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Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid heading to select US showrooms

Overview of the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Ford began production of the 2013 C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid vehicle (earlier post) at Michigan Assembly in October, and the vehicles are heading for showrooms. Ford has tripled to more than 200 the number of dealers certified to sell its lineup of plug-in electrified vehicles, including the C-MAX Energi that is on sale now. (Earlier post.)

Ford’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle on the market offers EPA-rated 108 mpg equivalent city, 92 mpge highway and 100 mpge combined;the all-electric range is up to 21 miles. Starting MSRP is $29,995 (after a federal tax credit). The EPA estimates that driving C-MAX Energi saves almost $7,000 in fuel costs over the course of five years compared with the average new vehicle.

The plug-in hybrid leverages Ford’s global C-car platform, powersplit architecture, next-generation driver information features and advanced lithium-ion battery systems. C-MAX Energi offers 195 net system horsepower (145 kW) with a fully charged battery, a top speed in electric mode of 85 mph (129 km/h), and a total range of 620 miles (998 km).

C-MAX Energi gives the driver control over how the vehicle’s power is used through an EV mode button mounted in the center stack that allows switching vehicle operation between three modes.

  • Electric-only driving without gasoline engine power;
  • Conventional hybrid mode where the powertrain melds electric and gasoline engine power as appropriate; and
  • Battery-saving mode that reserves the pack power for later use.

C-MAX Energi also has a feature called EV+ that allows for the vehicle to stay in electric-only mode for longer durations by learning frequent destinations. The feature was developed in response to Ford research that found drivers prefer to have their vehicles be in electric-only mode whenever possible. (Earlier post.)

C-MAX Energi’s power is rooted in third-generation hybrid vehicle technology found throughout Ford’s portfolio of roughly 500 hybrid patents; the technology that has helped cut costs of the automaker’s current hybrid system by 30% compared with previous generations. The powertrain combines a gasoline engine, a battery-driven electric motor and the new two-motor HF35 eCVT hybrid powersplit transaxle. (Earlier post.)

The HF35—designed in-house by Ford and manufactured at the company’s Van Dyke Transmission Plant—allows for operation at higher speeds than any other hybrid utility by featuring more precise controls that deliver higher levels of refinement as the powertrain transitions between engine and electric drive.

When powered by gasoline, C-MAX Energi uses the new 2.0-liter DOHC Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine, which delivers 141 hp (105 kW) and 129 lb-ft (175 nm) of torque. The electric traction motor provides 118 hp@6,000 (88 kW) and 117 lb-ft (240N·m) of torque.

In electric-only mode, C-MAX Energi uses an advanced 35 kW peak, 7.6-kWh Li-ion battery pack that can charge in as little as 2.5 hours when using a 240-volt charging station. A 240-volt station for home use and made by Leviton is available for purchase through a collaboration between Ford and the retailer Best Buy.

C-MAX Energi also features an LED-illuminated ring around the charge port, conveniently located on the front quarter panel of the driver’s side of the vehicle. The lighted ring makes it easy to determine the status of the vehicle’s battery charge: A fully lit circle means the battery is completely charged.

For managing the battery of C-MAX Energi away from the vehicle, MyFord Mobile is available for use via smartphone. MyFord Mobile allows C-MAX Energi owners to control select features of their vehicle from nearly anywhere, anytime, using the MyFord Mobile website or app.

For monitoring the vehicle’s power while in it, C-MAX Energi offers the latest generation of SmartGauge with EcoGuide. Designed to help drivers get the most from C-MAX, SmartGauge with EcoGuide provides information such as instantaneous fuel economy that is displayed on one of two 4.2-inch LCD screens, helping drivers more closely monitor how their driving behavior affects the vehicle’s efficiency.

In the right cluster, redesigned imagery of green leaves shows overall driving efficiency. The left cluster shows Brake Coach, a feature that helps drivers optimize their use of the regenerative braking system so that driving range may be enhanced through proper braking techniques.

Further controls are accessible through the 8-inch center stack screen serving as the interface between driver and the standard feature SYNC with MyFord Touch. Specific MyFord Touch features include SYNC 911 Assist (it can call 911 in case of an accident in which airbags deploy) and SYNC Services, which provides personalized traffic reports, turn-by-turn directions and up-to-date information such as business listings, news, sports and weather.



Has Ford out-Priused the Prius?

The specs look good. As Toyota sells it's 5 millioned hybrid and Ford finds the hybrid market GM should have another multi-ton SUV ready.

Freddy Torres

Ford has clearly outdone the prius on the electric side of the drivetrain. What I can't understand is why ford decided not to use their ecoboost technology (direct injection) in their atkinson cycle engine. Using direct injection in an atkinson cycle engine will allow a further increase in compression ratio which will increase the engine's peak thermal efficiency and it will also increase the power output which will allow the use of an even smaller engine, also increasing overall average thermal efficiency. Perhaps the next generation c-max will use direct injection


these cars capacity-wise fall in-between the classic Prius Liftback and the station wagon Prius V. Early reports have drivers having trouble reaching the EPA mileage specs.. that is the cost of a heavier car, with more frontal area and so-so aerodynamics and a more powerful engine.

