Ford Investigating Possible Issue With Fuel Economy Testing

Ford is investigating the process it uses to certify emissions and fuel economy in the U.S., the automaker announced this week. The investigation comes after a handful of employees expressed concerns through Ford’s internal reporting channel back in September.


The automaker says it has identified possible concerns with how it calculates road load. The 2019 Ranger is the first vehicle Ford is evaluating, and it will be followed by other vehicles.

Ford has also hired an outside firm to look into the specifications used in its testing. According to the EPA, road load is “the force imparted on a vehicle while driving at a constant speed over a smooth level surface from sources such as tire rolling resistance, driveline losses, and aerodynamic drag.” Road load is determined by engineering models and validated through methods such as physical track tests, or “coastdown” testing.

Ford has asked the help of industry technical experts, and it has hired an independent lab to conduct more coastdown testing. It says it is considering changes to its road-load modeling process.

To be clear, Ford has not yet determined whether or not fuel economy labels or emissions certifications have been affected. And the potential issue does not involve the use of defeat devices, Ford says. In 2015, Volkswagen admitted to using these devices as a way to skirt emissions controls during emissions testing. Since then, automaker testing procedures have come under increased scrutiny.

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