Saturday, December 8, 2012


Right now, Ford is beginning to see what Hyundai and Kia saw over the controversy of EPA ratings of their cars. Both the new 2013 Ford Fusion hybrids and Ford C-Max hybrids were rated a strangely consistent 47/47/47 mpg  by the EPA?? (actually the EPA did not rate this which is the reason for the controversy) a huge leap over previous years by the same model and similar cars by other manufacturers. But initial reports by reviewers and owners are stating mileage results significantly lower.

Both Kia and Hyundai admitted they made mistakes and are providing debit cards to owners to account for the difference in their gas costs as compensation. The fact that they so readily opened their purses tells me that they used a questionable marketing scheme to spur sales and now they are paying for that scheme. In the long run, the additional sales caused by the high mileage claims puts them ahead of the game.

Honda just won a court case when a lady in LA challenged their EPA ratings. In Honda's case, it was shown that the driver was more at fault than Honda emphasizing the addage "YMMV" (your mileage may vary). Although Honda was not at fault, the confusion to the consumer is clear.  Changes need to be made in the gasoline world.

Now comes Electric Vehicles and they add much more complexity to the game.  It is one thing to have a gasoline car with a 6 day supply of gasoline in Summer be reduced to 4 days in Winter.  But EVs are different in that they can also lose a third of their range in cold weather which may already be inflated putting the driver at risk of being stranded.

Add to that various processes employed for battery management and climate controls.  Both of which can greatly impact the range of the vehicle in various weather conditions.  All these variances are difficult for EV enthusiasts to follow which means a regular consumer would not have a chance to understand how effectively an EV can address their transportation needs.

All this means that EVs are very much not in the category of "one size fits all" This means additional information needs to be added to the EPA sticker but the how to do it in a way that a casual consumer can at least get an inkling of what they can expect.

I suggest zones. Divide the country into zones with an associated multiplier for each season.  EPA ratings now are based on very pleasant conditions which simply are not the case in a Chicago Winter or a Phoenix Summer.  This is a lot of information to process but at least it gives the consumer a fighting chance.

The 2nd suggestion I want to make is that the Auto manufacturers take the initiative and provide this information voluntarily until the EPA gets around to it. As we all know, waiting on the government normally does not happen until hundreds or even thousands of consumers get burned and start complaining.  Lets not let it get that far.


  1. can I repost this to the NWSG website?

  2. sure. just tell them where u got it

  3. Great post Dave. One additional point the needs to be there is range longevity (aka capacity). When my wife bought her Prius it came with a 10-12 gallon gas tank. It will always be a 10-12 gallon tank. However, my Leaf won't always have 12 capacity bars. I know this and I knew it when I got the car and I'm ok with that. But it needs to be on the sheet just like the difference between summer and winter. So the EPA estimated range should be summer year 1, winter year 1, summer year 2, winter year 2 and so on. This is why when I talk to people about buying a Leaf I don't talk about off the lot 75-100 miles. I talk about 50-60 miles at the end of the lease/loan. Given Weatherman's estimated capacity chart I should be at Nissan's battery end of life (70% capacity) at just under 10 years. 70% of 70 miles is 49 miles. I'm averaging 44 right now and in 2014 I'm down to transporting 1 kid instead of 2 and the office moves to 1 mile from the house. 49 miles is just fine for me. Is anyone still driving the car they had 10 years ago? I know I'm not and I'm proud of it.

  4. Tom, you are correct and that was part of what I had intended to add to this post. But as always, I write on emotion and not an outline!