Bob Wallace

I wonder if the press is going to dump on the C-MAX because it plugs in like they have done with the Volt?

Or will they love it because it's built by the American car company, Ford, and not by GM?


My question exactly, Freddy.  The 1.6l I-4 Ecoboost could be cut down to a 1.2l I-3 for the hybrids, with reductions in size, weight and parts count.

Maybe that's coming, it's just not here yet.  Or maybe there are emissions issues with stop-start on a turbo engine.  Someone's bound to spill the beans sooner or later.


even with 7000 back it still costs 30k. i don't know what the excitemrnt is about. When will this tech be affordable
and not some high priced toy. Lets not talk volume they have sold a lot hybrids. Just no cost savings. if gas goes way up it will just make the middle class buyer to broke to buy a hybrid.

Bob Wallace

"The EPA estimates that driving C-MAX Energi saves almost $7,000 in fuel costs over the course of five years compared with the average new vehicle."

Of course that means the owner would save another $7k in the next five years. And another $7k in the third five years.

So you're starting at $37,495 and getting $7,500 back the first year in tax credits. Then saving $21,000 over 15 years. That makes it a $8,995 car.

Yes, you do have to put more money in up front. But you also dodge a lot of brake rebuilds, tuneups, oil changes sorts of stuff.

And, when your power goes out, you'll have a very efficient generator parked in your driveway.

Roger Pham

>>>"So you're starting at $37,495 and getting $7,500 back the first year in tax credits. Then saving $21,000 over 15 years. That makes it a $8,995 car."

That's exactly the point I've been making many times here, although my number was a lot more conservative than this! I calculated that the battery must be replaced at regular interval, and that will make the saving a less than this, on par with the cost saving of a HEV, or about $10,000-14,000 over the useful life of the vehicle.

Good news that the EPA agrees with me on this! Another person on this site kept saying that I was making up non-sensical numbers when I did the calculations.


I didn't see the actual MSRP in the article, so either I am skimming or the writer left out some fairly important info. Yes, the net is around $30k, but it only qualifies for a $3750 credit and the MSRP is $33,745.
So though all the plug-ins seem to be clustering around a net price of $30k (though the Leaf may be dropping below that number) the Energi does give you good bang for your buck. Though I hope the Energi comes closer to meeting its EPA CS mpg figures than the C-Max Hybrid does to its stated hwy mpg.

Bob Wallace

The average price of a US car is a bit over $30k. It's not like the selling price is out of the reach of the buying public.

Batteries may fail, but transmissions and engines fail at some rate.

Thomas Pedersen

What is the median price of a US car? That is the relevant yard stick. There are a lot of $80k+ cars on the road and those inflate the average price above the reach of the 'average' driver.

Average is a deceiving concept.

Bob Wallace

I can't find the median price, but the three best selling vehicles in the US are the Ford and Chevy pickups and the Toyota Camry. The lowest price of each is in the low $20k range. $22k seems to be the sweet spot when it comes to selling a lot of units.

If the C-MAX saves drivers $7k over the first five years then spending the extra for the C-MAX is about a wash. $30k - $7k ~= the cost of owning a F150 or Camry. Years of savings follow.

Kit P

“The EPA estimates that driving C-MAX Energi saves almost $7,000 in fuel costs over the course of five years compared with the average new vehicle. ”

This is why I think the EPA is a pack of lairs. However, I am skeptical that the EPA said this. The writer most likely is paid by Ford.

Nevertheless, people buy specific cars. There are lot of serviceable 5 passenger cars for about $16k that get good mileage for those interested in fuel costs. The average includes all those cars where the buyer is more interested in something else. The truth is that there is no data on the actual fuel use.

A Camry is about is about $5k more than a Corolla and except for size there is not much difference. When traveling on business earlier this year, we had a Camry. Nice car but I would not spend extra for one. I would not spend extra Pious either.


2013 Ford C-Max Energi
SEL MSRP $32,950


Interesting. SJC, the Overview page you cite has an MSRP of $32,950, but if you hit the Pricing tab, it shows an MSRP of $33,745, which is the same as the KBB page I linked to, but both those $33,745 MSRP's actually include the Destination fee. So my link to Kelley Blue Book is pointing to incorrect info. Sorry for incorrect information. I checked with and they now have the MSRP for the C-Max Energi, which they didn't have last week and it is $32,950.
I am not sure why KBB included the destination fee in their MSRP for the Energi, but on at least one page, so did


Either price seems like a bargain to me, it looks like Ford is on the right track. We will see what the sales numbers turn out to be.

Bob Wallace

From the EPA website. RE: the 2013 Ford C-MAX PHEV

"You SAVE $6,750 in fuel costs over 5 years compared to the average new vehicle"

Kit P

Thanks for the link Bob. I save almost $3000 on fuel if I buy a Corolla. Since the difference in fuel cost is less than a $1000/year, it will take 15 years to payback the cost of hauling batteries around.

