them. Compensating executives on short term stock price goals will lead you to disaster. I've seen it first hand.

 

There was a story of a welding company that paid their welders something like 15 cents per new weld and 25 cents to reweld something that was bad. The defect rate was enormous - almost 25%.

Let's see - if I screw up you'll pay me 40 cents but if I do it right you only pay me 15? DUH. They changed it to 20 cents per weld and rewelds were free. Amazingly the defect rate dropped to almost 0.

 

This is not rocket surgery.

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I like that, rocket surgery.

 

And from my experiences in industries that greatly rely on simulations I doubt that the compensation system was all that big of a factor. A factor, yes, but a minor one.The ease and power of simulations can be intoxicating, and early in a program when real world testing correlates very well with the simulations you can become over reliant on the simulations and neglect fresh testing and correlation. Been there, done that. But as most of us learn (hopefully sooner than later) the real world can bite harder and deeper than any simulation. Another thing is that newer engineers are much much more dependent on software based simulations and have less grounding in empirical data - that is the way the university programs have been going over the last 25 years. And in the last 5 years there has been a great influx of newer engineers at the automakers. The new culture is much less empirical and more reliant on simulations. therefore much more trust is put into the software used and the simulations run. Reminds me of when I was a newly minted engineer years ago - an old timer I worked wit did not fully trust those new four function hand held calculators that were just coming out, and verified all calculations done on one by checking the results with hand calculations.

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That was based on Richard's thought that maybe it was done on purpose rather than just an error.

 

In this case I'd say it was more cost cutting and speed that drove simulations rather than physical testing.

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That was based on Richard's thought that maybe it was done on purpose rather than just an error.

 

In this case I'd say it was more cost cutting and speed that drove simulations rather than physical testing.

 

Looking through the comments, I didn't see a link to Raj Nair's video explanation. So here it is:

 

Raj Nair

 

I do not believe this action was intentional on any level. But...what I think doesn't matter. Some portion of the public and a lot of auto writers already are skeptical of Ford's fuel economy, and this just supports and reinforces their beliefs.

Edited by Austin

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I knew my C-Max Energi was going to get worst MPG numbers as stated, before I bought it. My dealer knew it, and so did Ford. Ford had a mess on their hands when everyone was reporting the bad news, including hypermilers a year and a half ago. This brought the price down and Ford started giving the $750 cash incentive around April of last year, and my dealer changed his mind and started excepting X-Plan at the same time. This was a business choice to keep pushing sales with the bad EPA estimates, but Ford had to do what it did.

 

Within the first day of owning my Energi, I knew what I was hearing was true, but I bought it for its 21 mile EV mode. I was a little upset when the Energi was not part of the original Goodwill check like the C-Max Hybrid, but it looks like Ford is now making things right. I will get the $775 now and I'm fully satisfied Ford stepped up to the plate.

 

Nice to get the $775 coming and find out now I more than doubled the new EPA rating of a 19 mile EV range already with 39.6 miles. Today, I have a 381.2 lifetime MPG average and 120 MPGe lifetime average with 5,680 miles on the OD. Still have not bought any gas and have a little less than 1/4 of a tank the dealer gave me. Still getting free battery charges at my wife's work and my Ford Dealer, so this car has cost me very little with the car's $4,007 tax credit and $500 credit for my 40amp Leviton home charger. Got the Energi with the Ford X-Plan plus $750 cash coupon from Ford, and now $775 more coming is great.

 

Gary

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I do not believe this action was intentional on any level.

 

I dunno. I think that there was some intent behind the selection of overly optimistic parameters. I mean, I'm not talking grand conspiracy here, just intentional fudging by engineer(s) running the simulations.

 

It is interesting that Ford uncovered this and not the EPA.

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Based on what my sources are saying this wasn't at all intentional or fudging - just a flaw in the process and/or system that also affected a lot of future vehicles still in development.

 

Doesn't change the fact that it should not have happened in the first place.

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Unless your 'source' is the person who used the wrong parameters, and he is more honest in his conversations with you than people generally are when they make a huge mistake, I don't put a lot of stock in your source.

 

The most plausible scenario, to me, remains:

 

An engineer selected certain values for the model that he/she *knew* were borderline unacceptable in order to obtain better results.

 

And I would guess that the 'process failure' was that those parameters were not subject to rigorous review.

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I dunno. I think that there was some intent behind the selection of overly optimistic parameters. I mean, I'm not talking grand conspiracy here, just intentional fudging by engineer(s) running the simulations.

 

It is interesting that Ford uncovered this and not the EPA.

 

I really don't think so. Here's why:

 

1. The Chief Program Engineer is responsible for all of the "accountables" in a program, even if he/she doesn't really have total control. So it's their responsibility to do the reconciliaiton between cost/weight/pricing/features/et al, up to and including investment and financial results.

