Ford now taking orders for Ford C-Max Hybrid

Article by Anita Panait, on May 19, 2012

Ford Motor Co. has announced that it is now taking orders for its Ford C-Max Hybrid, having a starting price of $25,995, excluding shipping charges. With the base price, the C-Max Hybrid is less expensive that its competitor, the Toyota Prius V wagon, which has a base price of $27,310 including shipping charges.

According to Ford, the five-passenger C-Max hatchback provides better fuel economy than the Prius V, which offers 42 mpg. Ford did not release details on the shipping charges and C-Max’s fuel economy rating. The C-Max Hybrid is Ford’s first dedicated hybrid model, and its introduction is in line of the company’s “power of choice” strategy.

The “power of choice” strategy aims to improve the fuel economy across Ford’s lineup and increase the company’s capacity to build electric vehicles.  The C-Max features Ford’s SmartGauge with EcoGuide technology, which helps maximize fuel economy by displaying the vehicle’s mpg and thereby telling drivers to drive more efficiently.

Ford said its C-segment platform underpins the C-Max Hybrid. The five-passenger C-Max hatchback also features a “powersplit” system, which permits its electric motor and gasoline-powered engine to work as one or independently to reach maximum efficiency. The C-Max Hybrid will be powered by Ford’s new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine and a lithium ion battery system. According to Ford, C-Max regenerative braking system could recover over 95 percent of energy from braking and supplement it back to the hatchback.

Ford is developing advanced lithium-ion battery systems in its headquarters in Michigan, which will soon be used in the Ford C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid. Common, high-quality components including control board hardware, whose field performance is proven and tested in most of Ford’s current and critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles, is maximized in the process of creating each of these systems.

Compared to nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries which power current hybrid vehicles, li-ion battery packs are more advantageous as they are in general 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter. This means that it can fit easily into a vehicle and can be “tuned to increase power” to either improve acceleration or increase range (by increasing its energy storage).

The Ford C-MAX Hybrid is expected to operate similar to that of today’s hybrid vehicles, however, the C-MAX Energi on the other hand, will make use of its battery (daily charging), maximizing its all-electric range. When charged overnight on a 120-volt outlet, the plug-in hybrid achieves a full charge of 100 percent because of its right-sized battery system. More so, on full charge, driving range in all-electric mode for the C-MAX Energi is significantly increased while reducing fuel consumption from its on-board fuel engine.

Ford C-MAX Energi will start in a charge-depletion mode upon start up to provide an electric driving range. Optimum fuel efficiency is achieved once it switches to charge-sustaining hybrid mode when battery is depleted or when certain conditions are met.

An industry-standard five-point plug is also installed on the C-MAX Energi (and new Focus Electric), provided by a supplier which Ford has worked closely with. The distinctly designed plug is said to be durable and “ergonomically comfortable to hold” with its matte-finished black rubber handle. Its plug head on the other hand is coated in glossy white hard plastic to protect it from electronics.

As a final touch, the trademark Ford Blue Oval is stamped into these systems as a seal of ownership, making it easily recognizable as a Ford property.

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