2013 Ford C-Max Energi: Twice The Electric Range of Prius Plug-In, Still No MPG Data

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2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid

2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid

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It's only a few more months before Ford's first plug-in hybrid car hits the market, in the shape of the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi.

The C-Max Energi is just part of a five-pronged attack on the hybrid and plug-in market this year, joining the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, and flanked by the regular C-Max Hybrid, all-new Fusion Hybrid, and the upcoming Fusion Energi.

Ford is certainly proud of one particular aspect of the C-Max Energi's performance--its all-electric range.

At 20 miles, that's double what the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In can offer drivers, and Ford suggests that many drivers will comfortably complete their commute in all electric mode.

They'll also be able to "drive from Sacramento to San Diego on a tank of gas", something that no other vehicle of its kind can do.

That's an overall range of 550 miles, and Ford is suggesting an MPG-equivalent figure of 95 MPGe in electric mode.

What isn't clear is what the car will do when running on gasoline rather than in EV mode, though Ford has the 50 mpg Prius Plug-In in its sights. Ford says the C-Max Energi will also achieve a higher electric-only top speed than the Toyota.

Power shouldn't be a problem, the 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle engine and hybrid motor developing a total 188 horsepower. Naturally, efficiency monitoring--called EcoGuide in Ford speak--will ensure you don't use all that power too often.

Joining the C-Max Energi in the fall are the $25,995 C-Max Hybrid (with a city rating of 47 mpg) and the all-new Fusion Hybrid, with its Camry Hybrid-beating 47 mpg highway rating.

Unfortunately, as well as the lack of mpg data, Ford hasn't yet announed pricing--or even availability--for its C-Max Energi. If you're in the market for one, you might have to wait a little longer to make your decision.

Even so, it may have taken a while, but Dearborn looks like finally taking the fight to Toyota's hybrids.


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Comments (11)
  1. I will be really interested to see the price, and whether or not they will actually really sell them.

  2. Just as in the Focus BEV, Ford has said they will market in all 50 states and Canada and match their production volume to customer demand. Of course demand will depend on price which has not been revealed for either of the Energi (PHEV) models of either the C-Max or Fusion. In addition, the larger batteries on the PHEV do intrude on luggage room, so that's a minus.

    Ford recently stated that they believe volumes will be in the range of 5-10,000 upa each for the Focus BEV, C-Max Energi, and Fusion Energi. They expect much higher volume for the hybrid model.


  3. I am curious how the Energi powertrain works. Does it work like the Prius or like the Volt where it can stay in PURE EV in all speed and conditions?

    Also, if C-Max is EPA rated 20 miles EV, then that is more than 3 times the Prius Plugin rating of 6 miles Electric as demostrated by John Voelker's article


    Is that real electric miles or the "mixed" miles like the EPA 13 miles on the Prius Plug in? So far, Ford has been keeping that quiet.

    I am guesing it is more like the Prius's "limited condition" EV miles instead of the Volt's "PURE EV" miles...

  4. The C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid are the first applications of Ford's Gen III Hybrid system. New Ford transmission; lithium batteries (air cooled). The system is similar to the Prius in that it uses a power-split transmission. That means the vehicle can be powered on EV alone only up to a point. There is a maximum speed (probably in the low 60's), and if more power is required the ICE will supplement. Ford has released total system horsepower of 188, but has not released the total electric motor hp (I'm guessing in the low 40's?).

    The Energi version has a larger battery; it is similar in operation to the PIP, and would not necessarily be EV only for the first xx miles, unlike Volt.

  5. Thanks for the info. I wonder if the energi version will meet CA's AT-PZEV designation so it can qualify for HOV stickers...

  6. Ford has not released final certification/fuel economy numbers yet, but in a previous release, Ford has said they are "targeting" AT-PZEV which means they will probably hit it.

    On another note, I noticed that there is a driver control for: EV Now; Auto EV; and EV later. So it looks like you can "lock out" the ICE from coming on; might be useful if you have a route within the range, but in a situation where the ICE might have come on if you didn't use careful throttle control. Still, if my estimate on EV motors is correct (around 40 hp??), the Energi will only have about half of the electric motor horsepower than the Volt; it certainly wouldn't perform as well as the Volt in EV mode.

  7. @Rich: If that "EV only" switch works as it does in the Prius Plug-In, it's still limited only to the car's electric capabilities. I drove a plug-in Prius in "EV Mode" from local roads onto a swift uphill freeway on-ramp; it quickly kicked itself out of EV-only and switched on the engine.

  8. @John, that's what I was thinking also; I assume the operation will be similar. There has to be a limit to keeping the ICE off as there is only so much electric power on tap.

    I'll be looking forward to your drive report when you can get your hands on one. But that could take some time as it appears Ford is giving us C-Max info one tablespoon at a time.

  9. @Xialong: The Prius Plug-In qualifies for the e-AT-PZEV designation, so it gets a green sticker. The C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi seem likely to do the same.

  10. Thanks. That is great. More choice for the market and more competition will only bring the price down for all consumers. Can't wait to test drive one.

  11. Ford has one problem to face.

    The Volts leased for 3-years starting in Nov. & Dec. 2010 will be coming off-lease right when the C-Max Energi's start to sell across the country. People wanting a full-fledged EREV who may be on the fence for a lower-priced C-Max Energi could be picking up lightly-used Volts with 30-36K miles or less for under $26K. Used Volts could slow up sales of these as "Volters" go for 2014s.

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