The EPA Would Like Carmakers To Stop Making Up Fuel Economy Claims

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This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place every weekday morning. Or, you could spend all day waiting for other sites to parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?

1st Gear: The New Mustang Gets 500 MPG, We Tested It In A Tunnel


Remember that time automakers were all like "Hey, this Hyundai gets 42 MPG!" and then consumers bought it, drove like actual people, and were like "Uhhh... NOPE!"

Then we all found out the EPA didn't actually test cars so much as let the automakers tell them whatever they wanted to. But, one assumed, the automakers actually did advanced measuring and testing of their vehicles.


Uhhh... NOPE!


While all automakers to drive their cars, many rely on wind tunnel testing to get final mileages (and then apply them to all vehicles with the same drivetrain/platform even if they're as diverse as the Ford C-Max and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

Here's the nut graph, all the way at the end of the article:

The EPA currently requires a five-part lab test that simulates driving under conditions that are repeatable from one car to another. Because of the number of vehicles on the road, the agency runs tests on only about 15% of the industry's models each year to check the accuracy of mileage claims.

In real world use, hybrids for many auto makers tended to underperform the lab results. Meanwhile, diesel engines tend to perform much better than the label—by almost 5 miles a gallon, according to The Journal's analysis. The spread is so significant that Mr. Grundler has asked engineers to look into why the testing of diesels doesn't reflect real-world results more closely.


Go buy diesels, everyone.

2nd Gear: President Obama Loooooves V2V


A lot of people die in car crashes. Too many people. About 32,000 of us die and two million of us our injured and it's a cost of about $800 billion a year. One solution? Cars that talk to one another, which is something President Obama will outline in a speech today as David Shepardson reports.

The White House said in a background email ahead of the speech that Obama will highlight "vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technology to improve safety and mobility on our nation's roadways and help reduce wasted fuel. V2V holds great promise."

The speech comes against the backdrop of a big push by the administration this week to convince Congress to extend funding for road repairs — since the highway trust fund is forecast to be insolvent in August, requiring the Transportation Department to send partial payments. Congress is debating how to provide funding to help the trust fund operate into next year, and Obama wants significantly more for road repairs and research efforts.


We're going to be watching this one closely.

3rd Gear: This Volkswagen Thing Keeps Getting Weirder


I don't know how many people know exactly what's going on re: Volkswagen, Unions, Corker, et cetera. I'd guess it's less than a dozen. Here's Senator Bob Corker and the UAW carping at one another:

"There's no question the path that we followed was the only path that would have led us to this announcement," said the Tennessee senator, a former Chattanooga mayor who helped first lure VW to the state.

However, UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel said in a statement VW's announcement coming four days after the American union's plans to open a branch in Chattanooga "reinforces the consensus that the UAW has reached with the company."

VW officials said the decision on the SUV was not related to the election loss in February by the United Auto Workers union. Some anti-union forces had said the loss cleared the way for the Tennessee plant to get the investment, while UAW officials said VW workers were improperly influenced by anti-union statements made by Tennessee Republican lawmakers and outside interest groups.


But there's this graph in the Reuters story that gives us a hint:

VW also said on Monday that Bernd Osterloh, chairman of the Groups Works Council of Volkswagen, would join the board for the automaker's American operations to give its work force more of a voice in strategy planning.


Ready for a crazy theory? Volkswagen, for whatever reason, viewed a union in Tennessee as an inevitability either because they knew they were a UAW target or because the German unions (IG Metall) have a hard-on for globalized union cooperation and was pushing for it.

Corker was a thorn in everyone's side but strategically important, nevertheless, so VW backed off enough to let what happened happen. In this scenario maybe Osterloh tipped off the UAW so they could make the chapter announcement before the VW announcement.


4th Gear: BMW Does Really Care About Electric Vehicles


Both the BMW i3 and i8 are sexy carbon fiber EV eco wet dreamobiles, but how serious is BMW about charting an electric future?


Yep, BMW has approved spending billions — with a B — on Samsung-built batteries.

"The battery is a key component in every electric vehicle — since it basically determines the range and performance capabilities of the car," Klaus Draeger, BMW's purchasing chief, said in the statement. "In Samsung SDI, we have chosen a supplier that offers us the best-available technology with future-oriented Korean battery expertise."


Future-oriented Korean battery expertise is really the best expertise.

5th Gear: China Should Just Buy Michigan


Chinese investors know a deal when they see one and, well, most of the State of Michigan is like a low-priced dollar store mitten right now, despite a lot of geographic advantages and a huge pool of smart people.


You should check out Nathan Bomey's report on what's going on, but here are some numbers:

Steven Hilfinger, former chief operating officer for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., said in June that Chinese investors and corporations have invested more than $1 billion in Michigan since 2000.


That $1 billion goes far in Michigan.

Reverse: Ford Takes Its First Order

On this day in 1903, the newly formed Ford Motor Company takes its first order from Chicago dentist Ernst Pfenning: an $850 two-cylinder Model A automobile with a tonneau (or backseat). The car, produced at Ford's plant on Mack Street (now Mack Avenue) in Detroit, was delivered to Dr. Pfenning just over a week later.


Neutral: Do you get better or worse fuel economy than your sticker?

And do you drive a diesel or a hybrid?