Ford C-MAX Energi – New Electric Crossover



By John Addison (7/26/12)




2013 Ford C-MAX Energi $29,995 with Tax Credit

With the new 2013 Ford C-Max Energi you have the room of a crossover SUV, a range of 550 miles because it is a plug-in hybrid, and the ability to make many trips in electric mode using a garage charge. The C-MAX Energi has more room than its main competitors the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

The C-MAX Energi is rated at 95 mpg. Drivers who often drive less than 20 miles in a day may average over 200 mpg. Save at the pump and rarely visit the gas station.

The C-MAX Energi’s price of $33,745 is more than the Prius PHV’s starting of $32,000, but less than the Volt’s starting at $39,145. After Federal Tax Credits, the starting costs are C-MAX Energi at $29,995, Prius PHV at $29,500, and Volt at $31,465.  (IRS Tax Credit Table)  Your price will vary with destination charges, options, and dealers willingness to deal. Leases are available. The Volt and Prius PHV are available from dealers now; the C-MAX Energi by the end of 2012. Competitors generally offer 8-year, 100,000-mile warranties for the expensive lithium-ion battery pack. Ford has not yet made final warranty decisions.

Plug-in hybrids are an engineering marvel. Charge the lithium ion battery in your garage then drive for miles in quiet comfort using only the electric motor. When the battery is depleted, the engine is engaged and you can continue hundreds of miles with the fuel efficiency of a hybrid car. The car’s computer decides when to engage the electric motor, when the engine, and when both. You just drive the plug-in hybrid like any other car.

The 550-mile range of the Ford C-MAX Energi overcomes the range anxiety of driving on all-electric car. Range may not be an issue if you have 2 or more cars in your household. For example, my wife and I have been driving the Nissan LEAF for over one year and range has rarely been an issue. If one of us drives over 60 miles, we use our hybrid car instead of the LEAF.

When I test-drove the Chevrolet Volt it achieved over 40 miles of electric range with its 16kW battery. The 2013 Volt will be rated at 38-miles electric range, up from 35 in 2012; 35 is the miles driven by an average American. When I test-drove a Toyota Plug-In Hybrid (PHV) with its 4.4kW battery, after only 12 miles the gasoline engine engaged. The Volt has 3X the electric range of the Prius PHV. In real world driving, I expect the 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi with its 7.5kW battery to have 2X the electric range of the Prius PHV. For most drivers, the Volt will mainly be fueled with electricity, the Prius PHV with gasoline, and the Ford C-MAX Energi in between.

In some states, such as California, with electric cars you can drive in the HOV lane solo. With hybrids and other cars, you cannot. For some commuters stuck in gridlock, this is a big incentive to get a plug-in hybrid instead saving $2K to $4K for a similar hybrid.

Room for People, Luggage, Work, School, Play

C-MAX is a compact hybrid utility vehicle jam-packed with features and room for five people and cargo. The Chevrolet Volt is more compact and only seats four.

No problem if you are a six-foot, six-inch, driver or passenger. The C-MAX has a high roofline (63.9 inches) offering ample interior space and flexibility. C-MAX offers 99.7 cubic feet of passenger space. This is much more than the Prius PHV, more than the larger non-plugin Prius v, and far more than the Chevrolet Volt. The spacious C-MAX Hybrid also provides greater headroom in both front 41-inches and rear seats 39.4 than the Chevrolet Volt with 37.8 front and 36 rear.

For cargo, C-MAX has 60/40 split-fold rear seats that easily fold flat with 42.8 cubic-feet of space behind the first row and 19.2 cubic-feet behind the second row. For some, the greater passenger and cargo space will be the deciding factor in selecting the C-MAX over any Prius or Volt.

Hands-Free Music, Navigation, Liftgate

Ford C-MAX Hybrid features the company’s innovative hands-free liftgate, allowing for quick and easy access to the cargo area without messing with keys. A gentle kicking motion under the rear bumper opens the liftgate when used in combination with a key fob the user keeps in his or her pocket or purse that tells the car it’s OK to engage. The same motion can close the liftgate. You can make it look easy, or use a martial arts routine that will make your friends’ jaws drop.

