DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that its new C-Max Hybrid vehicle is projected to achieve fuel economy of 47 mpg city, beating the Toyota Prius by 3 mpg with a base price $1,300 lower.
The segment for small hybrids such as the C-Max Hybrid and Prius accounts for 65 percent of all hybrid sales. Ford expects about half of C-Max buyers to be conquest customers trading in competitive models.
Ford has simultaneously increased hybrid efficiency and performance while reducing cost. The result is an expected payback period of two years for the hybrid technology premium compared with leading small crossovers. This is about half of the four-year period Ford research shows could trigger more mainstream hybrid sales.
“The C-Max Hybrid builds on Ford’s 20 years of hybrid innovation and fuel-efficient offerings to take on Prius v with better city fuel economy at 47 mpg and at better value – a great chance for us to shake up the hybrid market,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s group vice president for global product development. “C-Max Hybrid delivers 3 mpg more than Prius v with 50 more horsepower and exclusive technologies such as our hands-free liftgate — and the $1,300-lower base price means the payback period will be the smallest in the segment.”
Ford research highlights other ways in which hybrids could become more mainstream. The gap in average income between hybrid and conventional vehicle buyers has decreased by half — from about $30,000 to $15,000 — in the past few years.
The C-Max Hybrid is expected to be America’s most affordable hybrid utility vehicle with a base price of $25,995, including destination and delivery, which is $1,300 lower than Toyota Prius v. C-Max Hybrid is part of Ford’s first dedicated line of hybrid vehicles and currently available for order at select dealerships.
The projected 47 mpg city and 44 mpg highway ratings to be delivered by C-Max Hybrid beat the fuel economy of Toyota Prius v with its 44 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.
The vehicle also can be driven 500-plus miles with total system horsepower of 188 compared with total system horsepower of 134 from Toyota Prius v and Prius.
The power of C-Max Hybrid stems from the combination of a gasoline engine and a battery-driven electric motor. When powered by gasoline, the C-Max Hybrid uses the all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine – powerful and fuel efficient and among the most advanced non-turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains Ford has ever offered.
C-Max Hybrid also offers class-exclusive technologies such as the available hands-free liftgate, optional active park assist and SmartGauge with EcoGuide, along with the ability to deliver higher speeds in electric mode than Toyota Prius v.
The latest-generation SmartGauge with EcoGuide is designed to help drivers get the most from the C-Max Hybrid, providing information such as instantaneous fuel economy to help them more closely monitor how their driving behavior affects the vehicle’s efficiency.
A new Brake Coach feature helps drivers optimize their use of the braking system so that driving range can be enhanced through proper braking techniques. Redesigned imagery of green leaves shows overall driving efficiency – as drivers improve their efficient driving, they are rewarded with more leaves.
The C-Max Hybrid will also offer a high roofline (63.9 inches) offering ample interior space and flexibility. C-Max Hybrid offers 99.7 cubic feet of passenger space compared with 97 cubic feet in Prius v. The spacious C-Max Hybrid also provides greater headroom in both front and rear seats than Prius v (41/39.4 inches vs. 39.6/38.6 inches).
For cargo, C-Max Hybrid has 60/40 split-fold rear seats. The seats easily fold flat with 52.6 cubic feet of space behind the first row and 24.5 cubic feet behind the second row.
C-Max Hybrid benefits from 20 years of research and innovation behind the software and hardware technology it offers and has helped Ford develop a portfolio of nearly 500 patents in the area of hybrid technology.
Also, Ford’s hybrid taxi fleet logged more than 80 million miles in California during the past decade – more than quadruple the number of miles logged by Toyota’s Prius lineup. Yet, among the nearly 43 million battery cells Ford has tested or seen put to work in customer vehicles, only five issues have been documented.
C-Max Hybrid is being produced at Ford’s Wayne-based Michigan Assembly Plant alongside Focus, Focus Electric and Focus ST.
C-Max Hybrid is one of five electrified vehicles Ford plans to produce in North America in 2012. The other vehicles include:
* Focus Electric: Production began late 2011; America’s most fuel-efficient compact with 110 MPGe; charge time in four hours with the available 240-volt charging station, nearly half the time as Nissan Leaf
* C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid: Coming this fall; better electric-mode MPGe than Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and better overall range than any plug-in hybrid
* All-new Fusion Hybrid: Coming this fall; 47 mpg expected to beat Toyota Camry Hybrid by 5 mpg highway
* Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid: Will begin production by the end of 2012; aiming to be the most fuel-efficient midsize car in the world