The Ford C-MAX Energi, a plug-in hybrid version of the Ford C-MAX, is part of Ford's push to gain market share from Toyota and Honda in hybrid and electric cars. The C-MAX is coming to America from Europe where it has become popular since it was introduced in 2010, and while in Europe it is sold with gasoline and diesel drive trains, in America the C-MAX will be available only as a Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid. Today, Ford announced more details about the C-MAX Energi showing that it beats the Toyota Prius V in several key measures.
The Ford C-MAX series is a five passenger "multi-activity vehicle" with a size similar to the Prius V. It has a 2.0-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder,
Atkinson cycle engine used as both power assist and to recharge the battery pack. With a fully charged battery, C-MAX Energi is rated at 195 total system horsepower, versus 188 horsepower for Toyota Prius. It is expected to be EPA certified with 550 miles of total range, and a whopping 95 mpg equivalent (MPGe) fuel efficiency. This is double the fuel efficiency of the C-MAX Hybrid, which offers 47 MPG. Additionally the C-MAX should qualify for the green HOV sticker in California, due to its AT-PZEV rating. It will be available this fall, with an MSRP of $33,745, qualifying for a $3,750 federal tax credit and tax credits up to $1,500 in California.
Ford is also beating other plug-in hybrid automakers in EV-mode top speed and choices of EV driving modes. The C-MAX Energi will have a top speed of 85 miles/hr in electric mode, over 20 miles/hr faster than the Toyota Prius. The Chevy Volt has a high top speed, but its gasoline engine kicks in at speeds above 70 miles/hr. This means the C-MAX Energi driver can more easily keep up with traffic while staying in electric drive mode.
The dashboard has an EV button with three modes.
EV: Auto: “In EV: Auto mode, the vehicle automatically takes advantage of plug-in charge,” said Kevin Layden, Ford director of Electrification Programs and Engineering. “When the charge is depleted, C-MAX Energi operates as a full hybrid.” The C-MAX Energi control system automatically selects the best mix of electric and gasoline drive.
EV: Now: The car will prefer the electric-only drive train drawing power from the battery pack. The gasoline engine will not operate unless an override setting is selected or certain conditions are present such as the accelerator pedal being fully depressed and the driver enabling the gas engine. Drivers will see coaching cues to maximize power in EV mode, and the climate power and energy gauges will further help drivers manage vehicle energy use.
EV: Later: The car will save plug-in power for "later use", such as the transition from highway driving to lower speed driving on city streets. The C-MAX Energi will operate in normal hybrid mode, reserving battery pack power until the driver switches to the EV: Now or EV: Auto setting.
“We understand customers place a high value on the zero-emission electrified driving experience,” said Ford Vice President of Powertrain Engineering Joe Bakaj. “This inspired our engineering team to equip the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid with a button that enables drivers to choose an electric-only driving mode.”