The vehicle also features the newest version of MyFord Touch that offers multiple ways to manage your phone, navigation, entertainment and climate functions through voice commands, menus accessed through controls on the steering wheel, touch screens, buttons or knobs.

C-MAX Hybrid also offers the next generation of SmartGauge with EcoGuide. The left cluster also shows Brake Coach, a feature that helps drivers optimize their use of the braking system so that driving range can be enhanced through proper braking techniques. In the right cluster, redesigned imagery of green leaves shows overall driving efficiency – as drivers improve their efficient driving, they are rewarded with more leaves. Ford displays have made it easy to improve fuel-economy when driving their hybrid and electric vehicles.

Ford’s Exciting World Car Strategy Delivers More for the Money

Ford is doing a great job of giving customers more choice while having common global vehicle platforms that drive down cost.

Ford built 2.5 million “C” platform vehicles last year with many common components. The Focus Electric and C-MAX offerings will be built with over a dozen other vehicles on the same assembly line in Wayne, Michigan. Ford controls cost with flexible manufacturing, where it can quickly adjust to market demand.

The C-MAX “maximizes” cargo and passenger space for its C platform. In Europe, over 144,000 C-MAX non-hybrid gasoline and diesel models are on the roads. In the USA, the C-MAX customers can choose either a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid. Ford’s long-term vision is to make its popular models available with the customer’s preferred drive system ranging from EcoBoost engines to hybrids to all-electric. Ford families such as the C-MAX, Focus, and Fusion will increasingly deliver on this customer choice approach.

With the C-MAX, we will see that Ford powersplit hybrids and blended plug-in hybrids share about 85 percent of the same components including electric traction motor, generator, inverters, DC/DC converters, electric accessories, transmission, and engine. Both the C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid models, with a common chassis, will be built alongside the all-new 2012 Ford Focus and Focus Electric at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich.

Ford’s revamped Michigan Assembly Plant is the first facility in the world capable of building a full array of vehicles – gas-powered, electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid – all on the same production line. That means C-MAX Energi is being built on the same line as C-MAX Hybrid, Focus, Focus Electric and Focus ST.

While the C-MAX Energi nameplate is new to the U.S. market, the technology and design has proven itself already in other ways and in other places with its fresh, modern style that provides plenty of utility.

Like C-MAX Hybrid, C-MAX Energi has projected total system horsepower of 188 – reaching a peak of 195 with a fully charged battery – stemming from the combination of a gasoline engine and a battery-driven electric motor. The C-MAX Energi uses s new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder. The Chevrolet Volt only needs a 1.4L engine because it is configured in series to primarily act as a generator.

The 7.5kW lithium battery system, hybrid transmission system and software for C-MAX Energi all were developed in-house. C-MAX Energi also benefits from 20 years of research and innovation behind the software and hardware technology it offers, incorporating many of the nearly 500 patents Ford holds in the area of hybrid technology.

The cost of the new hybrid system is 30 percent less than the previous generation. Three years ago, lithium battery packs cost about $1,000 per kilowatt. Now the cost is closer to $500. By the end of the decade, costs may only be $250 per kilowatt. Ford makes all of its lithium-packs and works with several lithium cell manufacturers to get the best price and battery chemistries separately optimized for battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid. Ford’s pack and volume strategy will lower costs of hybrid and electric cars.

Competition for the Ford C-Max Energi

Ford C-MAX Hybrid is $4,000 less than the Energi after considering federal tax credit. If you live in an apartment building or multi-tenant complex where you have no garage charging, then this crossover SUV may be a better choice than its exciting plug-in hybrid cousin. The C-MAX Hybrid has more cargo room than the Energi because of its smaller li-ion battery pack. The C-MAX Hybrid competes head-on with the new Prius v, the largest member of the Prii family. If you have access to an outlet for charging, your annual gasoline cost savings may ultimately pay for the extra $4,000 cost of the plug-in hybrid. 

