We've already told you about the 2012 Ford C-Max, the Blue Oval's new mini-minivan that's set to launch here in North America later this year. The C-Max story doesn't end with just the one gasoline-powered model, though – Ford is bringing two more versions of its small people mover to the 2011 Detroit Auto Show: the C-Max Energi and C-Max Hybrid.
What's important to note is that while the gasoline C-Max with sliding doors is actually based on the three-row Grand C-Max that Ford sells in other markets, the Hybrid and Energi use conventional front-hinged rear doors and seat five, just like the shorter-wheelbase C-Max available in Europe. The automaker's kinetic design language is in full force here, and the Aston Martin-like grille on these smaller C-Max models resembles what first debuted on Ford's Focus Electric at last week's Consumer Electronics Show.
The C-Max Hybrid uses the Blue Oval's next-generation gasoline/electric powertrain technology, and we're told that fuel economy will be higher than the 41 miles per gallon that's currently on tap in the Fusion Hybrid sedan. By building upon the powersplit technology currently used in the automaker's hybrids, Ford says that the C-Max Hybrid will be able to operate in electric mode at speeds higher than 47 miles per hour.
The big story here, however, is the C-Max Energi, which is essentially a range-extended plug-in hybrid that's not completely unlike the Chevrolet Volt. Ford is targeting an overall driving range of more than 500 miles using both the battery-backed motor and Atkinson-cycle engine, and much like the Focus Electric, the automaker's new MyFord Mobile software will allow users to monitor the C-Max Energi's charging state while on the go.
Both the C-Max Hybrid and Energi will be built alongside the standard C-Max at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant starting in 2012, with European models being built in Valencia, Spain starting in 2013. Follow the jump for the full details in Ford's press release, and check out each version of the new C-Max in our high-res galleries below.
• Ford will launch C-MAX Energi, its first-ever production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and C-MAX Hybrid, a full hybrid variant, in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013
• Both versions of the five-passenger multi-activity vehicle will leverage the company's global C-car platform, critically acclaimed powersplit hybrid architecture, next-generation driver information features and advanced, lighter and smaller lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems
• C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better miles per gallon than Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient sedan in America
• C-MAX Energi targets more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of driving range using the battery and engine, more than any other plug-in or extended-range vehicle. It also targets AT-PZEV status and delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than Chevrolet Volt
DETROIT, Jan. 10, 2011 – Ford today revealed two next-generation hybrid vehicles – including its first production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle – at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, bringing consumers more choice, versatility and style for high-mileage family-friendly vehicles.
Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid are based on the new Ford C-MAX five-passenger multi-activity vehicle, and each will offer high mileage and low emissions as well as distinctive body design and a flexible interior. The plug-in hybrid and third-generation full hybrid leverage Ford's global C-car platform, acclaimed powersplit architecture, next-generation driver information features and advanced lithium-ion battery systems.
"C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid will be perfect for families looking to maximize their hybrid car experience," said Nancy Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification. "Thanks to the versatile interior, these cars are going to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers who need room to grow."
C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better fuel economy than the 41 mpg Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient sedan in America today. It builds on the success of the critically acclaimed powersplit architecture Ford uses in its current hybrids, allowing it to operate in fuel-saving electric mode beyond 47 mph.
Both the C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid models will be built alongside the all-new 2012 Ford Focus and Focus Electric at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. The plant's production is powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state. The C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid vehicles sold in Europe in 2013 will be built at Ford's plant in Valencia, Spain, starting in 2013.
The plug-in advantage
Targeted to achieve AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) status, C-MAX Energi provides maximum fuel efficiency by pairing a high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric traction motor with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine. This allows it to run in electric mode before using the gasoline engine.
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.
In general, plug-in hybrid vehicles offer several benefits, including:
• Electric driving range, perfect for emissions-free and silent city driving
• Potential consumer savings on energy and fuel costs thanks to improved fuel efficiency over a standard hybrid
• Reduced dependency on petroleum and increased energy independence
• Reduced environmental impact through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
• Increased use of electricity from renewable energy sources (e.g. wind and solar), where available, for vehicle recharging
"A plug-in hybrid owner may make fewer trips to the pump to refuel because of its all-electric mode capability," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford vice president of Global Product Development. "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."
The development of Ford's first-ever production plug-in hybrid leverages more than 200,000 miles of road testing conducted in collaboration with a coalition of 10 utility companies, the U.S. Department of Energy, the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration and the Electric Power Research Institute.
Getting charged up
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid will use advanced lithium-ion battery systems developed and assembled in-house by Ford in Michigan. Each system is smartly designed to maximize use of common, high-quality components, such as control board hardware that has proven field performance in Ford's current, critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles.
Li-ion battery packs offer a number of advantages over the nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries that power today's hybrid vehicles. In general, they are 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter, which makes them easier to package in a vehicle, and can be tuned to increase power to boost acceleration or to increase energy to extend driving distance.
While C-MAX Hybrid will operate much like today's hybrid vehicles, C-MAX Energi will benefit from daily charging to maximize its all-electric range. Thanks to the efficiencies of its right-sized battery system, the plug-in hybrid easily recharges 100 percent overnight on a 120-volt outlet.
A full charge in C MAX Energi allows owners to increase their driving significantly in all-electric mode and drastically reduce their use of the on-board fuel engine.
