Ford takes hybrids to the Max
The road of the crossover took a different fork when Ford announced its new 2013 Escape would not have a hybrid model and, further, that the 2013 C-Max would not be available in seven-seat, twin-sliding-side-door configuration (to compete with the Mazda5) and would only be available as hybrid models.
The second generation C-Max was launched in 2010 in Europe and will be available for the first time in North America in the second half of 2012 as Hybrid and Energi (Plug-In Hybrid) models only (no gasoline-only version). Both are built in Wayne, Michigan and will launch in Europe in 2013.
One of the reasons for keeping C-Max to five seating positions is the battery location for both models. Still, even with the physical intrusion, C-Max Hybrid has 694 litres of trunk space, expandable to 1,583 with the split/folding rear seats folded flat. In Energi, the cargo space expands from 544 litres with rear seats in use to 1,229 when they are folded down.
Both models use 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engines working with electric motors in either gasoline or electric modes, or a combination of the two.
Power is stored in lithium-ion batteries that are 25-30% smaller than the metal nickel hydride batteries in Ford’s first generation of hybrids, and they are 50% lighter. Charging the C-Max Energi is done overnight through a 120-volt outlet or more quickly through 240-volt charging station. Ford has not yet released battery sizes and charge times.
Ford has divulged, however, that the Energi model is expected to have an 800 km driving range, which would make it better than the Chevrolet Volt, and attain better fuel economy than the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid. The C-Max Hybrid is expected to have a better fuel economy rating than the Prius V. Not surprisingly, like Prius is to Toyota, C-Max is Ford’s first dedicated hybrid vehicle model-line.
Of course all the usual hybrid gauges and displays are on board, including the next generation of Ford’s SmartGauge with EcoGuide, which helps drivers monitor the interactivity between economy and driving behaviour, such as proper braking to take full advantage of regenerative braking. The Sync display in the Energi model also features a screen for battery state of charge and distance to the nearest charge points. A mobile app allows the user to monitor all functions through a smartphone, as does a computer program.
Active Park Assist, keyless entry and push-button start, HD radio and voice-activated navigation are all on board, as are driver-assist technologies such as Curve Control, which slows the car down if it’s cornering too fast, Torque Vectoring Control and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
Among the notable features is the hands-free liftgate, which opens to the holder of the keyfob-transponder simply by making a kicking motion under the rear bumper. The liftgate also closes with the same motion.
- Trim level: Hybrid; Energi
- Price range: not yet set
- Year/Make/Model: 2013 Ford C-Max
- Options: none.
- Warranty (powertrain): 5 years/ 100,000 km (powertrain); 8 years/ 160,000 km (hybrid components)
- Competitors: Toyota Prius V.
- Warranty (basic): Exp. 3 years/ 60,000 km (basic)