Hybrid car drivers like to do everything possible to ensure their cars spend as much time as possible in all-electric mode.

Ford said yesterday that its 2013 C Max Energi can travel on electricity alone at speeds up to 85 mph. We’re sure plug-in hybrid fans around the world are rejoicing

Most efficient at low-speed, the all-electric mode of cars like the 2012 Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid allows drivers to make short trips without burning a single drop of gasoline. 

In the 2012 Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid however, any driving above 51 mph will cause the car’s gasoline engine to kick in, spoiling your zero-emission jaunt. 

Capable of up to 85 mph in all-electric mode, well beyond most speed limits, the $33,745 Ford C-Max Energi shouldn’t be afflicted with the same problem. 

Ford is keen to point out too, that the C-Max Energi has three distinct modes that allow the driver to control how and when all-electric mode is engaged. 

2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid

2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid

  • EV:Auto passes over control of all-electric mode to the C-Max Energi’s on-board computer, automatically switching between hybrid and all-electric mode as it drives along.
  • EV:Now allows the driver to use electric-only power until the C-Max Energi’s plug-in battery pack is depleted, or when extra power is needed to supplement the electric motors.
  • EV:Later is similar to the charge-holding feature of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt. It allows the driver to defer use of the plug-in battery pack for later, ideal for a commute involving high-speed freeway driving before hitting busy city streets. 

We’re glad to see Ford is giving control of when and how the C-Max Energi uses its battery pack to the driver. 

However, it’s worth noting that while it is capable of traveling at up to 85 mph in all-electric mode, extended driving at speeds approaching the upper limit will drastically reduce the C-Max Energi’s hoped 20-mile all-electric range. 

While the EPA has released official ratings for the 2013 C-Max Hybrid, the C-Max Energi has yet to be rated, although Ford is confidently predicting a combined gasoline + electric range of 550 miles and a combined EPA rating of around 95 MPGe.

Available to order now at select Ford dealers -- ostensibly the same dealers that are certified to sell its 2012 Focus Electric -- the C-Max Energi will follow the C-Max Hybrid to market later this year. 


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