DEARBORN — The new C-Max Energi is Ford Motor Co.’s first production plug-in hybrid. It will also be America’s most affordable plug-in hybrid when it goes on sale.
Available this fall for $29,995 after a federal tax credit, the C-Max Energi is more affordable than the Prius plug-in hybrid. C-Max Energi is Ford’s first production plug-in hybrid vehicle and part of the company’s first dedicated line of hybrids.
The C-Max Energi is expected to offer 15 class-exclusive features, a 550-mile total range between fill-ups and more than 20 miles of electric-only range, at least triple the Toyota Prius’ EPA-tested range.
The build-and-price Web site for C-Max Energi launches July 24, providing customers the opportunity to build a virtual version of the new plug-in hybrid
The new C-Max Energi also has 60 more horsepower than the Prius plug-in hybrid considering full battery power, along with class-exclusive technologies such as hands-free liftgate and active park assist for easier parallel parking.
“The Ford C-Max Energi is within financial reach for those who want a hybrid, but is also something customers will want to reach for because of its unique look and amazing value,” said Michael O’Brien, Ford electrified vehicle marketing manager. “It offers exceptional fuel economy, better features and a better price tag than a Prius plug-in hybrid, which we think will help make C-Max Energi one of our most attractive vehicles for import customers.”
Ford expects about half of C-Max buyers to trade in competitive models – one of the highest conquest rates of any Ford vehicle. C-Max Energi will soon be available for order at Ford Certified EV Dealers. Starting Tuesday, anyone interested can go online to build and price their ideal plug-in hybrid at this site.
Ford calls C-Max Energi a “hybrid-plus” because it not only operates just like C-Max Hybrid, but also features an external charge port and larger lithium-ion battery pack so owners can plug in the vehicles to fully charge the battery using either a standard 120-volt outlet or the available 240-volt charge station. The vehicle also is expected to be capable of making trips of more than 20 miles in electric-only mode and longer trips of as much as 550 miles on a single tank of gas and fully charged battery.
In California, the vehicle is expected to be AT-PZEV-compliant and qualify for much-desired access to the high-occupancy vehicle lanes that typically allow for faster travel. C-Max Energi also is expected to qualify for additional tax credits up to $1,500 in California.
C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi figure prominently in Ford’s rollout of five electrified vehicles this year. Ford’s other electrified vehicles include:
Focus Electric: Production began late 2011; America’s most fuel-efficient compact with 110 MPGe city; charge time of four hours with the available 240-volt charging station — nearly half the time as Nissan Leaf C-Max Hybrid: Coming this fall; projected 47 mpg city, 3 mpg better than Toyota Prius v All-new Fusion Hybrid: Coming this fall; projected 47 mpg expected to beat Toyota Camry Hybrid by 5 mpg highway Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid: Will begin production by the end of this year; aiming to be the most fuel-efficient midsize car in the world with more than 100 MPGe
Starting at $33,745 – and eligible for a $3,750 federal tax credit – Ford is passing along to customers cost savings that have been achieved through various efficiencies, says Kevin Layden, director of Ford’s Electrification Programs and Engineering.
Ford officials have said that the costs of its current hybrid system are 30 percent less than the costs of Ford’s previous-generation hybrid systems due in large part to those cost-containment efforts.
For example, Ford has cut costs by bringing in-house the development and manufacture of many aspects of vehicles such as C-Max Energi. The hybrid battery system, hybrid transmission system and software for C-Max Energi all were developed in-house.
Further, by creating global vehicle platforms, Ford maximizes the use of as many shared parts and components across as many lines as possible to lower overall costs.
Ford’s revamped Michigan Assembly Plant is the first facility in the world capable of building a full array of vehicles – gas-powered, electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid – all on the same production line. That means C-Max Energi is being built on the same line as C-Max Hybrid, Focus, Focus Electric and Focus ST.
While the C-Max Energi nameplate is new to the U.S. market, the technology and design has proven itself already in other ways and in other places. Aince 2010, more than 144,000 units of the five-passenger C-Max gasoline and diesel versions have been sold in Europe — where the market is growing for vehicles slightly larger than compacts like Ford Focus and smaller than SUVs like Ford Escape. Though Ford is concentrating on hybrid versions of C-Max in the U.S., the designs of C-Max Energi and C-Max Hybrid are based on the gasoline- and diesel-powered European version.
Like C-Max Hybrid, C-Max Energi has projected total system horsepower of 188 — reaching a peak of 195 with a fully charged battery — stemming from the combination of a gasoline engine and a battery-driven electric motor. When powered by gasoline, C-MAX Energi uses the all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine — among the most advanced non-turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains Ford has ever offered.
Because owners plug in to charge the advanced lithium-ion battery in C-Max Energi, the vehicle is able to achieve increased electric mode and total range. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter, more efficient and more powerful than nickel-metal-hydride batteries used in first-generation hybrids. They also promote faster charging times.
C-Max Energi also benefits from 20 years of research and innovation behind the software and hardware technology it offers, incorporating many of the nearly 500 patents Ford holds in the area of hybrid technology.
For example, C-Max Energi offers the latest generation of SmartGauge with EcoGuide. Designed to help drivers get the most from C-Max, information such as instantaneous fuel economy can be displayed on one of two 4.2-inch LCD screens, helping drivers more closely monitor how their driving behavior affects the vehicle’s efficiency.
In the right cluster, redesigned imagery of green leaves shows overall driving efficiency. The left cluster shows Brake Coach, a feature that helps drivers optimize their use of the regenerative braking system so that driving range can be enhanced through proper braking techniques.
Available for C-Max Energi is the MyFord Mobile smartphone application that allows users to monitor charging, receive alerts, find charge stations, plan trips and do more from their smartphones or computers for an effortless transition to an electrified vehicle lifestyle.