Ford Unveils the C-MAX Energi Plug-In Hybrid (2011 Detroit Auto Show)


Photo: Michael Graham Richard

Coming to North-America in 2012, Europe in 2013
Ford's electrification strategy is in good part on flexible manufacturing. Rather than build hybrids and electric vehicles from the ground up, they take existing models - like the new Focus or C-Max "five-passenger multi-activity vehicle", and they add variants which can be built in the same factories as the gasoline versions. At the Detroit Auto Show this year, Ford announced its first ever production plug-in hybrid, the C-Max Energi, as well as a plugless hybrid version also based on the C-Max, but with the goal of being more fuel-efficient than the Fusion Hybrid (41 MPG city/36 highway). Read on for more info and photos.


Photo: Michael Graham Richard

Ford C-Max Energi PHEV Specifications
We don't have all the details about what's under the hood of the C-Max Energi yet, but we do know that the batteries will be lithium-ion (nothing else cuts it these days) and the range-extending gas engine will run on the Atkinson-cycle and be rated AT-PZEV for emissions.

Ford writes: "C-MAX Energi will offer more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of overall driving range using the battery and engine - more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle. C-MAX Energi delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than Chevrolet Volt."

No word on the electric range, but it'll probably fall somewhere between 20 and 50 miles.


Photo: Michael Graham Richard

Ford C-Max Hybrid Specifications
The hybrid version will also use lithium-ion batteries, which would explain how this bigger vehicle could beat the Fusion hybrid's MPG. It should be able to operate in electric mode beyond 47 mph (76 km/h).


Photo: Michael Graham Richard

One interesting feature to encourage efficient driving:

"Long-term fuel efficiency can be displayed in two ways - either as a traditional chart or using an innovative display that shows a growing leafy vine on the right side of the cluster. The more efficient a customer is, the more lush and beautiful the leaves and vines become, creating a unique visual reward for the driver's efforts.

To reinforce the message, at the end of each trip a display screen provides distance driven, miles gained through regenerative braking, fuel consumed (average and total) and a regenerative braking score."

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Baby Prius: The Smaller Prius C Concept (2011 Detroit Auto Show)
Chevrolet Unveils 'Sonic' Sub-Compact (2011 Detroit Auto Show)
Thoughts on the State of the Auto Industry (2011 Detroit Auto Show)

Tags: Detroit | Electric Cars | Electric Vehicles | Hybrid Cars | Transportation