Ford may have overstated fuel economy figures, hires investigators

February 22, 2019

In response to internal concerns that it may have overstated fuel economy and emissions figures, Ford said Thursday that it has hired an outside firm to conduct an investigation as to whether there was any wrongdoing with making its vehicles compliant with federal standards.

The automaker's Group Vice President, Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering, Kim Pittel, said in a statement that a handful of employees brought concerns to executives' attention this past September. Employees had concerns with the analytical model used to comply with U.S. fuel economy and emissions regulations. Ford did not admit that its figures are incorrect.

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Ford said that it has hired an outside firm to conduct an investigation into the matter. Specifically, the firm will look at Ford's vehicle road load testing procedure used to certify vehicles for emissions and fuel economy. The vehicle road load refers to a vehicle-specific resistance level used in dynamometer tests. The road load is configured through engineering models and then validated with tests, including physical track time.

In addition to the independent firm, Ford added it retained other independent experts to investigate the matter and said it plans to hire an independent lab to conduct further tests. The automaker has already begun to evaluate road-load modeling changes as well.

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Ford said its internal investigation has nothing to do with "defeat devices" like VW infamously used to cheat emissions and fuel economy tests. Tests are underway to evaluate the 2019 Ford Ranger to see if the vehicle road load procedure is not entirely accurate.

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