Ford C-Max Energi Fuel Economy


I received delivery of my 2013 C-Max Energi plugin hybrid ten days ago and have been enjoying it ever since.

Last week I posted my first early experience and compared it to longer term two year experience driving the Chevy Volt.  I offered to take your questions in the comments.

C-Max Energi Already A Top Seller, With 1,259 Units Moved In First Full Month On Sale In November

For the most part people were interested in fuel economy, so I will focus on that.

Recently there has been a lot of press surrounding the the fact the non plugin C-Max got lower mpg in Consumer Reports real world driving than the automaker reported.  Ford claims 47 mpg combined and CR found 37 mpg combined.

Ford claims 43 mpg combined in the plugin C-Max when in battery depleted engine mode.

I have experienced a range of fuel economy in gas mode.  The car is particularly sensitive to driving style, terrain, and climate, more so than other mainstream hybrids like the Prius.

Ford notes this to be the case because the car has 50 more horsepower so has the potential of faster acceleration which can cause steeper drops in economy.  They also claim a 5000-6000 mile break in period is required to get to maximal economy.

In my testing, driving freestyle and including about 75% highway driving, over 20 miles I will generally see fuel economy of about 34 mpg.  In the same drive, I found also I can get above 40 mpg if I am careful and use some mild hypermiling techniques.  This is in below 40 degree temperatures, with headlights on and 72 degree cabin heating.

Ford's 7.6 kWh Lithium Battery Takes Up A Good Bulk Of The Cargo Area In The Rear

Presently my car only has 200 miles on it.

I have found the maximal EV range from a full charged battery is 15 miles.  This includes driving carefully.  I have no doubt that in the warm spring climate the EV range will increase, as will the gas mode fuel economy.

Of interest, I have also noticed the gas engine goes on to condition the battery at 39 degrees or below, even if you set the car to EV now (see photo above).  The gas engine will run for several minutes.

All things considered I am  very satisfied will the vehicle’s fuel economy considering its large crossover design and three seat rear bench.  It also has a wide range of driving capability and a very high degree of sensitivity to driving style, which can be fun to experiment with.  Drivers need to understand their role in fuel economy.


Categories: Ford


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27 Comments on "Ford C-Max Energi Fuel Economy"

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Lyle, it is really nice to read about your experience! Keep informing us about it!

thanks, will do

Good report Lyle. That does clear things up a bit. Your cold temps probably explain some of the differences and you should see improvement this spring. Glad you are enjoying your new Cmax. Personally speaking though I’m way more enthused about the ELR or better yet a Volt SS.

Thanks for sharing, Lyle.

I was wondering, what kind of CS mileage were you getting with your Volt under similar driving (i.e. winter temps, same mix of city/highway, and similar acceleration style)? I know the C-Max is rated higher than the Volt, but is this what you have experienced? Although this is only one data point, it is interesting to me because it’s the same driver (and one who is in tune with his own role in fuel economy, to paraphrase).

It seems this car is much more about using gas, than you would expect from a plug in. Shorter range in EV will cause more gas use. Acceleration will cause gas use. High speeds will cause gas use. And now temps in the 30’s will cause gas use.

It will be interesting to find out the average time between fill-ups in the Energi’s. (what size are the tanks?)

Does the Energi have a way of capturing historical data like MyVolt app, Volt DC app, or

“Acceleration will cause gas use. High speeds will cause gas use.”

I didn’t read that in Lyle’s report. What Lyle is saying is that high acceleration & speed will cause lower CS MPG.

the first 3 things are my statements about the car, and the 4th thing was something new I learned from Lyle’s article. I wonder if it has to do with the fact they used air-cooling.

Are you claiming that gas engine will come on when accelerating or going at high speeds ? That is not correct for Energi in all modes.

So what’s the deal EV can you lock this drivetrain in pure EV when you flog what little electric motor it has?? …and if you floor it in this pure EV mode does it go as high in MPH as Ford says??

just askin’

EV Now mode practically guarantees you stay in electric mode up to 85 mph (short of touching the floor with the ‘gas’ pedal).

Should also note, the speed-o-meter looks to overestimate your actual speed by about 4%, so 85 mpg is really 82-ish.

