|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.