The U.S. federal tax credit for plug-in vehicles maxes out at $7,500 for cars with batteries that are 16 kWh or larger. The Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid doesn't have that big of a pack, so the most the feds will grant you for buying one is $3,750. Still, the Energi's just-announced price of $33,745 is competitive in the plug-in space, since most people will end up paying $29,995.

Ford calls the Energi "America's most affordable plug-in hybrid," but that would seem to be just barely the case. The $33,745 price includes destination fees. The Toyota Prius Plug-In, with those fees, is priced at $32,760, and it qualifies for $2,500 in federal tax credits, so it comes to $30,260 in the end. That's just $265 more than the Energi. To make another comparison, the regular hybrid C-Max will cost $25,995, including destination. Both of these Ford vehicles will be available later this year.

The C-Max Energi is Ford's first production plug-in hybrid and has a 20-mile all-electric range and 95 miles per gallon equivalent rating. If you'd like to build your own Ford C-Max Energi, the configurator website is here.
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C-MAX Energi Becomes America's Most Affordable Plug-In Hybrid as Ford Cuts Hybrid Technology Costs by 30 Percent
  • C-MAX Energi – available this fall – is Ford's first production plug-in hybrid, part of Ford's first hybrid-only dedicated line of vehicles and now America's most affordable plug-in hybrid
  • The build-and-price website for C-MAX Energi launches July 24, providing customers the opportunity to build a virtual version of the new plug-in hybrid
  • Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid is projected to deliver 550 miles of total range, including more than 20 miles in electric-only mode – more than triple the electric-only range of the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing methods
  • C-MAX Energi will launch as part of Ford's power of choice strategy to deliver leading fuel economy across its lineup while tripling electrified vehicle production capacity by 2013
DEARBORN, Mich., July 24, 2012 – Ford's new C-MAX Energi – expected to offer 15 class-exclusive features, a 550-mile total range and more than 20 miles of electric-only range that is at least triple Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid's EPA-tested range – will now be America's most affordable plug-in hybrid when it goes on sale.

Available this fall for $29,995 after a federal tax credit, the C-MAX Energi is more affordable than the Prius plug-in hybrid. C-MAX Energi is Ford's first production plug-in hybrid vehicle and part of the company's first dedicated line of hybrids.

C-MAX Energi delivers a projected 550 miles of total range, a 95 mpg equivalent (MPGe) and an electric-only top speed higher than the Prius plug-in. The new C-MAX Energi also has 60 more horsepower than the Prius plug-in hybrid considering full battery power, along with class-exclusive technologies such as hands-free liftgate and active park assist for easier parallel parking.

"The Ford C-MAX Energi is within financial reach for those who want a hybrid, but is also something customers will want to reach for because of its unique look and amazing value," said Michael O'Brien, Ford electrified vehicle marketing manager. "It offers exceptional fuel economy, better features and a better price tag than a Prius plug-in hybrid, which we think will help make C-MAX Energi one of our most attractive vehicles for import customers."

Ford expects about half of C-MAX buyers to trade in competitive models – one of the highest conquest rates of any Ford vehicle. C-MAX Energi will soon be available for order at Ford Certified EV Dealers. Starting today, anyone interested can go online to build and price their ideal plug-in hybrid at this site.

Ford calls C-MAX Energi a "hybrid-plus" because it not only operates just like C-MAX Hybrid, but also features an external charge port and larger lithium-ion battery pack so owners can plug in the vehicles to fully charge the battery using either a standard 120-volt outlet or the available 240-volt charge station. The vehicle also is expected to be capable of making trips of more than 20 miles in electric-only mode and longer trips of as much as 550 miles on a single tank of gas and fully charged battery.

In California, the vehicle is expected to be AT-PZEV-compliant and qualify for much-desired access to the high-occupancy vehicle lanes that typically allow for faster travel. C-MAX Energi also is expected to qualify for additional tax credits up to $1,500 in California.

