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Ford takes steps to improve hybrids' fuel economy

Calibration updates coming on 2013 Ford C-Max, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid models

Published: July 17, 2013, 1:00 PM

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Reporting a 400% increase in sales of electrified vehicles, compared to the same period last year, Ford is taking steps to enhance the on-road fuel economy performance of its 2013-model hybrid vehicles in Canada and the U.S.

Beginning in August, the company will make calibration updates on its 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid, 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid models.

Those updates include control system enhancements for a variety of driving conditions on the highway, during short trips and while using the climate control system.

They include:

> Increasing the maximum pure electric speed from 100 km/h to 137 km/h, allowing increased use of electric-only mode on the highway.

> Optimizing use of active grille shutters to reduce aerodynamic drag under more driving and temperature conditions, including cold weather, during air conditioner use and when the engine coolant temperature is higher.

> Reducing the electric fan speed as a function of coolant temperature to minimize the fan’s energy consumption.

> Shortening engine warm-up time by up to 50% to enable electric-only driving and engine shutdown at stops sooner after cold starts.

> Optimizing the climate control system to minimize use of the air conditioning compressor and reduce the energy used in cold weather operation.

"Just as individual (fuel consumption) can vary based on driving styles and environmental conditions, we expect fuel economy improvements will differ from customer to customer depending on individual driving habits," said said Raj Nair, Ford's group vice-president for global product development.

"Customers should see the most improvement at highway speeds, during air conditioner use and operation in colder climates," he added.