At the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January, Ford will pull the wraps off the first vehicles that could legitimately give the all-conquering Toyota Prius a run for its money.
The C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi Plug-in are already both projected to lead their respective classes in fuel economy. The C-MAX Energi is expected to get better fuel economy than the Prius Plug-In—not to mention the Chevrolet Volt—while the C-MAX hybrid is projected to turn in better numbers than Toyota’s Prius v. Both vehicles are slated to go on sale next year and both utilize the Blue Oval’s powersplit technology, which allows higher speeds to be attained while running on electric.
“C-MAX is the right car for the time as it combines the dynamics and quality of a traditional car with the versatility of a [multi active vehicle] and leading fuel efficiency that you cannot even get from Toyota,” said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford’s Electrification Programs and Engineering.
The C-MAX vehicles headline a Ford lineup in which one-third of the vehicles will be capable of achieving 40 mpg or more in 2012. Ford has also implemented a plan to triple an electric vehicle’s range by 2013. The C-MAX lineup is only the first of five total hybrids Ford hopes to add to its lineup in 2012. Both the C-MAX hybrid and Energi Plug-in are set to show up at dealerships in the second half of 2012.
“The C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi are designed to meet the needs of customers looking to ‘plus-up’ and optimize their hybrid car experience,” said Amy Machesney, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi Marketing manager. “These customers are living more environmentally responsible lives and may have bought a hybrid in the past. They are now ready for more hybrid choice, combined with style, better performance and additional versatility.”
The C-MAX lineup contains technology and features that have been two decades in the making. The Blue Oval boys hold about 500 patents in electric, hybrid, and plug-in technology with several more currently pending. Ford has also researched the software and hardware that will be used in the C-MAX for more than 20 years. The C-MAX itself is sold in Europe with a variety of drivetrains, including diesel. based on the Focus compact, Ford has already sold more than 100,000 copies since its introduction into the European market last year.
Ford is claiming that Chevy’s Volt will be no match for the Energi plug-in and its projected 500-mile range. Chevy’s electric vehicle entrant currently possesses a 379 mile range. Owners of the Energi plug-in needs a 120-volt or 240-volt charging station, while the C-MAX hybrid is self-contained. When using gasoline the C-MAX is powered by a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine and electric motors powered by lithium-ion batteries pick up the slack when not running on fuel.
Do you think the C-MAX will catch on like hybrid sedans have in the U.S.? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.