Chevrolet Volt can be purchased now. Its 38-mile electric range is considerably more than the 20 of the Ford C-MAX Energi. The Energi has a greater gasoline range, but you may still visit the gas station more often in the Ford due to making fewer trips in electric mode. The Ford, however has much greater passenger and cargo room.  Chevy Volt Owners Stories

Prius PHV only has 15-mile electric range compared to over 20 with the Ford C-MAX Energi. After tax credits, there is no real price difference between the two. The C-MAX offers more passenger space and cargo. Yet, many customers have had wonderful experiences with their Toyota hybrids for over 10 years, trust Toyota quality, and will stay with Toyota.

Ford Focus Electric is all-electric in comparison to the C-MAX Energi being a plug-in hybrid. The Focus has a 100-mile electric range, compared to only 20+ for the C-MAX Energi. Although the Focus Electric may meet only 80-percent of your driving needs, if you are in a household with two or more vehicles, then range may never be an issue. You will save big on no gasoline and the Focus Electric starts at only $2,000 more than the C-MAX Energi after benefiting from federal tax credits.

Nissan LEAF is the best selling electric car. My experience as an owner is that this all-electric has an electric range of up to 140 miles on 30 mph streets, but only 60 miles when cruising the freeway while running your air conditioner. My wife and I share the LEAF and also have a hybrid which we use a couple of days weekly and on long-trips. By itself, the LEAF with its limited range would only meet 80 percent of our needs, but with two cars range has never been a problem in over one year. It cost us $40 monthly in electricity to run the LEAF, the cost of one fill-up at a gas station. After federal tax credits, the LEAF cost about the same as the C-MAX Energi and you can buy one now.

Ford is becoming a major force in hybrid and electric vehicles. Customers have been delighted with hybrids such as the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ, and are excited about the upcoming Fusion Energi. Fleet managers are running deliveries in the Ford Transit Connect Electric and now ordering the Ford Focus Electric. For people who need the crossover room and flexibility, the new Ford C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi are generating excitement.