 

2. Obviously, it helps both the CPE and the Company in total if fuel economy is judged more favorably. For the program, it might mean you don't have to substitute a lighter material that costs more. For the Company, it might mean there is less pressure to sell small cars.

 

3. But...the CPE does not have control over the testing. He/She can't just tell the technicians to change a setting on the dyno. So if there were to be some sort of conspiracy, it would have to be at much higher levels and include the testing activity which is run as a separate engineering arm. Which means you would be talking VP of Engineering. The issue with most conspiracies is that the higher you go, that means the more people that would have to be in on it. I just don't see it, as it doesn't fit Ford's culture and, in addition, fuel economy results with the EPA are an open book and subject to audit.

 

4. I also don't think (but of course don't know) that an engineer selected some parameter that was favorable. There would be nothing in it for him/her. I really suspect a mathematical flaw in the algorithms that were being used to correlate track coastdown data to that of running in the wind tunnel lab on a dyno. Not good, but perhaps not as bad as missing Mars with the Mars Climate Orbiter

.

5. Having said all this -- the EPA has dyno labs in Ann Arbor where they can audit the manufacturer's fuel economy results. The two main factors for adjusting the dynos -- weight and road load -- are dialed in. The EPA can run an audit on weight pretty easily. But the coastdown data that simulate road load is much more difficult. I know the EPA does not have a track in Ann Arbor, but I'm not sure if they have track available to them elsewhere for confirming the coastdown data (and it takes a lot of time and effort). I seem to remember they were trying to secure a track somewhere for this reason, but I can't find the reference. Coastdown is where Hyundai/Kia got in trouble (probably intentional), and road load also is where the Ford issues are.

Edited by Austin

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I knew my C-Max Energi was going to get worst MPG numbers as stated, before I bought it. My dealer knew it, and so did Ford. Ford had a mess on their hands when everyone was reporting the bad news, including hypermilers a year and a half ago. This brought the price down and Ford started giving the $750 cash incentive around April of last year, and my dealer changed his mind and started excepting X-Plan at the same time. This was a business choice to keep pushing sales with the bad EPA estimates, but Ford had to do what it did.

 

Within the first day of owning my Energi, I knew what I was hearing was true, but I bought it for its 21 mile EV mode. I was a little upset when the Energi was not part of the original Goodwill check like the C-Max Hybrid, but it looks like Ford is now making things right. I will get the $775 now and I'm fully satisfied Ford stepped up to the plate.

 

Nice to get the $775 coming and find out now I more than doubled the new EPA rating of a 19 mile EV range already with 39.6 miles. Today, I have a 381.2 lifetime MPG average and 120 MPGe lifetime average with 5,680 miles on the OD. Still have not bought any gas and have a little less than 1/4 of a tank the dealer gave me. Still getting free battery charges at my wife's work and my Ford Dealer, so this car has cost me very little with the car's $4,007 tax credit and $500 credit for my 40amp Leviton home charger. Got the Energi with the Ford X-Plan plus $750 cash coupon from Ford, and now $775 more coming is great.

 

Gary

Theres two people here at work, one with a Fusion Energi one with a C-max Energi....heres a shot of the Fusions das after the FIRST tank of gas was used....yup 7376 miles on the first tank...

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4. I also don't think (but of course don't know) that an engineer selected some parameter that was favorable. There would be nothing in it for him/her. I really suspect a mathematical flaw in the algorithms that were being used to correlate track coastdown data to that of running in the wind tunnel lab on a dyno. Not good, but perhaps not as bad as missing Mars with the Mars Climate Orbiter

 

I find it difficult to exclude a variation of observer-expectancy bias in parameter selection---even if the testing is performed by another unit of the company.

 

I do not think that these calculations were performed in a vacuum, with engineers uninfluenced (even subconsciously) by the importance of achieving a high FE score for the company as a whole.

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4. I also don't think (but of course don't know) that an engineer selected some parameter that was favorable. There would be nothing in it for him/her. I really suspect a mathematical flaw in the algorithms that were being used to correlate track coastdown data to that of running in the wind tunnel lab on a dyno. Not good, but perhaps not as bad as missing Mars with the Mars Climate Orbiter

From what I'm reading/hearing (including from one of akirby's sources), this seems the most likely cause. Hell, maybe it really was like the Mars Climate Orbiter, and it was a unit conversion problem.

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From what Nair is saying the value used for the formula seemed reasonable but when they went back and compared it to actual test results on a Fusion hybrid they found that the value was incorrect and failed to take into account other factors. Ford self-reported this to the EPA and is changing window stickers on both new vehicles and existing vehicles at dealers.

