If you used a Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid for its intended purpose—schlepping human freight around—then its inclusion to the carpool lane would be redundant. But, sometimes people just have to get away from everyone else. Maybe it’s time to make that IKEA trip solo, for example. Maybe your spouse just doesn’t understand the merits of antique pinball machines or midcentury pedal cars. Neither us nor Ford shall judge. But those who watch entirely too much Pawn Stars can rest assured that even solo, the C-Max Energi will be allowed to enter carpool lanes under California’s uniquely draconian traffic lawbook.
Along with the Ford Focus Electric, these are the only two Blue Oval products so far that have HOV access. (The Fusion Energi, which will start production later this year, is expected to do the same—seeing as it shares the same drivetrain as the C-Max.) Maryland, New York, and Virginia are some other states that are expected to approve the Energi for carpool access.
In addition, there’s a new tax incentive to get people behind the wheel of a C-Max Energi: California offers a $1,500 state tax rebate for buyers of an Energi, which on top of the $3,750 federal tax credit reduces the base price of the C-Max Energi to $28,495. With a total range of 680 miles and an MPG equivalent of 108 miles combined, the Energi’s $3,000 price over the competing C-Max Hybrid seems paltry in comparison.