• Oct 1st 2010 at 3:06PM
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2011 Ford C-Max – Click above for high-res image gallery

We've long been jealous of the frugal diesel vehicles that American (and other) automakers make available in the European market but not in the U.S., but Ford has the ability to send our envy-o-meters into the red by hyping something that sports a big battery pack. The Blue Oval has done it again this with the confirmation at the Paris Motor Show that the company's first European hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, new versions of the C-Max, are on track for launch in 2013.

We've known about the C-Max hybrid and PHEV for a while, but now we know that the plug-in will use Ford's powersplit architecture that pairs a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle engine with a "high-voltage electric motor generator" and a lithium-ion battery system. The new C-Max models will be built in Spain. Sure, the U.S. is getting the Grand C-Max seven-seater in about a year, but the five-seater will remain unavailable here. Maybe, just maybe, by the time 2013 rolls around and we have a slew of decent, efficient vehicles to play with here in the U.S., we won't care about what's available in Europe. Oh, who are we kidding? Of course we will.

[Source: Ford]


  • Ford is on track to produce five hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and battery electric vehicles for the North American market by 2012 and European markets by 2013
  • Ford's first hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles for Europe will be based on the new Ford C-MAX and be launched in 2013
  • C-MAX plug-in hybrid will use the company's critically acclaimed powersplit architecture with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle engine in combination with a high-voltage electric motor generator and a lithium-ion battery system
  • New C-MAX hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles will be built in Valencia, Spain and join Transit Connect Electric and Focus Electric and a yet to be announced CD-segment vehicle in a suite of electrified vehicles across the compact, midsize and light commercial van segments
The drive toward broad commercialisation of low-emission, fuel-efficient electrified vehicles is gaining ground as Ford Motor Company confirmed today it is on track to deliver five electrified vehicles for launch in North America by 2012 and European markets by 2013.

Ford's commitment to extend its global electrified vehicles strategy will see the introduction of a full battery-electric Ford Transit Connect in 2011, and a battery-electric derivative of the next-generation Ford Focus, due in 2012.

Ford's Valencia Plant in Spain will build the company's first hybrid models for European customers with two advanced technology derivatives of the all-new five-seat Ford C-MAX compact multi-activity model to be launched in 2013 – a full hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The fifth vehicle will also be a next-generation hybrid-electric model and will be announced at a later time.

"Our plan to deliver five electrified Ford vehicles as promised is well underway, which is great news for our customers both here in Europe and in North America," said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe today at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. "The new advanced powertrain technologies we are applying progressively across our entire portfolio further strengthen Ford's commitment to delivering significant fuel economy improvements and reduced CO2 emissions to meet our customers' functional needs without compromising their driving experience."

While North America continues to be the dominant market for hybrid sales, European interest in the segment is rising. According to R.L. Polk & Company, a leading auto industry market research firm, European hybrid vehicle sales are projected to double between 2010 and 2012. Other researchers project worldwide hybrid sales to top 6 million units per year by 2020, with the volume leaders being the U.S., Europe and China.

"Due to the increasing customer interest in Europe for electrified versions of our vehicles, we are stepping up our efforts to bring these models to market alongside our latest-generation, fuel-efficient EcoBoost petrol and Duratorq diesel models," Odell added. "European consumers soon will have an even greater range of electric alternatives from Ford."

New C-MAX HEV and PHEV: The powersplit and plug-in advantages
The upcoming new Ford C-MAX PHEV and HEV models, like the company's next-generation hybrids, will use the company's critically acclaimed powersplit architecture with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle engine in combination with a high-voltage electric traction motor generator and a lithium-ion battery system.

In a powersplit hybrid, the electric motor and petrol-powered engine can work together or separately to maximise efficiency. The engine also can operate independently of vehicle speed, charging the batteries or providing power to the wheels as needed. The motor alone can provide sufficient power to the wheels in low-speed, low-load conditions, and work with the engine at higher speeds. As a result, the current-generation Fusion Hybrid can operate in petrol-saving electric mode up to 47 mph under certain conditions for short distances.

Comparatively, Ford's future plug-in hybrid is being designed to operate in electric mode at even higher speeds than the current generation. The plug-in hybrid will stretch its fuel efficiency further than a hybrid by enabling the user to recharge the lithium-ion battery by plugging the vehicle into the electrical grid. As a result, plug-in hybrids have more battery energy to draw upon and can go further without using the petrol-powered engine.

Plug-in hybrid users will want to recharge their vehicles overnight, because the cost of electricity is typically lower during off-peak hours. While a plug-in hybrid does not need to be plugged in to operate due to its petrol engine backup, it is designed to operate most efficiently when the battery has been fully charged.

