You might recall that Ford recently had to revise its mpg estimates for its C-Max Hybrid because of customer complaints of lower-than-advertised fuel economy. Honda and Hyundai have gone through similar sticky situations. I can tell you from seven years of personal experience with three hybrids and an electric vehicle that you can get very close to, if not exceed the rated mpg ratings on almost any vehicle by driving the speed limit and using the cruise control; it is not that difficult. Many people speed while driving, and speeding always results in lower fuel economy, even in hybrids and electric vehicles.
Honda’s two motor-generators have no connecting planetary gear set like we’ve come to know in the Prius.
The Fusion Energi can drive approximately 21 miles on battery power before switching to hybrid mode. Unlike the Chevrolet Volt’s powertrain, the Fusion Energi can drive on electric power only or combined engine and electric motor (hybrid mode). The Volt has no hybrid mode, only a generator mode.
The 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Plug-in Hybrid have almost identical powertrains to the Fusion models. The C-Max had the same 47-mpg rating when it came out, but has been modified lower because of customer complaints.
To complete the Ford hybrid lineup, the Focus Electric Vehicle (EV) is a zero CO2 emissions vehicle. The Focus EV came out last year, but I wanted to remind you that with every EV sold, every EV mile driven, large amounts of CO2 credits are generated for Ford to help offset truck and SUV CO2 levels.
In addition to the new MG design, Honda has updated and increased the capacity of the HV battery pack.
Chrysler, Regulations and CO2 Games
Chrysler has a hybrid? Not yet, but it might finally have to make one. First, I am not trying to pick on Chrysler in this section. It has just been kind of humorous to watch Chrysler over the years trying to get around the EPA and CAFE rules and sell almost nothing but trucks, SUVs and cars with HEMIs. From my point of view, the old (pre-Fiat) Chrysler seemed to think it didn’t need hybrids or cars that get good gas mileage (although it did try to sell a 2008 Durango 2-Mode Hybrid HEMI for about three months before it was forced to declare bankruptcy). Chrysler has a history of choosing to pay the EPA and CAFE fines for not complying with the regulations rather than developing the technology needed to meet the requirements.
The EPA has now changed the rules to help close loopholes in the CAFE law that allowed fines to be paid instead of complying with regulations. The loophole closing law is the regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions; you must comply or not sell cars. You cannot have low CO2 emissions without also having good fuel economy unless you purchase CO2 credits from someone else. This put Chrysler (as well as several other gas guzzling carmakers) in a tight spot.