Best Electric Cars for 2012 and 2013

2013 Ford C-MAX Energi Specifications

Vehicle Highlights
Max Seating Capacity 5
Drive (system, Type of Train) Front-Wheel Drive
Transmissions Electronic Continuously Variable (e-CVT)
Wheelbase 104.3
Wheels Available 17″ Aluminum Wheels
Warranty TBD
Exterior Dimensions
Exterior Dimensions (C-MAX Hybrid) Exterior Dimensions (C-MAX Energi)
Wheelbase (in.) 104.3 104.3
Length (in.) 173.6 173.6
Height (in.) 63.9 63.8
Width – Excluding mirrors (in.) 72 72
Width – Including mirrors (in.) 82.1 82.1
Width – Mirrors Folded [in] 75.6 75.6
Front Track (in.) 60.5 60.5
Rear Track (in.) 60.4 60.4
Base Curb Weight (lbs.) 3,607 3,859
Interior Dimensions
Interior Dimensions (C-MAX Hybrid) Interior Dimensions (C-MAX Energi)
Head Room – Front [in] 41 41
Head Room – Rear [in] 39.4 39.4
Maximum Leg Room – Front [in] 43.1 43.1
Leg Room – Rear [in] 36.5 36.5
Hip Room – Front [in] 54.3 54.3
Hip Room – Rear [in] 51.9 51.9
Shoulder Room – Front [in] 55.9 55.9
Shoulder Room – Rear [in] 55.2 55.2
Capacities: Passenger, Luggage, Fuel (C-MAX Hybrid) Capacities: Passenger, Luggage, Fuel (C-MAX Energi)
Seating Capacity 5 5
Passenger Volume (cu. ft.) 99.7 99.7
Cargo Volume behind 2nd row seats (cu. ft.) 24.5 19.2
Cargo Volume behind 1st row seats (with 2nd row seats folded) (cu. ft.) 52.6 42.8
Fuel Capacity (gal.) 13.5 14
Gas Engine Specifications
Gas Engine Specifications (C-MAX Hybrid) Gas Engine Specifications (C-MAX Energi)
Drive Type Front-Wheel Drive Front-Wheel Drive
Engine type 2.0L Atkinson-Cycle I-4 Hybrid Engine 2.0L Atkinson-Cycle I-4 Hybrid Engine
Transmission type Electronic Continuously Variable (e-CVT) Electronic Continuously Variable (e-CVT)
Exhaust Single Chrome-Tipped with Catalytic Converter Single Chrome-Tipped with Catalytic Converter
Projected Horsepower (SAE [email protected]) 141 @ 6000 rpm (91 RON) 141 @ 6000 rpm (91 RON)
Projected Torque ([email protected]) 129 @ 4000 rpm (91 RON) 129 @ 4000 rpm (91 RON)
Compression ratio 12.3:1 12.3:1
Valve lifters Direct Acting Mechanical Buckets (DAMB) Direct Acting Mechanical Buckets (DAMB)
Fuel delivery Sequential Multi-Port Electronic Fuel Injection Sequential Multi-Port Electronic Fuel Injection
Fuel recommended Unleaded Regular Unleaded Regular
Projected Emisions Level SULEV (EPA Smog Rating 8) AT-PZEV (EPA Smog Rating 9)
Fuel Economy Charge Sustain (miles per gallon) 47 city/47 hwy/47 combined mpg TBD
Projected Miles per Gallon Equivalent (MPGe) TBD
Electric Drive System
Electric Motor Specifications (C-MAX Hybrid) Electric Motor Specifications (C-MAX Energi)
Motor type Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous Motor Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous Motor
Battery 1.4kWh Lithium-ion (Li-ion) 7.5kWh Lithium-ion (Li-ion)
Battery Peak Power – Charge Sustain Mode 35 kW 35 kW
Battery Peak Power – Charge Depletion Mode 68 kW
Charging Time (hours) (120v/240v) 7 hrs/2.5 hrs
Projected EV Range TBD
Projected Electric Mode Top Speed 62 mph TBD
Gas Engine / Electric Motor Specifications
Gas Engine/Electric Motor Specifications (Hybrid Model) Gas Engine/Electric Motor Specifications (Plug-in Hybrid Model)
Vehicle Top Speed 115 mph 102 mph
Projected Total System Power (hp) Charge Sustain Mode 188 (140 kW) 188 (140 kW)
Projected Total System Power (hp) Charge Depletion Mode 194 (145 kW)
Chassis Specifications
Front Suspension Independent Short-and Long-Arm (SLA) with Double Lower Ball Joints, Stabilizer Bar
Front Shocks Gas Pressurized
Rear Suspension Independent Multi-link Twist Blade with Stabilizer Bar
Rear Shocks Gas Pressurized
Brakes Power Front/Rear Disc, with Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) and Regenerative Braking System
Traction Control AdvanceTrac® with RSC® (Roll Stability Control™)
Steering Electric Power-Assisted Steering
Ford reserves the right to change product specifications at any time without incurring obligations.
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About Author:

Founder of the Smarticd, author of Save Gas, Save the Planet. John writes about electric cars, renewable energy, and sustainability.

2 thoughts on “Ford C-MAX Energi – New Electric Crossover

  1. Giuseppe
    July 27, 2012 at 4:39 am

    Do you really believe the curb weight of the C-Max Energi is 4960 pounds? This is so much heavier than all the other cars. I know Ford released this number, but even 3960 pounds seems a little on the high side.

    • John Addison
      August 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Ford just sent us revised specs for the C-MAX with curb weights of 3,607 pounds for the Hybrid and 3,859 for the Energi. Thanks for your question at Smarticd.

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