Ford’s Most Fuel Efficient Car Prefers Europe To US

Ford Fiesta ECOnetic TechnologyGizmag posted an article about the 2013 Ford Fiesta with ECOnetic Technology and it ain’t gonna play in the USA. We’ll still get the usual Fiesta and its respectable 40 mpgs highway while Europe will get the Fiesta with ECOnetic Technology and almost double our fuel efficiency by getting 70+ mpgs.

Why more mpgs in Europe vs US? The Ford Fiesta with ECOnetic Technology will be built in Europe and come standard with a diesel engine. Diesel engines are generally 33% more fuel efficient than their gasoline powered counterparts. Throw in the ECOnetic technologies (Auto-Start-Stop, Smart Regenerative Charging, Eco Mode and shift indicator light), and you can account for the remaining difference in fuel economy between the US and European versions of the Fiesta. And the cherry on top – the Fiesta ECO Tech will be Ford’s lowest CO2 emissions passenger car ever.

Unfortunately, we probably won’t see the Fiesta with ECOnetic Technology stateside anytime soon. It would take the car out of the affordable range if it were shipped to the US from Europe and Ford doesn’t want to spend the money to upgrade their factory in Mexico to build diesel vehicles. But if it helps Ford reconsider their decision and leads them to build the Fiesta with ECO Tech for the US market, I’d like to apologize for making fun of the Fiesta since the early 80’s. It was just too easy but I was wrong.

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Why Would US Auto Dealers Object To Higher MPG Standards?

I have been struggling with this story for a couple of days now – Reuters posted an article, U.S. auto dealers fight Obama fuel rules, and I can’t figure out why auto dealers would be opposed. Maybe they didn’t like how President Obama was able to push these higher fuel standards, a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025, on the industry in a way no politician has been able to in the past. Or maybe the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) truly believe that the new fuel standards are going to drive the cost of cars up too high for price sensitive car shoppers.

But that doesn’t seem accurate. Any possible car price increase is going to be immediately made up by consuming less fuel with more efficient vehicles. And according to a study by Maritz Research for Ford Motor Company, 42% of the people polled said that fuel economy was an “extremely important” factor in driving new car purchases.

Jubbling’s take: We really don’t care if the automakers or NADA are behind the objection to the new standards but we are sick of the foot dragging, politicizing and special interesting of every decision like this. We felt the same way about the clowns who were part of the whole “Light Bulb Freedom” thing. Sure the Big 3 really didn’t enjoy being held over a rail, nearly bankrupt and in need of bailout money when they agreed to these new standards because they’re used being the ones holding the cards in negotiations with the Dept. of Transportation about fuel efficiency targets. Not only is this no longer the case, but now they also get to deal with the EPA.

So who wouldn’t want to get more MPG’s out of their car? Nobody. So lets move forward with this golden opportunity to mandate higher MPG standards that will benefit future generations. It shouldn’t be a political issue because it’s really about common sense and unfortunately, common sense is not a deep-pocketed special interest group.

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Engine Idle No More Thanks To Micro Hybrid Technology And Micro Hybrid Conversions

Drive a hybrid vehicle and one of the first things you’ll notice is the start/stop feature of the technology. At any intersection or stop light, the engine automatically shuts off and your first reaction might be to restart it. But it’s not necessary because you’re idling with the engine off, running off of the same battery that will propel your vehicle when the light turns green. It’s the start-stop (or stop-start) that is the key component of all hybrids and responsible for reducing CO2 emissions by up to 20% and increasing fuel economy by 5-10%. Adding this feature to your existing vehicle through a micro hybrid conversion might be only 1-2 years away.

From green.autoblog.com

From green.autoblog.com

For city drivers, the micro hybrids start-stop feature has the obvious advantage of improved fuel economy. In addition, the reduction in CO2 emissions and the improved air quality will have a positive effect on city residents.

Micro hybrids are already popular outside of the US and the technology has been implemented into mass-produced cars since 2004. It’s estimated that half of the new cars sold in Europe by 2012 will be start-stop featured micro hybrids. Automakers, including Peugeot/Citroen, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, incorporate micro hybrid technology into their vehicles at the manufacturing stage using start-stop technology from companies like Valeo. But why hasn’t this taken off in the US?

Micro hybrid adoption in the US has been slow and definitely hampered by the EPA’s refusal to credit automakers for installing the CO2 reducing, fuel saving technology. Why else would automakers like Honda, Toyota and BMW build cars with the micro hybrid feature and not sell them in the US? Because the option costs up to $500 more and the EPA’s city driving MPG tests’ only includes one full-stop that will not show any significant gain, a .1 – .2 MPG improvement, by using start-stop technology.

That brings us back to the conversion. According to an article in The Daily Green, new high-performance battery technology from companies like PowerGenix will allow car owners to retrofit their existing vehicles with micro hybrid technology for about $500. From The Daily Green:

About $150 to $200 of the cost of the system is a larger battery to handle the larger load from many thousands of engine starts and restarts. Also necessary is a relatively straightforward belt-integrated starter/generator to replace the alternator.

Whatever way we get there, adding micro hybrid technology to currently owned vehicles seems like a cinch with or without the EPA recognizing the savings to fuel and reduction of CO2 emissions. We’ll post an update on Jubbling.com regarding micro hybrid conversion providers.

And if you are looking at purchasing a new vehicle, you should definitely consider one with micro hybrid technology. The benefits more than likely will not be reflected in the MPG ratings or realized during highway driving but will play out through reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

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