 

So it does sound like there is a process to validate the formula but it wasn't applied as soon as it should have.

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I scanned the posts, didn't read them all, was looking for posts from owners, here's my story. Took ownership of my C-Max Energi in mid March, so far I've driven 1407 miles in EV and 709 using the ICE. My average mpg's are currently 154.2. On a typical weekday, I drive 18.5 miles round trip to work and back. I leave my house with 25-27 e miles in the HVB, 16.5 miles are on the interstate using cruise at 55 mph and about 1 mile on both ends, home to freeway and freeway to office. Because I work at 04:00, there's no traffic on my inbound and I don't have to stop at lights, so I only produce about 1.5 regen miles after both trips. When I arrive home, I usually have 4-5 miles remaining in the HVB. Take into account the energy drawn off the battery for incidental needs and I'm pretty darn close to the original estimate, maybe 1-2 miles off. The only time I drove long enough using the ICE to determine mpg's, I was traveling in the 60-70 mph range and was seeing 38-40 mpg. I don't know, I'm pretty happy with the overall economy of my Energi (and extremely happy with the quality) and all the non owners can go on about what a disgrace this is, but for Ford to give me back $775 when I'm averaging 154 mpg, that's just fine with me.

 

I forgot to add, when I play a golf course 6.5 miles from my house, because it has a lot of downhill, I arrive after the 6.5 miles having only used 2.2 miles of the HVB. Running errands in the city, with plenty of stop and go, I can travel 18-20 miles and return home with 10-15 miles of energy remaining from a full 25-27 mile charge. It's a car you have to learn to drive, and when you do, it sure feels good to only have to go the the gas station once every 30-40 days to add 3 gallons to keep it between 1/4 and 1/2 tank.

Edited by transitman

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Very disappointing. People buy hybrids for fuel economy. This is the main draw to these vehicles. What a let down. I do have several customers with Fusion hybrids and Cmax that get over 40 on the trip odometer.

 

The EPA wants every manufacturer to sell fuel efficient vehicles, yet all the variables in fuel quality and ethanol levels completely screw the pooch on consistency. My EB F150 has large swings in fe depending on fuel.

I say take all the ethanol out of the fuel.

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Here's the deal w/ethanol:

 

The EPA requires oxygenated fuel in a sizable number of markets:

 

You can get oxygenated fuel by means of:

 

MTBE, which contains methanol that is an even more dangerous groundwater contaminant than gasoline, or ethanol which is not a dangerous pollutant.

 

And if you use MTBE, you'll have substantially less demand for corn, and thus row-crops in general which leads to massive cash payments directly to farmers.

 

So, realistically, you have two choices:

 

Use MTBE, a more dangerous additive, and give money to farmers for no good reason OR use ethanol and create a market for a row crop that eliminates the need for the annual loan deficiency payment subsidies.

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So, realistically, you have two choices:

 

Use MTBE, a more dangerous additive, and give money to farmers for no good reason OR use ethanol and create a market for a row crop that eliminates the need for the annual loan deficiency payment subsidies.

 

With ethanol, maybe more attention might be paid to Direct Alcohol Fuel Cells. No high-pressure hydrogen storage or plumbing. The party line has been hydrogen, so far, with ethanol fuel cells getting limited use in things like forklifts. :)

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Nobody will ever convince me that this was not intentional. It does matter what I think but Fords FE has been suspect in my mind for several years mainly with hybrids and EB engines.

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Nobody will ever convince me that this was not intentional. It does matter what I think but Fords FE has been suspect in my mind for several years mainly with hybrids and EB engines.

If this had been intentional, why would Ford be confessing to an error in calculations now

when they could have simply brought forward a future upgrade and masked/covered the whole thing.

This is the basic difference in internal integrity between Ford and some of its rivals who prefer to hide mistakes.

 

People will always think the worst of motor companies when quality issues are reported in the press

but when you read what actual owners are getting in day to day driving, I think Ford would still be comfortable.

Edited by jpd80

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I don't necessarily think this was 100% intentional. The reason I think not is because the numbers are not impossible to get. The proof for me is the customer vehicles I see coming in with over 40mpg on the trip computer.

As far as EB numbers, people don't understand more boost requires more fuel. Keep your foot out of it and numbers are attainable. However, it's like Gt Mustangs and corvettes. They can get good hwy mpg , yet they have demons that make the driver want to drive fast. It's hard not to want that pull and exhaust note.

Only ford knows if this was intentional or a stupid miscalculation.

They have to get that fe up to compete. That sub 40 mark will hurt hybrid sales I believe. Maybe they will give good deals on one I'll buy one.

Edited by fordtech1

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