Canadian Manufacturing

Ford offers free hybrid ugrades to owners in bid to boost efficiency

Upgrades available on 77,000 2013 Ford C-Max, Fusion Hybrids and Lincoln MKZ hybrids

DEARBORN, Mich.—As Ford continues to push into the North American electrified vehicle market long dominated by Toyota, the automaker has announced free upgrades to boost fuel efficiency in existing hybrids on the road.

Starting in August, Ford plans to recalibrate the vehicle control systems on 77,000 Ford C-Max and Fusion Hybrids and Lincoln MKZ hybrids from the 2013 model year, adjustments the automaker says will “improve on-road fuel economy for owners.”

“We are committed to continuously improving the fuel economy of our vehicles,” vice-president of global product development Raj Nair said in a statement. “We believe these actions will provide our customers enhanced on-road fuel economy satisfaction.”

Ford also plans to optimize the active grille shutter system in the vehicles, as well as reduce electric fan speed, minimize the use of the vehicles’ air conditioning compressor and shorten engine warm-up time by as much as 50 per cent.

According to Ford, it will also increase the maximum pure electric speed to 85 mph from 62 mph, allowing increased use of electric-only mode on the highway.

“Just as individual mileage 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,” Nair said.

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

The changes come after some consumers complained that the vehicles aren’t getting the 47 mpg fuel economy as advertised by the Detroit automaker, and as Ford sees its share in the North American electrified vehicle market climb.

According to numbers released by Ford, its share of the electrified vehicle market in the United States is up 12 share points to nearly 16 per cent.

It claims Toyota’s market share dropped eight points in the same time.

With files from The Associated Press

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