C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi figure prominently in Ford's rollout of five electrified vehicles this year. Ford's other electrified vehicles include:
  • Focus Electric: Production began late 2011; America's most fuel-efficient compact with 110 MPGe city; charge time of four hours with the available 240-volt charging station – nearly half the time as Nissan Leaf
  • C-MAX Hybrid: Coming this fall; projected 47 mpg city, 3 mpg better than Toyota Prius v
  • All-new Fusion Hybrid: Coming this fall; projected 47 mpg expected to beat Toyota Camry Hybrid by 5 mpg highway
  • Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid: Will begin production by the end of this year; aiming to be the most fuel-efficient midsize car in the world with more than 100 MPGe
Maximizing efficiencies
Starting at $33,745 – and eligible for a $3,750 federal tax credit – Ford is passing along to customers cost savings that have been achieved through various efficiencies, says Kevin Layden, director, Ford's Electrification Programs and Engineering.

Ford officials have said that the costs of its current hybrid system are 30 percent less than the costs of Ford's previous-generation hybrid systems due in large part to those cost-containment efforts.

For example, Ford has cut costs by bringing in-house the development and manufacture of many aspects of vehicles such as C-MAX Energi. The hybrid battery system, hybrid transmission system and software for C-MAX Energi all were developed in-house.

Further, by creating global vehicle platforms, Ford maximizes the use of as many shared parts and components across as many lines as possible to lower overall costs.

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. More details about MAP can be found here.

Maximizing experience
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.

Since 2010, more than 144,000 units of the five-passenger C-MAX gasoline and diesel versions have been sold in Europe – where the market is growing for vehicles slightly larger than compacts like Ford Focus and smaller than SUVs like Ford Escape. Though Ford is concentrating on hybrid versions of C-MAX in the U.S., the designs of C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid are based on the gasoline- and diesel-powered European version.

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. When powered by gasoline, C-MAX Energi uses the all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine – powerful and fuel efficient and among the most advanced non-turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains Ford has ever offered.

Because owners plug in to charge the advanced lithium-ion battery in C-MAX Energi, the vehicle is able to achieve increased electric mode and total range. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter, more efficient and more powerful than nickel-metal-hydride batteries used in first-generation hybrids. They also promote faster charging times.

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.

For example, C-MAX Energi offers the latest generation of SmartGauge® with EcoGuide. Designed to help drivers get the most from C-MAX, information such as instantaneous fuel economy can be 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 can be enhanced through proper braking techniques.

