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Ford C-Max Energi and C-Max Hybrid (2011)

Tue, 11 Jan 2011 00:00:00 -0800

Ford has unveiled two new hybrid vehicles at the 2011 Detroit motor show, the plug-in hybrid C-Max Energi, and the C-Max Hybrid. Both are based on the five-seat Ford C-Max, and the pair go on sale in North America in 2012, while European sales follow in 2013.

Both the Ford C-Max Hybrid and Ford C-Max Energi use an Atkinson-cycle (like the Prius) 2.0-litre petrol engine and lithium-ion batteries. And because Ford is using lithium-ion batteries – and not the larger and heavier NiMH batteries – both C-Max are claimed to keep their flexible interiors.

Ford’s target for the C-Max Hybrid is for it to better the (US) 41mpg achieved by the Ford Fusion Hybrid. And the company claims the C-Max Hybrid will also be able to operate in electric-only mode beyond 47mph, the current ZE limit of the Fusion.

The Blue Oval also has its sights set on a range of at least 500 miles for the C-Max Energi. ‘A plug-in hybrid owner may make fewer trips to the pump to refuel because of its all-electric mode capability,’ said Ford’s vice president of global product development, Derrick Kuzak.

‘Conveniently, they’ll be able to recharge their plug-in hybrid at home overnight. And they’ll never have to think about the vehicle’s electric range, because the plug-in hybrid seamlessly shifts to fuel power when needed.’

Because how you drive is as important as what you drive, the Energi also features a Brake Coach system to help educate drivers to optimise their use of the regenerative brakes, and at the end of every journey the car will display the number of extra miles gained through regenerative braking and score your efforts. There’s a Honda-style plant to grow too, with a vine on the display that produces more leaves the more efficiently you drive, which Ford claims creates ‘a unique visual reward for the driver’s efforts’.

The Energi also features the same connectivity features as the Focus Electric, so owners can set their plug-in hybrid to recharge when the electricity rates are cheapest, and check the battery levels via their mobile phone.

Those hybrid C-Max vehicles destined for North America will built alongside the new Ford Focus and Focus Electric at the company’s ex-truck plant in Wayne, Michigan, while the European version will roll out of Ford’s Valencia plant where the conventional internal combustion variants are built.


By Ben Pulman