On startup, Ford's future plug-in hybrid will operate in charge-depletion mode. When the battery has been depleted or certain conditions are met, it switches to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency. After the battery is depleted, the vehicle will drive like a regular hybrid electric vehicle.

"A plug-in hybrid owner will make fewer trips to the pump to refuel, because of its all-electric mode capability," said Lisa Drake, chief engineer for Ford's Global Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicle programs. "They'll be able to conveniently 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 petrol when needed."

The eco-friendly alternatives: All-electric Focus and Transit Connect models
Ford's future all-electric vehicles – Transit Connect Electric and Focus Electric – offer yet another means for eco-friendly driving, this time without a fuel tank.

Vehicle users will have the option of recharging Transit Connect Electric and Focus Electric with either a standard 240V or 120V charge station for optimal recharging. The vehicles will come with a transportable cord for remote recharging.

A battery electric vehicle's onboard lithium-ion battery pack is charged by connecting the charge port to a power outlet. Inside the vehicle, an onboard charger converts the AC power from the electric grid to DC power to charge the battery pack.

Ford's battery electric vehicles are expected to offer fleet customers lower cost of operation, because recharging with electricity is generally less expensive than refuelling with petrol. Users may also benefit from much lower maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle.

The development of Ford's battery electric and plug-in hybrid technologies leverages nearly 200,000 miles of road testing conducted in collaboration with a coalition of 10 utilities, the U.S. Department of Energy, the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration and the Electric Power Research Institute.

In the United Kingdom, Ford is working with Scottish and Southern Energy and Strathclyde University on the UK Low Carbon Vehicle Fleet program to demonstrate a fleet of 21 prototype electric vehicles and collect data on their performance.

In Germany, Ford is working with RheinEnergie AG, the city of Cologne and the University of Duisburg-Essen on the ColognE-mobile program, using a fleet of 25 electric vehicles to conduct road testing. The program is part of a much larger research effort in several cities in Germany involving multiple automakers, utility companies, universities and technology partners.

Proven performance
Ford's next-generation hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles will build on its considerable success in North America with the Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid – America's most fuel-efficient midsize car and most fuel-efficient SUV, respectively.

Ford has more than 140,000 hybrid vehicles on the road to date, including hybrid versions of Mercury Milan and Mariner. The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid joins the North American line-up this fall and is the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America.

"We know that one technology does not work for all customers – hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles each offer distinctly different advantages," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of Global Product Development. "By leveraging our global platforms, we are able to offer our customer a range of solutions as part of a strong product line-up."

Ford is designing its hybrid and electric vehicles to provide outstanding fuel efficiency with no-compromise driving enjoyment. Smooth regenerative braking, confident acceleration, a comfortable interior and smart driver information features have helped earn the North American Ford Fusion Hybrid the 2010 MOTOR TREND Car of the Year® award and a place on numerous best "green" car lists.

"We expect our upcoming plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles to drive like real cars because they're based on real cars," said Nancy Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification. "They share many of the same quality components as their petrol- and diesel-powered counterparts, while delivering superior fuel economy and no-compromise driving enjoyment

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Ford has not confirmed the price details for the new car; these will be announced closer to the Irish launch date. The specification details for the entry C-MAX and Grand C-MAX ACTIV include new 16" 5x2 alloy wheels, front foglights, rear privacy glass, heated windscreen, Bluetooth voice control, air conditioning, electric front windows, remote radio CD and leather steering wheel and gear knob. Rear parking sensors and foldable mirrors, power child locks, rear seat beltminder and electric rear windows are available on the Grand C-MAX only.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but this sounds a lot like Toyota's Synergy Drive system? But with a full lithium battery pack? No word on the pack capacity, or the all electric range?

      Sincerely, Neil
      • 4 Years Ago
      This powertrain will show up on the next gen Escape. I wouldn't be surprised to see it in the next gen Licoln MKZ also.
      • 8 Months Ago
      When will you greens stop envying Europe?


      We have an EREV the World's first practical electric vehicle, the VOLT, suitable for an entire small family, and servicing all of its needs, entering mass manufacture in a couple of weeks and here in the USA. The Europeans in return for their $10 dollar a gallon gas have nothing but bovine pasture patties, and promises. Promises about someday duplicating what we have now in the US.

      The US has or will have, a LEAF, the first mass produced BEV next spring. Maybe Europe will get the same one then too, courtesy of a Japanese auto maker. We have the Prius, so do they. Once again as a courtesy of a Japanese automaker. What did the $10 a gallon gas get them? More bovine pasture patties and promises.

      The US has almost completely cleaned its air, except for two metro areas, by today's bracket creep standards. By original Earth Day standards in the 1970s, the US air quality is what they thought was perfectly clean, everywhere in the US, right now,and could only wish to have. We have the most advanced toxic air emissions regulations in the World, and the cleaner cars that meet them. The EU won't even duplicate until 2016, the equivalent of our old, obsolescent, 1980s level emissions regulations. What do the Europeans get for their $10 a gallon gas?

