30 to 40% of C-MAX Buyers Choose Energi Version Over Hybrid

APR 27 2015 BY MARK KANE 25

Like The Fusion Energi, The C-Max Energi Also Has A 21 Mile All-Electric Range

Ford C-Max Energi

C-Max is the only Ford available solely as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid without a conventional version in the U.S.

Combining the sales result of both we find that the plug-in version – Energi – has stable share of 30-40% of sales over the past 20 months.

While one might say that this demonstrates the high value of a plug-in option, it likely is more a reflection on how well the non plug-in version has not been received.

In April, cumulative sales of C-Max Energi in US should hit the 20,000 mark.

At the same time, in 30 months, C-MAX hybrid reached 80,000, but sales of the hybrid version are falling compared to one or two years ago.

Ford Fusion Energi sales in US - March 2015

Ford Fusion Energi sales in US – March 2015

Ford Fusion Energi

Ford Fusion Energi

Situation looks much different for Ford Fusion Energi, which only counts for fraction of sales of the Ford Fusion family, which has a popular conventional non-hybrid version.

Fusion Energi share stands at some 2-5%, with peak at 7%.

April 2015 should also bring the 20,000-unit-sold mark for Fusion Energi, while sales of all Fusions stand at over 650,000.

Noteworthy is that the Fusion Hybrid had over 76,000 sales (nearly 12%), and sales between the Hybrid and plug-in hybrid Energi divides in a similar proportion to C-MAX: on average in 26 months 4 hybrids are sold for every 1 plug-in hybrid.

Ford Focus Electric sales in US - March 2015

Ford Focus Electric sales in US – March 2015

2015 Ford Focus Electric

2015 Ford Focus Electric

Third, and the only all-electric offered by Ford, the Focus Electric oscillates around 1% of all Focus sales.

So if the regular C-Max is a disappointment compared to the plug-in version, the opposite is true of the Focus Electric versus its petrol brother.

To date ,over 4,750 Focus Electric were sold in the US.

Ford isn’t doing too much to increase sales of all-electric cars, but who knows, maybe someday that will change.

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25 Comments on "30 to 40% of C-MAX Buyers Choose Energi Version Over Hybrid"

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Regular hybrids are plain stupidity (aside from the minority of new car buyers that don’t have access to an outlet).

But there are several reasons we keep seeing them dwarf plugins in sales:
1. Manufacturers overcharge for plugins to milk rich green buyers
2. The Energi models take away an obscene 5 cubic feet for a mere 6kWh extra battery. 1 cu ft is plenty.
3. Shitty marketing and dealer knowledge.

No update since launch.

Yes, overcharging for the hybrid option only guts Fords sales.

I much prefer plug-ins over hybrids, but your criticism of hybrids is silly and short sighted.

Hybrids significantly reduce average fuel consumption because they take the ICE inefficient peaks and valleys off the energy consumption curve. Their use characteristics are acceptable to Joe Average users who won’t plug in or pay a big battery premium, so the world is far better off if those users buy hybrids than non-hybrids.

Hybrids will make up a significant part of the new car fleet for some time to some.

There shouldn’t be a big premium. After federal tax credit, it should cost LESS to make a plugin than a regular hybrid.

I wonder how many people chose the hybrid over the energy just for the cargo space issue?

I did. The Energy cargo space is just plain ridiculous. That was the deal breaker for me. With 2 toddlers, I couldn’t live with the Energi Cargo space.


I test drove the Fusion recently, but had to pass because of the trunk. It just wouldn’t cut it when packing junk for our young baby.

My brother-in-law is currently looking at the CMax, but the lack of trunk space means he won’t be getting the Energi.

I would personally buy the Energi over the hybrid, but I’ve made much larger sacrifices. The CMax Energi still has the largest cargo volume of any PHEV available in upstate NY.

I’ve owned (well, leased) a C-Max Energi for the past 13 months, and the rear cargo space was a pretty big issue. I was contemplating trading in my GMC Terrain at the time (up to 31 cubic feet of cargo capacity compared to the C-Max’s ~18). I ended up taking the plunge and trading in my Terrain. In order to fill the role as the family hauler, I bought roof rack bars, a roof basket, and a Thule hitch-mount rear cargo box. With the cargo box and roof basket, I actually have more space compared to the Terrain.

While it is not a true SUV, the C-Max Energi is the closest thing to a plug-in SUV at the moment (that doesn’t cost $40k+).

I have to add that the interior space of the C-Max actually seems LARGER than my old Terrain.

Oh, btw, the roof bars/rack and cargo box are not permanently attached to the C-Max. I mount/dismount them according my needs. Right now all I have is a bike rack attached to the rear hitch.

Roof boxes are great for expanding luggage space. That’s how I turned a Honda Insight into my family hauler. With 16 cu ft in the trunk and other 16 in the Thule box, I can hold a good amount of Christmas presents / vacation gear. The best part is for the 50 weeks of the year that I don’t need it, I take it off and the car gets 45MPG.

I’ve been eyeing the CMax Energi and would upgrade today if I wasn’t so averse to taking on two car payments at the same time. I’m hopeful that there will be even better options on the market by 2017 when my Leaf is paid for in full.

Quite a few, I imagine. It’s clear the Energi versions were late production decisions to use cling-on battery packs to meet a marketing requirement rather than engineering them into the vehicle.

