「華人戴明學院」是戴明哲學的學習共同體 ,致力於淵博型智識系統的研究、推廣和運用。 The purpose of this blog is to advance the ideas and ideals of W. Edwards Deming.

2013年2月12日 星期二

"false and misleading" 油電混合汽車油耗測試造假嗎?


Ford 與 Dr. Deming關係密切. 此案真的可當新經濟環境下的可能造假案....
有數個 教訓: 政府單位的規格永遠不周全測試/ 永遠不要相信公司自己公布的數據-- 這是為什麼日本要將波音公司的夢想機的鋰電池問題分析交给第三方.




油電混合車油耗測試造假?


2013-02-06 Web only 作者:經濟學人

去年,白宮宣佈,2025年的統合燃料效能標準將升至每加侖54.5英哩,不過,由於美國環保署(EPA)的衡量方式不同,這個數字大約等於環保署標章的每加侖36至38英哩。
此外,汽車製造商會自行測試,將結果交給國家公路交通安全管理局,再轉送給EPA驗證。但EPA只會檢視一小部分的結果,希望能藉此避免汽車製造商造假。多數製造商並未造假,但有時它們會虛報數字好取得行銷優勢,或是利用EPA測試方式中的漏洞。
現在,鎂光燈的焦點則轉到了福特身上;福特新推出的兩款油電混合車擁有極佳的數字,達每加侖47英哩,但許多買家也抱怨實際上根本跑不了那麼遠。
而在12月,消費者報導進行實測後發現,福特的測試數字與實際道路表現,差距高達每加侖8至10英哩。自那時開始,福特便一直強調部分客戶每加侖甚至能跑超過47英哩,主要的影響因素在於駕駛習慣。
確實,駕駛習慣、天候、怠速過久、車況等因素都會影響油耗表現,但目前EPA的測試方法已經將許多真實世界的情況考量在內,也用了更精確的方式來計算油耗。
那麼,福特的新款油電混合車,到底是怎麼到達每加侖47英哩的?似乎就是能在EPA的油耗測試中表現特別好。而從使用者的實際體驗、消費者報導的測試來看,福特似乎把心力放在測試,而不是真正的道路表現。

EPA目前正在檢視此事,但能做的實在不多。福特並沒有違法,但民眾意見和法庭判決也會比美國政府來得嚴厲。第一件相關訴訟已經於12月7日進入聯邦法院,而在美國,接下來一定還會有更多訴訟案。(黃維德譯)
©The Economist Newspaper Limited 2013


