Ford’s C-Max Energi, the company’s first production plug-in hybrid, will start selling this fall as the cheapest model within the segment. The C-Max Energi is priced from $33,745 (before accounting for a $3,750 federal tax credit). This is Ford’s first entry in the plug-in segment. It has the edge in terms of price and would be an alternative to cars such as the Prius plug-in hybrid.
It comes with features that the Prius doesn’t have such as a hands-free lift gate and active park assist. The C-Max Energi has a purely electric 20-mile range and it’s claimed to return 47 mpg in the city. All of these point to a model that’s certain to succeed. But then, the Prius is popular for its fuel efficiency.
Another rival, the Chevrolet Volt, hasn’t had such an easy initial year because of its high cost and the bad press reviews. It appeared that consumers aren’t too welcoming to an unfamiliar car.
In 2010, Ford had presented the C-Max in Europe where it reached sales of over 144,000 units in diesel and gasoline forms. Unfortunately, most U.S. buyers aren’t aware of what goes on in Europe and won’t be influenced. The C-Max Energi boasts a 60 hp advantage over the Prius plug-in.
The technologies found in the new Ford C-MAX Energi are just part of around 500 patents that Ford currently owns – with hundreds more pending patent applications -- with regards to its electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid offerings. Ford’s C-MAX vehicles are underpinned by hardware and software technologies that have been the result of around two decades of continuing research and development.
The remarkable design and energy dynamics behind the C-MAX has allowed it to become a successful nameplate, with the carmaker selling over 100,000 units of the vehicle in Europe ever since Ford introduced it in late 2010.
Now, Ford is bringing its first dedicated hybrid vehicle line and the first multi-activity vehicle (MAV) line to North America through the new C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi. According to Amy Machesney, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi Marketing manager, these new hybrid models from the American carmaker have been engineered and designed to cater to the needs and wants of customers seeking larger vehicles and seeking to further optimize their hybrid car experience.
Machesney described these customers as living environmentally responsible lives. She said these customers might have owned a hybrid vehicle before and are now prepared for more hybrid choices – ones that also offer performance, versatility and style.
According to Ford, the new C-MAX Hybrid is expected to lead its class in terms of fuel economy and is also expected to outdo the Toyota Prius v in both city and highway equivalent miles per gallon (eMPG). Meanwhile, the Ford C-MAX Energi – in electric mode -- is expected to be more economical than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid, with an expected range of over 500 miles.