The C-Max Energi was to offset the Prius plug-in and the Fusion Energi was to offset the Volt (although in a different class). The product development team stuck a battery in the trunk, declared victory, and went for lunch.

In both cases the result is a terrible conversion compromise. It is baffling why they sell so well at all.

I hope you are wrong, even if I have little reason to believe so. I still hold some hope that behind closed doors, Ford is working on a proper PHEV solution. If so, it will likely come out of nowhere in a few years, and flat-out replace the current Energi options. I’m thinking along the lines of what VW has done with their new platform – build the cars on a single platform that can gracefully absorb any number of powertrains.

Again, just wishful thinking at this point, but I feel like most car makers would see this approach as a good idea.

“The product development team stuck a battery in the trunk, declared victory, and went for lunch.”

Not to be fussy, but based on my experience with large corporation product development, I suspect that what happened was something like a tug-of-war between engineers and designers vs. management. The former wanted to Do It Right, while the latter gave them a budget and time frame so absurdly small that the best the developers could do was what you see in the product line today.

But the bottom line result, as you characterized it — stuff the battery in the trunk and call it done — it exactly right, IMO.

I keep saying here over and over that I can’t wait for Honda and Toyota to have their “Come to Edison Moment” when they develop and announce very serious, competitive EVs. Ford isn’t all that far behind, even though they have multiple cars with plugs in their lineup today.

The car market is going to look worlds different in a few years compared to quaint old 2015. Personally, I can’t wait.

Cargo space is short. That is why I went with the C-max vs the Fusion. The flat folding seats are very helpful as well as the tall roof. I think they sell well because they are both great cars that you can do most, if not all of your urban driving in all EV mode. It is amazing to be able to drive in all EV up to 85 mph. Until there is something better for the price I’ll keep driving my energi.

Ford does a reasonable good job of stocking Energi cars at dealers, but they are incredibly selective about where they send Focus Electrics. Dealers in Arizona don’t get Focus Electric deliveries from Ford even though they are technically one of the markets for the vehicle. They usually have to trade with a Californian dealer in order to get stock.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that BEVs don’t sell well if you don’t stock the car in all of your markets…

60-70% CMax buyers prefer hybrid.

IMHO ford is doing a toe in the water campaign with these plug-ins. They are learning what customers want from these small sales of energi and focus ev sales, user surveys of all makes, etc, but didn’t invest much money. Even the c-max was a european model, much cheaper to produce the hybrid and energi than doing a clean sheet.

Sales do look high enough for ford to invest in doing more of a clean sheet cuv from hybrid and plug-in.

If they bring out a pure bev in 2018 or so, they should be able to apply much lower battery prices from tesla or lg, than the original focus ev.

Absolutely. The whole Ford approach has been to invest as little as possible, then wait ans see if the plug-in electric fad develops.

The Energi conversions were just hybrids with add-on batteries in the trunk, and the Focus was essentially sourced from Magna (problems and all) with very little in-house engineering.

Originally I thought this strategy was clever, but with Ford’s recent public focus exclusively on ICE performance and trucks, their commitment to electrification remains to be seen. Either they have a secret in-house Bolt matching project well underway (there have been rumours), or they are simply going to miss the electrification boat.

The Fussion Energi’s trunk isn’t that bad. I have taken several vacations with a family of 5 in ours. You just pack a lit if duffle bags to save space and plan on washing clothes at some point on a week long trip. Very nice car. Sure, they can hopefully make a better place for the battery next time but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker for most people.

The C-Max cargo area isn’t that bad either, if you look at it logically. But it’s all about first impressions. When you open the trunk there is this initial “wow” when you see how much room the battery pack takes up. My wife immediately said “nope” when she saw the c-max. But after I told her it had more cargo area than our Volt, despite the battery pack, she gave it another test drive. We were going to buy one but eventually found a better deal on another Volt.

Regardless, Ford has probably lost many customers of the Energi cars because of their first impressions of the cargo area. If they re-engineer these cars to put the battery under the car, they will sell a lot better. Plus they’ll probably have room for a larger capacity battery pack.

Agree. Our 2013 C-Max Energi has performed brilliantly; of course it would be better if the original chassis had been designed to have a plug-in option. One can get quite a bit in the Energi boot as is however. It is quite a tall car.

Unfortunately C-Max sales dropped 22 percent last year along with lower sales of the Focus so Ford just laid off 700 employees and dropped the 3rd shift at the Michigan plant that produces the C-Max and Focus.

I haven’t heard if they have a plan long term to deal with this as I don’t think they have a second generation of C-Max in the works or a more desirable EV in the works to compete directly with the new generation of 200 mileish EVS on the horizon.

One of the reasons the Focus and Fiesta sales are off in North America is because Ford implemented a truly HORRIBLE double clutch automatic in the North America models. There is a long line up of unhappy customers at every Ford dealer and at least 3 secret warranties are in progress.

Only Ford’s Detroit team could take world class market leading top selling B and C segment cars and destroy them for the North American market. But truck sales are up!

One reason for the increased sales of the C-Max Energi is the attractive lease rate. The net mostly for the Hybrid is $338/mo while the Energi model is $283/mo. This includes down payments.

Ford’s new hybrid vehicle should launch for MY2017, so expect C-Max to be a Europe only offering. 2016 model is not getting the refresh offered for Europe for 2015.

There will be a new hybrid drivetrain, and expecting new more powerful battery packs for more EV range also. Volt offers 50 EV miles which sets the benchmark for Ford’s next plug-in vehicles.