Testing Methodology Matters
Mazda's press release about the next general of its "2" model has been spreading around the net like wildfire in the past few days, and sadly, it seems that many of these stories omit some important facts and focus on "70 MPG OMG LIKE HYBRID!". While Mazda's announcement is exciting, I think it's important to set the record straight and have realistic expectations about what kind of fuel economy the next Mazda2 will deliver.
So will the Mazda2 be rated at 70 MPG? Yes, probably. But that's with the Japanese test cycle, which always gives much higher MPG ratings (actually, over there it's kilometers per liter) than the EPA's methodology.
As a point of comparison, let's use the Toyota Prius. In Japan, it is rated at 89 MPG, and in the US, the rating is 50 MPG. If we do a little napkin math, we can estimate that the new Mazda two would get an EPA rating that is closer to 39 MPG. But since it's not a hybrid, the city rating would probably be relatively lower than the Prius hybrid's rating, so a more realistic figure would be in the 35-37 MPG range.
Still impressive, but not quite the "OMG 70 MPG!" of some articles.
More on Green(er) Cars
Nissan Launches the Fuga Hybrid in Japan (Coming to US as an Infiniti in 2011)
Green Highlights from the 2010 Paris Motor Show
Chevy Volt Gets 127 MPG Over 299 Miles of Real-World Driving
2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid to be Eligible for $1,300 Tax Credit
Google Experiments With Robot Cars that Drive Themselves