Ford Faces Criminal Probe Over Emissions Testing, Ranger Potentially Affected

Ford Faces Criminal Probe Over Emissions Testing, Ranger Potentially Affected
Back in February 2019, news broke out that Ford is in trouble over gas mileage ratings and emissions testing. The Blue Oval is investigating the Ranger over these concerns, and as expected, the U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the certification process.

Ford Faces Criminal Probe Over Emissions Testing, Ranger Potentially Affected

The Ford Motor Company has come under scrutiny according to a SEC filing, detailed on Page 70 under the “Other Information” chapter. Dearborn explains that “this matter currently focuses on issues relating to road load estimations, including analytical modeling and coastdown testing.”

It’s necessary to mention “the potential concern does not involve the use of defeat devices.” Shots fired at Volkswagen? Not quite, but then again, corporate greed has a tendency to backfire. Ford has voluntarily disclosed the matter to the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board on February 18th and 21st, respectively.

In the filing, Ford “cannot predict the outcome” and “cannot provide assurance that it will not have a material adverse effect on us.” Otherwise said, financial penalties are likely because the regulators have zero tolerance for such practices following the Dieselgate scandal.

It’s curious how Ford adopted a flawed approach to using road-load specifications, thus simulating aerodynamic drag and tire friction. If not implemented correctly, these lab tests fool the customers (and authorities) into thinking the 2019 Ranger is more frugal than it actually is.

Equipped with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost and 10-speed automatic transmission, the 2019 Ranger has been found to use more fuel than the EPA ratings. Over a 1,100-mile test on the highway in real-world conditions, the mid-size pickup averaged 19.5 miles to the gallon instead of 24 mpg.

TFL Truck averaged 17.5 mpg on a tank of fuel, far less than the EPA-rated 22 mpg. The Environmental Protection Agency isn’t perfect, but as opposed to NEDC ratings from not that long ago, they’re closer to real-world gas mileage. Europe switched to the WLTP in September 2018, forcing a lot of automakers to equip gasoline-fueled automobiles with particulate filters.

Ford announced that it’s evaluating changes to the road load estimations process. These changes include the engineering, technical, and governance components, which goes to show that Ford is thorough about the matter as opposed to Volkswagen.

On an ending note, remember 2014? That’s the year Ford lowered the MPG estimates on six models after an internal audit. Affected customers were compensated between $125 to $1,050 for the mess-up, and Ford wasn’t fined by the EPA.

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