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What Hurts C-Max Energi Sales and What Could Ford Do To Improve Them

For some reason, Ford isn’t ahead in the Hybrid sales race. I wonder why. Has the automaker not marketed it correctly? Has it not put it out in front of its competitors?

According to statistics on the monthly sales through April of this year, the sales of Ford C-Max Energi totaled up to 2161 behind their sister car the Ford Fusion (2601) and the Chevy Volt (2779) who sits on top of the PHEV sales totals for this year so far. One of the key points from Mary Barra about Chevy Volt’s numbers was that over 65% of the Volts miles (statistics from all the Volts that are on the road today) are done in EV mode. To a Ford C-Max Energi driver that until recently was commuting 58 miles each way to work each and every day, that number made me wonder what was happening with the Ford C-Max Energi.

Above, you see a screen shot of the display on the Ford C-Max so that I could determine the statics on my own car.

Thus, the first key takeaway is the statics for a 20 mile range EV battery pack. My average MPG since the car was first picked up is 62.6 mpg. That is the highest MPs of any car I have ever owned. I have recently got a job that is 17 miles from my house so I expect this to go up, but I’m also in sales so it might end up going down because of the large amount of sales calls I’m going to be making.

The total number of miles driven currently sits at 55,308 (keeping it a round number) and the total number of EV miles is 25,389 (again sticking with round numbers). That means EV miles represent about 47% of the miles driven on this Ford C-Max Energi so far. Of the EV miles, 817 are from Regeneration Braking (Regen). That means regen miles represent only about 3.2% of the EV miles. My only complaint is that I wish the regen was set slightly higher or if the driver was allowed to set the amount of regen he/she wanted. I can only hope this will change in the future.

While the EV % is higher with the Chevy Volt drivers, I must state that my prior commute should not be attempted by many. I was able to fully charge up the car during the day so both 1/2s of my commute had EV miles on them. I also have done a few longer trips in the 200 miles range which also reduces the overall EV mileage percentage.

My overall opinion of Ford C-Max Energi is extremely positive. It gives my family a car for outside the normal range of my other car which is a Nissan Leaf. This car is used as a daily commuter and it is a wonder car in regards to the creature comforts. While I wouldn’t say it was like my EZ chair, the seats are comfortable, the dash board is well laid out and the Sync system works great.

Why haven’t they sold more of these cars? My feeling is that they have some cannibalization with the Fusion Energi and if you combine them, they are the market leader in this PHEV space. If you compare car to car, the battery packs seems to rank the sales order. Since they don’t break out the BMW I3 REX from the base, I can’t tell how many of the BMW I3s should be in the PHEV category. So the Chevy Volt's larger battery pack (35 miles) has pushed them farther up the sales leader board in my view. The Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi come with 20 miles of EV range and the Plug In Prius sits down at 11 or 15 miles of EV range. So, the sales leader board is closely ranked by the size of the cars battery packs.

So, is Ford making the right choices by aiming for Average (middle of the pack)? I’m sure they are pleased to be at the top of the category if you combine Fusion and C-Max, but could they have done better? It looks like the more batteries would help for the next version of this great car.


Jay (not verified)    June 9, 2015 - 4:46PM

Ford's failure to integrate battery packs into the chassis is a major shortcoming in most all their electrified offerings and I'm surprised you didn't mention this. If Ford had hidden the battery and not cancelled the 7-seat layout, I would've been quick to buy a C-Max Energi. Oh well, the Odyssey is about to roll over 200,000 miles and it shows no sign of quitting...

Douglas Stansfield    June 9, 2015 - 7:00PM

In reply to by Jay (not verified)

Jay, there is no question you are right on that as well. The battery pack in the fusion makes the already small trunk really small. I get buy with my C-Max even with the battery in the back because of the hatchback and fold down seats combination. I can fit a lot of things back there. Even two bicycles my wife got at a garage sale. I'm sure it does detract from the sales as well.

Michael See (not verified)    June 10, 2015 - 1:06PM

It would be interesting to see if adding bigger battery packs ("Extended Range Package" option), at the time of ordering, changes the take rate. This would be the short term experiment with the least redesign.

As far as why Ford choose the range - would they find what the average commute is and divide by battery cost?

Kevin (not verified)    November 30, 2016 - 3:38PM

When you run the ac or the heater the engine idles. They could have swapped the alternator for a solid state generator and let the idling engine send some this unused power to the drive battery pack. here in Colorado the heat or the ac is on all but maybe 1 cumulative month out of the year.

my commute is short enough to the point that I almost never use gas. So in my case I literally fill a car size generator that just provides headlights, wipers, heat and air conditioning. That being said I probably spend 20 bucks a month on gas.

2013 c-max