      Polluted air, phony "clean diesels", that are nowhere near clean enough to be legal to sell in the US; and all the polluted air they care to breathe to poison themselves. We emit no net CO2 having already taken all the measures to establish sufficient sequestration sites. Europeans still emit atmospheric CO2. More EU bovine pasture patties.

      But they have better mileage you say. No, that is not quite true, It's Not True for cars that Americans will actually buy. Proof? The Achieved CAFE for domestic and foreign cars is exactly the same 32.6 mpg for Model year 2009, by the DOE's, RITA reports. So what do Europeans get for their $10 dollar a gallon, (mostly tax), gasoline? Lots of tinier, cramped, cars that don't sell currently in the USA; or they would be sold by someone of the car companies, foreign or domestic. That and Bovine pasture patty promises.

      So why does everyone want to raise the exorbitant current gas prices, by adding a big gas tax, so that we have "lower" (?????), gas prices? That is a logical absurdity. What did the Europeans get for their $10 dollar a gallon gas ?

      N-O-T-H-I-N-G.... but bovine pasture patties.
        • 8 Months Ago
        "We emit no net CO2 having already taken all the measures to establish sufficient sequestration sites."

        Uh, no, you're wrong. The EPA sequestration FAQ http://www.epa.gov/sequestration/faq.html says "The U.S. landscape acts as a net carbon sink—it sequesters more carbon than it emits.", but industrial emissions dwarf that. From the UNFCCC site http://unfccc.int/ghg_data/ghg_data_unfccc/items/4146.php , USA emitted over 6.9 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases excluding "Land use, Land-Use Change and Forestry" in 2008. When you include that, net emissions drop a LOT, down to 6 billion tons, which I think supports the idea that USA land use sequesters some CO2 (good!) but hardly all of it.

        And bovine patties? What the hell are you on about? You make no sense.
        See that Location field at the top of your browser? Go to the site where you read this stuff, press Ctrl+L, copy its contents, and paste its URL into your comment.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Actually petrol is around $6 gallon in most places in Europe, but don't let the facts get in the way of your rant, Stan.
        You certainly haven't in the rest of your comments.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Hi, Actually, Harry Grepke invented the hybrid over 30years ago. You can see a picture of his car on the cover of the september 1975 issue of Popular Science. Another American invention.
      Tom Sines
      • 8 Months Ago
      A oouple of comments:
      1. Although the Toyota and Ford hybrid systems are conceptually similar, there is absolutely no technical connection between the two companies on hybrid systems. Toyota did not assist Ford; Ford does not license any part of the Toyota system; Ford does not pay any royalties to Toyota.
      2. Ford is now rolling out its new c-car platform which serves as the basis for the new Focus range which includes the C-Max and Grand C-Max. And starting in 2012 the new Escape and Kuga.
      3. Ford US is in the middle of its Gen3 hybrid system design and is preparing manufacturing facilities. The transmission will be produced in Ford's VanDyke, MI plant and the lithium battery packs assembled in Ford's Rawsonville, MI plant. This hybrid also will have PHEV capability.
      4. Ford has not announced the full application plan for the Gen3 hybrid but it will be rolled out beginning in 2012 in the U.S (certainly in the new Escape, but maybe Focus).
      Presumably this system also will be used in the new Fusion around 2012/2013.
      5. My assumption for the 2013 timing for the C-Max in Europe is that Ford wants to install the new system in the U.S. models first and when the manufacturing facilites are up to speed, then the European assembly will be supported by components shipped from the U.S..
      6. It's not clear if the Grand C-Max which will be imported from Spain for sale in the U.S. will have HEV/PHEV options.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "slew" - what "slew"?

      I see mostly announcements about stuff that will be available over-seas and stuff which will come to market in a few years or something.
      And stuff mentioned as coming to market 'in a few years' is non-existent until it shows up.

      It would have been a much different world we live in if everything that was 'coming to market within a few years' actually ever showed up at all.

      So far, when looking at what is actually coming out for sale with new models - it is basically business as usual with ever-so-slight tweaks and lots of marketing talk about how great the future will be in just a few years.

      And what happened to the 'global vehicle ford' idea?
      • 8 Months Ago
      The C-Max represents Ford's return to the minivan market since it ceased production of the Freestar in 2006. However, this is a much different vehicle than the full-sized Freestar. Ford hasn't announced specifications for the U.S. model yet, but we're guessing that it will be powered by the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is under the hood of the new Ford Focus, which shares the same basic underpinnings as the C-Max. There are also rumors that a turbocharged version of that engine may be available as well.
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