When you setup a web site to tell a lie, that is an organized lie. Telling the truth is comparing the best mileage for 5 passenger cars to all other passenger cars.


You can't add-up annual savings in fuel costs and expect to see all of that money in the end.

This car is a lot more complex than a gasoline-only car, so maintenance costs will be higher.

Ford does not sell parts for cars after 10 years.
You can get generic parts elsewhere, but the C-Max has a lot of complex components that will never be used in other applications, and will be unobtainable once Ford runs out (and they always run out of the trouble-prone components first, for obvious reasons).

I've twice been forced to junk 10 year old Ford cars because of unobtainable parts (brake balancing valve on one, speedo cable on another). It makes absolutely no sense to extrapolate first-year fuel savings out to year 10. I'm afraid that the only way the maths will work on this is if you break-even within the warranty period.


complexity and cost of repair are left out of this estimate. what average wrench will be able to fix this thing when it breaks down? Union dealer rates and parts are crazy expensive. Corolla seems like the smart buy. For EV/hybtid this is a great leap forward but not a middle class car when middle class struggle for about 60k a year. most middle class people on a block of nicer homes are buying 1 or 2 year used or small forgien cars. 30k just kinda rich. 20k usher sweet spot but EV isn't about reducing cist as far as anyone can tell.


Sorry there is no edit after posting. the last sentence should have said. 20k is the sweet spot but EV isn't about reducing cost far as anyone can tell.


It is sad to read how 'cheapest intial price' at all cost is so deeply ingrain into the majority.

It is not surprising that so many electricity lines, houses, buildings etc did not resist 100 mm of rain and 120 kph wind early this month. They were built too 'cheap'. How should be responsible to repair those overly cheap houses? Should the builders be responsible?

My sister's house (in South Florida) with very heavy thick cement/concrete roof tiles and very strong storm windows went through 12+ hurricanes and tropical storms without damages.

For about 8% to 12% higher initial cost, a house can be built to resist storms and to use 80% less energy. Why isn't it done? Should the national building code be changed? Otherwise, what happened lately in NY and NJ will be repeated over and over again?

Bob Wallace

I save almost $3000 on fuel if I buy a Corolla.

Yes, the Corolla will use about $850 per year more in gas based on 15,000 miles driven. So if you buy the most striped down Corolla and don't include higher maintenance costs you'll pay about the same over 15 years.

Roger Pham

@Bernard and ChicagoBob,

Don't worry, in 10 years, most Fords will be HEV's or PHEV's to meet much tougher CAFE regulation. As such, the hybrid-related parts will be shared among Fords of different models to reduce development cost. The power steering, power brakes, A/C compressor, electric water pump, and power electronics, electric motors and generators, and the power-split gearing can be used on many models, or components are substantially shared. The engine is quite conventional and the parts can be easily obtained.

It is not true that HEV's or PHEV's are more complex than conventional ICEV's, or that they will require more repairs. HEV's have no gear-shift transmission to wear out, while the motors and power electronics will last for the life of the car. If power electronics or the battery will need replacement, it will be much easier to do than replacement of a mechanical parts. Simply remove a few screws and unplug the plugs, and put in new part and plug it back in. With sufficient market demands, Denso, Bosch and other auto-part makers will make compatible parts.

A PHEV will use its engine less often than a conventional ICEV, such that the engine may never need servicing except oil changes, nor any repair, if the vehicle is plugged-in twice daily to realize most driving on electric power alone. Ditto for the 4 brakes that are hardly ever used. 95% of kinetic energy is recuperable by the electric motors.

So, the take-home message is to enjoy your next Ford HEV's or PHEV's without any worry. Our experience with our 2009 Ford Fusion is very good, over 60,000 miles without any issue nor any repair, whatsoever. No oil loss at all, between oil change interval of 6000-7500 miles using 5W-20 oil, and almost no air loss in the tires, either, over one year's time. It seems like the Ford is made with very high precision and smoothness of internal parts.

Kit P

“striped down Corolla ”

BS Bob is at it again, making stuff up again. That is called telling a lie. My wife's Corolla is a luxury car. It has all the luxuries that she wants.

One of the secrets of life is defining your own values while ignoring pot smoking California hippies or white wine drinking Madison Avenue jingle masters.

My pick up truck is stripped down and just meets the needs of driving to work. OMG, on a hot day I might have to sit a car five minutes longer. I paid $1200 for it more than ten years ago which means I save $30k.

“maintenance costs

How ignorant do you have to be to think that a PHEV does not have an ICE with line by line maintenance requirements of the ICE of a car without lots of batteries? I know this because I looked it up.

BS Bob makes up stuff and presents it as a fact. Please Bob do not tell me about what you drive. It will save me the trouble of making fun of you.


Here is something to think about. Often the lowest initial cost is an indication of better quality. For years Detroit turned out poor quality junk. That is not to say that all rice burners are crated equal. Sometimes cheap junk is cheap junk and sometimes it is expensive junk.

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