Confused By MPG? Ford Contest Rewards App Developers Who Help

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2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2012

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2012

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Life can be confusing for those motivated into greener cars with the aim of saving money.

With all the options available to today's buyers--more efficient gasoline, diesel, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric cars, biofuels and more--it's hard to know what is really best. Throw in the multitude of fuel efficiency claims, electric range and more, and, well, it gets pretty tough to understand.

That's why, says Earth Techling, Ford is offering prizes of $50,000 to software developers to come up with a smartphone app that helps people make sense of the barrage of information.

The Personalized Fuel Efficiency Apps Challenge asks software developers to design something that helps consumers better understand and improve their personal fuel efficiency. The service they provide will be highly personalized, taking into account the various factors that can see a car's fuel economy stray from official figures.

There's an element of irony in this of course, which is that Ford's recent Fusion and C-Max Hybrid models are particularly susceptible to driving style, resulting in many customers missing EPA numbers by a significant margin.

Using these as an example, one of the contest's successful apps might give consumers a better idea of how their driving style and typical use would impact upon fuel efficiency--perhaps leading to fewer disappointments.

Apps will be based on the OpenXC platform, an open-source platform developed by Ford for research applications. A software and hardware development kit gives developers access to a wide range of vehicle data. By using both real-time data from the car, and historical data, an app could offer a truly tailored service.

Interested parties can register with Ford via the contest's website, and submissions for apps open on April 24.


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Comments (4)
  1. There is an easy answer to this question. Just have vehicle owners send their actual MPG or litres per 100k they are getting with their vehicles.

    When enough people send in their info, it will represent the true cost with an average large enough to be correct.

  2. It goes further than that Ian. Ford is trying to mask their poor programming by claiming people just need to drive better. That is B.S.. There are people out there who owned a 2010 Fusion Hybrid and achieved EPA or better fuel economy but cannot come close to EPA in their 2013 Fusion Hybrid. Similarly, former Prius owners cannot get within 10mpg of EPA in their new C-Max but had no problem beating EPA in their Prius. Wayne Gerdes et al figured out it is the simulated pulse & glide programming Ford designed into the new Fusion and C-Max. It just isn't an efficient way to drive on the freeway.

  3. NOT to defend Ford, but EPA test allows automakers to "game" the test. Ford is just taking advantage of it.

    But it does suck.

    Maybe EPA should require all cars to come with an EPA mode (enabled by software) and then people can duplicate that MPG in the real world by driving like EPA test and see how many people will last in that style of driving...

    With all that said, Ford is "cheating" this by "misleading" its marketing.

  4. Vehicle owners already can at
    Do you? :-)

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