Difference Engine: Your mileage may vary
Fuel economy
AS A rule of thumb, the average number of miles most American motorists get per gallon is a good mile or two less than the "combined" figure printed on the window stickers fixed to new cars in dealers' showrooms. It used to be a lot worse. But from the 2008 model year onwards, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the body that devises the fuel-economy tests and checks the data that vehicle manufacturers provide for the government's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) programme—revised its testing procedure to match peoples' driving habits much better.
At its laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the EPA does not check all the test results of every make and model for accuracy. Nor does the EPA determine whether manufacturers have met the increasingly stringent CAFE requirements—and, if not, what fines to levy. Those are tasks for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the tax authorities.
This year, NHTSA requires manufacturers to achieve a CAFE figure of 34.2mpg (6.9 litres per 100 kilometres) for all car models in their ranges, and an average of 26mpg for all their light trucks. These CAFE averages are not to be confused with the fuel-economy numbers shown on the window stickers, which come from the EPA's laboratory's tests, and are adjusted to take driving conditions in the real world into effect. The CAFE figures, by contrast, are derived from different testing procedures and have various exemptions and credits built into them.
Last Year, the White House announced new CAFE targets that raise the fuel-economy standard to 54.5mpg by 2025. However, given the difference between the two ways of measuring fuel economy, a CAFE of 54.5mpg will be equivalent to an EPA combined sticker figure of around 36-38mpg.
Confusing? That is not the half of it. For a start, manufacturers test their own vehicles and report their results to NHTSA, which then sends the data to the EPA for verification. Like the taxman, the EPA audits only a small sample (up to 15%) of these results, hoping thereby to keep the vehicle manufacturers honest.
Mostly they are. But sometimes, they cheat and report fuel-economy figures that are better than their competitors', to gain a marketing edge. At other times, they game the system with engineering tricks which take full advantage of loopholes in the EPA's testing procedures, while technically staying within the confines of the law.
Apart from auditing a sample, the EPA listens carefully to consumers' complaints. Recently, those complaints have been getting louder, and auditing has increased as a consequence. The first to feel the EPA's wrath were Hyundai and its affiliate, Kia. Between them, they were found to have fudged the fuel-economy figures of 13 of their models by as much as 6mpg.
The two South Korean carmakers had advertised fuel economies for certain models in excess of 40mpg on the highway. They were subsequently forced to revise their claims down, relabel vehicles in showrooms, and credit customers for the additional fuel costs incurred. The incident was a public-relations disaster and huge embarrassment for the firms, both of which had been riding high in the American market until then.
Now it is Ford's turn to sweat under the EPA spotlight. When Ford submitted the EPA test results for its new mid-sized hybrids, the Fusion Hybrid and the C-Max Hybrid, both were rated at 47mpg on the EPA's city, highway and combined cycles (the last being a weighted average of 55% city and 45% highway results). That was only a smidgeon beneath the all-conquering Toyota Prius, a smaller vehicle rated at 51/48/50mpg for city, highway and combined cycles. Ford's advertising promptly trumpeted its hybrids' 47/47/47 fuel-economy loudly over the airwaves and in print.
Perhaps too loudly. The trouble began shortly after the EPA posted the new Ford figures on one of its websites (www.fueleconomy.gov) last September. Complaints flooded in from buyers who found their Fusion and C-Max hybrids were getting nothing like the EPA rating. The average reported on the website by owners was 39.6mpg for the Fusion Hybrid, and 39.1mpg for the C-Max Hybrid.
Then, in December, Consumer Reports, one of the most trusted consumer watchdogs in America, weighed in with its own findings. After 2,000 miles of real-world motoring, the publication's testers found the Fusion Hybrid got only 35/41/39mpg, and the C-Max Hybrid no more than 35/38/37mpg—some 8-10mpg less than claimed. Of all the models tested in 2012, Consumer Reports had never encountered such discrepancies. Ever since, Ford has been on the defensive, claiming some of its customers actually get more than 47mpg. It is all a matter of driving style, the company says.
True enough. Sudden acceleration and heavy braking can reduce fuel economy by as much as 33% on the open road, and up to 5% in cities. Keeping the air-conditioning on when it is not needed can add 5%-25% to the fuel bill. Making short trips, especially in cool weather when the engine never gets warm enough to function properly, will burn 10%-15% more fuel.
Driving fast takes its toll on fuel consumption, too. The vehicle's aerodynamic drag goes up with the square of its speed. The engine has to do more than twice as much work overcoming wind resistance at 80mph as it does at 55mph. Roof-racks and cargo boxes only make matters worse.
Excessive idling burns petrol needlessly as well. The rule nowadays is to switch the engine off if the vehicle is expected to be idle for more than 30 seconds—though the few seconds' delay in restarting at traffic lights can frustrate motorists queuing behind. Cars in Europe tend to be fitted with beefier batteries and starter motors, allowing their automatic stop-start mechanisms to function seamlessly. Cars fitted with automatic stop-start, which cuts fuel consumption by 5% or more, are beginning to enter the American market.
Then there is the condition of the vehicle itself. Underinflated or poorly aligned tyres do not help. Carrying unnecessary junk in the boot or keeping the windows open causes the engine to work harder and burn more petrol. Dirty spark plugs and air filters can knock a mile or two off a car's mpg figure, especially in older models.
But nowadays the EPA's five dynamometer tests take many of those real-world conditions into account. For instance, engines are started cold as well as hot. In one test, the ambient temperature in the test cell is cranked up to 95ºF (ie, 35ºC) to make the air-conditioning work harder. In another test, the outside temperature is dropped to 20ºF to represent winter motoring.
The dynamometer simulates the stop-go traffic of city driving, steady speeds of highway motoring, as well as rapid acceleration and braking with speeds up to 80mph that most motorists do at one time or another. Meanwhile, fuel consumption is calculated more accurately using a carbon-balance equation, which takes into account the known amount of carbon in the fuel to start with, and the carbon emitted and captured during the test.
If there is a problem with the EPA's test procedure, it is the fuel used rather than unrealistic driving cycles. The EPA requires pure petroleum spirit to be used in all petrol-engined vehicles being tested. Yet, the majority of pumps in America only sell petrol diluted with 10% ethanol. Such blends reduce mileage by 4%-5%. That, alone, probably accounts for the difference most motorists experience between the EPA's sticker figures and what they get on the road.
So, where do Ford's new hybrids figure in all this? The short answer is that, while they are no slouches, their transmissions appear to have been optimised to perform especially well on the EPA's fuel-economy tests. Both the Fusion Hybrid and the C-Max Hybrid can cruise at speeds up to 62mph on batteries alone, with their petrol engine switched off. When most of the EPA testing is done at much lower speeds, such an ability offers significant advantages.
With even the EPA's highway test being performed at an average of only 48mph, and a maximum of 60mph, the Ford hybrids still manage to excel. As a rule, hybrids achieve their best results in the cut and thrust of city traffic, not on the highway. The real-world performance experienced by users and Consumer Reports implies the Fords were engineered to work better on tests than on roads.
The EPA is now looking into the matter, though there is nothing much it can do. By all accounts, Ford (unlike Hyundai and Kia) has done no actual wrong—other than to drive a battery-powered bulldozer through the spirit, if not the letter, of the law. For that, it will find public opinion and the courts harsher judges than the government. The first lawsuit against Ford for "false and misleading" advertising was filed in federal court on December 7th. This being America, more are bound to follow.
©The Economist Newspaper Limited 2013