Only in BEVs you get pure EV mode all the time.

Just think of the Energi as a Prius plug-in with more capacity in every direction (except perhaps trunk space!!!).

Pretty much what I was thinking. They are using the same basic design as a plug in Prius, only with a bigger battery. I will say that I think the 7.6 Kwh battery should be the bare minimum any plug-in vehicle should have. The Prius Plug-in’s battery is simply too small to be of any real value.

There is a MyFord app which isnt working for Energis yet. Car keeps lifetime MPG on the dash like Volt.

There is definitely more gas use than in the Volt, but less than in a non plugin hybrid. Every different vehicle has its tradeoffs. The Volt uses less gas because the battery is bigger, its just that I needed a fifth seat.

After engine warm-up, etc, how easy is it to stay gas free?

If you choose EV mode it will stay gas free until the battery becomes depleted (about 15 miles now and 20 miles in the Spring)

Thanks for the update, Lyle!

A non-MPG question: From your personal perception, which car is quieter? The Volt or your C-Max?

about the same

Hi Lyle,

Thanks for the updates on your experiences and more importantly, everything you have contributed to EV adoption. I love my 2012 Volt!

It is clear that you switched from the Volt to the Energi due to the 5th seat, but I do not recall your take on its usability. Just wondering as I’ve been in the back seat of some 5 seat cars that REALLY should have been classified as a 4 seater, unless everyone back there is under 70lbs.

Thanks and Happy Holidays!

I have three small thin kids, so the back seat is just fine for us!

Wondering if you considered a plug-in prius (PiP)? We also need a 5-seater (due to kids) and right now are debating between Energi and PiP. We live in a city with a short urban commute to work (5 miles each way) and would be able to charge the car at work as well. However, we’re also planning road trips and camping trips within 200-300 miles range. We test drove a non-plug in C-Max SEL last week (Energi hasn’t arrived yet where we live) and a PiP. We definitely prefer the C-Max interior and driving but per Consumer Reports the mileage is much worse than Prius (C-Max rated at 35 city, 38 highway and Prius at 32 city and 55 highway). The city mpg is comprable on both but the huge difference in highway is hard to ignore. So now we’re torn between the two. Any thoughts/suggestions?

The PiP has only 1/3 of the battery only range that the C-MaxE has, but I agree the gas mode fuel economy is about 8 mpg better in the PiP. So it all depends on the length of your drives You wont manage a 10 mile daily commute gas free in the PiP, you will in the C-MaxE.

I like the Ford better from size, interior, design and drivability standpoints.

Ford comes out less after larger tax credit too.

Just a minor correction.. If the trip is low acceleration, e.g. all city, then the PiP can do 10 or so Mlles (more in summer). The All Electric Range on the PiP is only 6 miles because of where the “EPA” has high-acceleration. A test drive can answer if one’s driving is compatible with decent EV range in a PiP.

Of course, fuel economy is only one dimension in a decision.

It seems based on your 10 mile round trip daily comment, the C-Max Energi would allow you to do it all electric, along with daily errands. I would use my daily commute as the deciding factor, and not occasional road trips that may or not happen.

So, can we make a conclusion that the new Ford hybrids are better than the previous generation? I consistently get 38-40 mpg in my 2010 Fusion Hybrid. I don’t want to upgrade to a plugin for a minor bump, even though plugin helps a lot. I want to know what I could get consistently in hybrid mode compared to the older models.

Understanding that Ford has already states that driving in temp near for can cost 5mpg. Also driving before 6k mile breaking can cost up to 5mpg. Along with the EPA stating that driving from 65-75 mpg can cost 7mpg no matter what car you drive.

So the 34mpg to 40mpg is actually closer to 44mpg to 50mpg.

How about providing an update article on the C-Max Energi, driving it for it’s intended purpose. Daily commutes around 10 – 20 miles.

While I could not pull off a 10 mile RT in my PIP in the dead of winter as the temperatue improves my range is increasing. With the temperatures in the mid to low 40s I have no problem going 10 to 11 miles in EV only.

At 1700 miles my fuel efficiency is 120.4 MGP. My commute is 8 miles RT and I can charge at work. Only one long trip back in October I averaged 63 MPG.