Available for C-MAX Energi is the MyFord® Mobile smartphone application that allows users to monitor charging, receive alerts, find charge stations, plan trips and do more from their smartphones or computers for an effortless transition to an electrified vehicle lifestyle.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 34 Comments
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Isn't the Volt only a couple of grand more than this and offers up essentially unlimited range? Its good to see Ford enter the market, but quite honestly, I think the Volt is by far the most practical of all these EV or extended-range EVs.
        Tweaker
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        ummm, what prevents the Ford from "unlimited range"?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        [blocked]
          Rollingdoughnut
          • 2 Years Ago
          Don't forget the CMax Energi gets 47mpg vs 37mpg in ICE mode for the Volt. Some days the Volt would be better, and other days the CMax would be better, it depends on your travel. The Volt for most people would come out ahead unless they have a long commute, or take a long trip.
          Dean Hammond
          • 2 Years Ago
          I'll wait till a side by side comparison with the Volt, I beleive this may have better day to day longer distance figures, good alternative though, BUT this will need a comparable lease to say the least. And I wonder which would be best out in the middle of no-where with no charging stations mileage wise.
      That Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      That much for that ugly, mediocre piece of garbage? Bwhahahahaha!
        Dean Hammond
        • 2 Years Ago
        @That Guy
        actually Matt, against its competition its pretty strong...looks are subjective though....
        merlot066
        • 2 Years Ago
        @That Guy
        I bet that's what they say when they drive by your street corner...
        Rollingdoughnut
        • 2 Years Ago
        @That Guy
        That guy. Go drive your pick-up truck to the local noodling hole and drive right in it, please. Don't forget to buckle up.
        danwat1234
        • 2 Years Ago
        @That Guy
        Good luck even getting 30MPG in a Subaru Outback except on long highway trips, a C-max will get 45 all day long most likely. We will see when real-world MPG data comes to fuelly
      foxtrot685
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was really interested in this vehicle when they first announced it and it had the rear sliding doors. The EcoBoost 1.6 was supposed to find its way under the hood and it looked pretty decent at that time. Then they took away the rear sliding doors and made it a hybrid-only vehicle. No thanks...
        Brex
        • 2 Years Ago
        @foxtrot685
        Funny, I was thinking, "Wasn't this thing originally really ugly?"
        dreadcthulhu01
        • 2 Years Ago
        @foxtrot685
        Ford sells both the 5 passenger C-Max seen here (with a variety of conventional gasoline & diesel engines) & the 7 passenger Grand C-Max outside of North America. Ford at one point planned to sell the Grand C-Max in the US, but then changed their minds. As for why they decided to only sell a hybrid C-Max, they probably wanted have a separate "efficient" & "utility" lines, with the new Escape (which is on the same platform) being the utility vehicle. I am also disappointed that they aren't bringing the Grand C-Max to the US; I have a Mazda 5 (which is extremely similar in size & layout to the Grand C-Max) which I love; it is the perfect size for a small family, and sliding doors are awesome when you are shoving a kid into a car seat in a crowed parking lot. It would be nice to have more choices of similar vehicles when it comes time to replace my Mazda 5, since right now it is the only real "mini"-van you can buy in America, what with the Caravan, Sienna, ect bloating up to the point where we should just call them vans.
      Mark
      • 2 Years Ago
      I see Ford is following Nissan in highlighting the worst color they offer for these type of vehicles. I guess it is supposed to say "green" or something?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mark
        [blocked]
        Tweaker
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mark
        My first thought too. I really want to see it in either black or white to go with those windows.
        Synthono
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mark
        This weird sort of seafoam color is really common on hybrids - I think the Prius launched with the same color, and I seem to remember that early Volt shots were also painted a silvery green. I have no idea why they're going with it for "green" cars, maybe it looks gentle and cuddly for the environment, but I agree that it's really not appealing.
      otiswild
      • 2 Years Ago
      Neat, though I'm curious to see how it reviews.. I'd also want to see a Taurus Energi at some point, as my folks need a larger car, and I don't think the Fusion's quite large enough..
        • 2 Years Ago
        @otiswild
        [blocked]
          axiomatik
          • 2 Years Ago
          I recently had a Taurus for a rental. Up front, it doesn't feel nearly as spacious as the outside dimensions would suggest. I didn't ever sit in the back, but I hope they made up the room back there. The high beltline and dashboard that felt like it was bulging out towards you made it feel relatively claustrophobic up front.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @otiswild
        [blocked]
      Bryan Smithe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Having spent the last month unsuccessfully trying to get Ford to warranty the failed hybrid battery cooling system of my 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid (only 140,000 km), I will never buy another vehicle from Ford. If they will not proudly stand behind the vehicles that they make, then purchasing the CMAX would be like burning my money. I have no faith that Ford has the technological ability to properly engineer and build a vehicle of this complexity and ABSOLUTELY no trust that they will support the customers who buy it when it will inevitably fail. I purchased the Toyota Prius V and sleep easy knowing that this amazing vehicle contains the legendary Toyota quality and that Toyota's respect for its customers will alleviate any concerns if they do arise. Don't buy a Ford hybrid...you will regret it! Are you listening Ford?
      RobbieP
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's got two grilles!
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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