On start-up, C-MAX Energi will operate in charge-depletion mode, providing electric driving range. When the battery has been depleted or certain conditions are met, it switches to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency.
Ford worked with a supplier to provide an industry-standard five-point plug for C-MAX Energi (and new Focus Electric) that is ergonomically comfortable to hold as well as durably and distinctively designed. The plug handle uses a matte-finished black rubber for a comfortable, non-slip grip and the plug head is shielded with a glossy white hard plastic to protect the electronics. The Ford Blue Oval trademark helps make the device immediately recognizable.
When the cord set connector is plugged into the vehicle's charge port, which is located conveniently between the driver's door and front wheel well, it activates a light ring that loops around the port twice in acknowledgement of connectivity. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the vehicle charges. Flashing quadrants represent charge in progress and solid-lit quadrants show stages of charge completion. When the entire ring is solidly lit, the vehicle is fully charged.
C-MAX Energi owners will have access to a suite of driver information systems – on-board and off-board – designed to help them manage the recharge process, manage the most eco-friendly route on-board, remotely control their vehicle's charge and preconditioning settings, monitor battery state of charge and maximize energy efficiency to extend use of electric mode. C-MAX Hybrid owners also will benefit from the on-board features.
Among these tools is a unique execution of MyFord Touch™ driver connect technology, especially for electrified driving. It offers exceptional configurability of vehicle information, including fuel level, battery power level, and average and instant miles per gallon.
The cluster's new MyView feature allows drivers to access even more vehicle data such as the electrical demands of vehicle accessories, including air conditioning, which influences fuel economy and the electric driving range of the C-MAX Energi.
The Brake Coach feature helps to educate drivers to optimize their use of the regenerative brakes to recapture kinetic energy and send it back to the battery, also reducing wear on the brakes.
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.
New MyFord Mobile
Off-board, C-MAX Energi owners in North America can maintain constant contact with the car anywhere they have mobile phone or web access using the Ford-developed MyFord Mobile.
MyFord Mobile enables access to a secure Ford website and smartphone/feature phone app to get instant vehicle status information, perform key functions remotely, monitor the car's state of charge and current range, get various alerts including when the vehicle requires charging, remotely program charge settings and download vehicle data for analysis.
The feature also allows the owner to program the vehicle to use electricity from the grid to heat or cool the battery and cabin while plugged in. For example, during hot summer months, owners can preprogram the car the evening before to be fully charged – and fully cooled to a particular temperature – by a certain time the following morning. Users can also locate the vehicle with GPS, remotely start the vehicle, and remotely lock and unlock the car doors.
Working with MapQuest®, MyFord Mobile can communicate charge station and other points of interest to C-MAX Energi using SYNC's Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI) service. Turn-by-turn guidance is provided by the in-car map-based Navigation System. Drivers can also get up-to-date charging station information in their vehicle directly through SYNC TDI simply by connecting to SYNC Services.
Value charging, powered by Microsoft
Using the value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, C-MAX Energi owners in North America will be able to optimize their home's energy use and vehicle recharging practices. Value charging allows Ford customers to reduce their electricity costs by taking advantage of off-peak or reduced rates from their utility without a complicated set-up process.
"Although C-MAX Energi owners won't have to plug in, by doing so they'll get the benefits of driving in electric mode for longer distances; that can mean fewer trips to the gas station and less emissions when driving," said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford's hybrid and electric programs. "That's why we'll be providing C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid owners with a user-friendly interface and tools like value charging that will help them get the most out of the vehicle's electric mode capability."
Proven powersplit technology
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid build on the success of the critically acclaimed powersplit architecture Ford uses in its current hybrids, including the Ford Fusion Hybrid, winner of the 2010 MOTOR TREND Car of the Year® award.
In a powersplit hybrid, the electric motor and gasoline-powered engine can work together or separately to maximize 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.
While this system enables the current Fusion Hybrid to operate in fuel-saving electric mode up to 47 mph, Ford is targeting higher electric operating speeds for C-MAX Hybrid and even more capability for C-MAX Energi, which will have the advantage of additional battery power.
Ford's global C-car strategy
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid are two of at least 10 new models or derivatives that Ford will launch around the world based on its new global C-car platform – Ford's first truly global One Ford platform.
Ford's new generation of C-segment vehicles will be sold in more than 120 markets and will account for more than 2 million units annually. The C-segment accounts for one in four cars sold worldwide today and, in conjunction with the B-segment, is expected to rise to 50 percent of all cars sold globally by 2013.
The all-new C-MAX lineup also introduces a number of advanced new technologies to the compact multi-activity vehicle class. More often found only on larger or more premium cars, these technologies are focused on enhanced comfort, safety and sustainability, including the availability of new and powerful, yet highly fuel-efficient, low-CO2 Ford EcoBoost™ gas engines.
The previous European C-MAX established a reputation for providing a balance of enjoyable driving dynamics and impressive comfort. The all-new model is set to take that performance to a new level, giving drivers a class-leading combination of responsive, sporty handling and overall refinement approaching the standards usually associated with larger, luxury vehicles.
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid are two of five electrified vehicles that Ford will bring to the North American market during the next two years. In addition, the Ford Transit Connect Electric small commercial van, built in collaboration with Azure Dynamics, began initial production at the end of 2010, and Focus Electric will launch in late 2011. A second next-generation hybrid electric vehicle will be announced later and available in North America and Europe in 2012.