A closer look at the 2012 Ford C-Max Energi and Hybrid

Today during the press conference announcing that the 2012 Ford C-Max would only be offered in the US as a 5-passenger model and the traditional gasoline drivetrain would not be available; Ford’s director of Electrification Programs and Engineering Sherif Marakby offered the media a closer look at the upcoming Energi and Hybrid versions of the new C-Max.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid has become one of the most popular hybrids in the American market and the Ford Escape Hybrid is the world’s most efficient SUV but when the 2012 Ford C-Max Hybrid hits the streets – it will best both of those vehicles in both fuel economy and capabilities. Ford didn’t state the exact fuel economy targets for the 2012 C-Max Hybrid but they do promise that it will get better than the 41mpg that the Ford Fusion offers. This will be achieved in part by a new, lighter lithium ion battery in place of the nickel hydride batteries in the Fusion; cutting 50 pounds over the current batteries and reducing the space taken by the battery by 25-30%. Finally, the new hybrid drive system in the 2012 Ford C-Max Hybrid will be able to reach higher all-electric speeds than the Fusion, which is able of getting up to 47mpg without the use of the gasoline engine.

The other big news is the 2012 Ford C-Max Energi, which utilizes an electric drive system similar in nature to the one featured in the 2011 Chevy Volt. The C-Max Energi uses a three-mode electric drive system – offering a traditional all-electric mode with zero emissions, a split mode where the gasoline engine assists the electric drive when in need of additional torque (like when you are merging onto the highway) and a hybrid mode where the gasoline engine drives the wheels and the electric portion assists the gasoline engine. This system affords C-Max Energi owners the luxury of pure electric driving without the range anxiety associated with electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf – offering gasoline free driving around town while still being able to drive across the country without worrying about running out of battery power.

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These two vehicles will join the Fusion Hybrid, the Escape Hybrid, the Transit Connect Electric and the new Ford Focus Electric – increasing the output of electrified models from 35,000 a year (current) to over 100,000 units by 2013. The next generation of Ford hybrids should make them among the most fuel efficient models in the hybrid segment and unlike many compact hybrids, the C-Max is capable of seating 5 adult passengers. Check out the gallery below for a closer look at the 2012 Ford C-Max Hybrid.

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