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 Samsonite Recalls Dual-Wattage Travel Converter Kits Due to Fire, Burn Hazards

Consumers should stop using this product unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Recall date: February 12, 2013

Recall number: 13-119

Name of product: Dual-Wattage Travel Converter Kits

Hazard: The converter can overheat if a load in excess of 50 watts is applied to the converter while in the 50-watt setting. This poses a fire and burn hazard to consumers.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled travel converters and contact Samsonite to return the product for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: Samsonite; toll-free at (800) 382-7259 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday; at e-mail recall@samsonite.com or online at www.samsonite.com/recall

Photos are available at: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/Samsonite-Recalls-Dual-Wattage-Travel-Converter-Kits/

Units: About 20,000

Description: This recall involves the Samsonite Dual-Wattage Travel Converter Kits used to make standard U.S. and Canadian appliances usable abroad. The kit includes one black converter to change 220-volt AC electricity to 110-volt AC, two adapter plugs with round prongs, two with flat prongs and one grounded adapter plug with three flat prongs. The converter has a red switch to adjust the wattage of the appliance from 50 to 1600 watts. The words "Dual-Wattage Converter" and "Do Not Use 50W on Hair Dryer" appear on the front of the converter. The Samsonite logo appears on each piece in the set.

Incidents/Injuries: Samsonite is aware of three converters overheating. No injuries or property damage have been reported.

Sold at: Retail stores nationwide and at the Samsonite on-line store from January 2011 through December 2012 for approximately $35.

Importer: Samsonite LLC, of Mansfield, Mass.

Manufactured in: China



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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is still interested in
receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to a
product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please
tell us about your experience with the product on SaferProducts.gov.
 **************************

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