Ford C-Max Energi Has 85 MPH Top Speed, Mentions Prius Plug-In Five Times In Press Release

AUG 7 2012 BY JAY COLE 13

Ford announced (via press release) the all electric top speed (and some other features) of its upcoming C-Max Energi, and it stands at 85 MPH.  And in an uncommon practice amongst automakers, it mentioned one particular competitor a total of FIVE times in that same press release.  That being the 2013 Toyota Prius plug-in.

One of the biggest perceived drawbacks of the plug-in Prius, is that the car kicks out of ‘all electric power’ and into gas/extended range mode when the speedometer hits 62 mph.  This means for most drivers, at least those of us who don’t choose to reside in the right lane, that any highway driving can not be done in electric mode.

Selectable EV Mode Button On Ford C-Max Energi

Ford also highlights the fact that their plug-in hybrid can drive for over 20 miles all electrically, while the Prius can only do so for 6…which is a technicality of sorts by negating the highway portion of the EPA test.  The Prius can actually drive about 11 miles (or more) provided you don’t trip the petrol engine.

The C-Max is priced at $33,745, which not accidentally, makes it just under 30K at $29,995, after federal credits are applied.  The vehicle will be AT-PZEV compliant in California (HOV stickers for everyone!), and will also qualify for an additional $1,500 credit in that state.  The Prius plug-in, has a lower starting MSRP of $32,760, but qualifies for less incentives because of its smaller battery, and actually nets out about $260 more at $30,255 in the end.

Here are the bullet points from Ford on the C-Max:

  • All-new Ford C-MAX Energi delivers the top electric-only speed of any plug-in hybrid – 85 mph – more than 20 mph higher than Toyota Prius plug-in; unique EV mode button allows customers to deliver electric power on-demand
  • C-MAX Energi – Ford’s first plug-in hybrid – also tops Prius plug-in in overall range (550 miles versus 540 miles), more than triple the electric-only range (20-plus miles versus six miles)
  • C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid begins arriving this fall at EV Certified Ford dealers in 19 markets, followed by nationwide rollout in all 50 states in early 2013

C -Max Priced Competitively According To Ford

The C-Max also has 3 EV Modes.  Drivers can opt for electric-only driving without gasoline engine power, normal hybrid mode where the powertrain melds electric and gasoline engine power as appropriate, or a battery-saving mode that reserves the pack power for later use. When plug-in power is available, drivers can change modes with each press of the EV mode button. The mode currently selected is displayed in the driver’s left instrument cluster screen.

  1. EV: Auto
    “In EV: Auto mode, the vehicle automatically takes advantage of plug-in charge,” said Kevin Layden, Ford director of Electrification Programs and Engineering. “When the charge is depleted, C-MAX Energi operates as a full hybrid.”
    The powertrain computer automatically selects the appropriate blend of battery usage and engine usage based on demand and the state of battery charge.
  2. EV: Now
    In EV: Now mode, the vehicle operates in EV mode using plug-in power. The gasoline engine will not operate unless an override setting is selected or certain conditions are present such as the accelerator pedal being fully depressed and the driver enabling the gas engine. EV: Now also activates a special Manage EV screen to monitor functionality.
    To achieve the EV range estimate shown on the corresponding gauge, drivers are given coaching cues to maximize EV mode. Additionally, use of climate power and energy gauges will further help drivers manage vehicle energy use.
  3. EV: Later
    The EV: Later setting saves plug-in power for later use, like transitioning from highway to lower-speed residential neighborhood use. C-MAX Energi operates in normal hybrid mode, using both gas engine and electric motor. Plug-in power is reserved until the driver switches to the EV: Now or EV: Auto setting.

The 95 MPGe, Ford C-Max Energi will be available at Certified Ford dealers in 19 markets (think anywhere you can buy a Ford Focus Electric), followed by nationwide rollout in all 50 states in early 2013.

Ford Media

Categories: Ford, Toyota


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13 Comments on "Ford C-Max Energi Has 85 MPH Top Speed, Mentions Prius Plug-In Five Times In Press Release"

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Looks like Ford is stuck on EV Later mode. Any day now, c’mon, you can do it!

It looks like the direction carmakers are to be taking is away from BEVs and towards extended range plug-in electrics. I think Ford is smart to draw the line between its Energi and the PIP and tout its superior all electric capabilities; it’s also worth noting that such a direct comparison is a signal that serious sales battles loom ahead.

PHEV are a bridge to BEV, when battery technology/costs improve, and charging infrastructure is built out, PHEV will reduce while BEV will grow. Give it time.

I know – I’ve always said EREVs are the bridge to the eventual pure BEV endpoint. But speaking in terms of today and the next several years, pure BEVs are not going to be finding many mainstream buyers. What BEVs are around will have to be riding the coattails of EREVs of various designs for a long while.

What is the mpg in EV Later mode?

47 city/47 highway

The Volt goes 100 mph in all electric mode so Ford is second not first…


I suppose this depends on whether you classify the Volt as a “plug-in hybrid” or an “extended-range EV”. Ford is agreeing with GM that it is the latter, so they can claim superiority in the PHEV category. It’s marketing at its finest.

Thanks for the good article Jay. It seems this car should be able to generate some healthy sales figures in the marketplace, it has an attractive all electric range and great gas mileage; the price is getting there such that a 20 mile commuter with charging at work could save a lot of gas. Should be very interesting to see how it does – good luck to Ford.

Thanks Shawn,

I think it hits the top end of the ‘sweet spot’ at $29,995. There is a lot of high MPGe cars out there to choose from, each with their own niche, but breaking into the 20s is what the plug-in segment really needs to see a lot more of to be mainstraim (at least imo)

I agree with 20 miles range as the low end for PHEV or EREV. Also think 100 miles real word end of warranty range is the minimum for BEV.

The car is far from being aerodynamic. Open wheel wells, rectangular shape, no tapering tail. It has wind-grabbing structures all over it. With an aerodynamic body, it would get 30% better mileage, go faster too. Why won’t car companies build aerodynamic cars? Because public tastes prevent it. Why does the public reject aerodynamic cars? Because car companies don’t build them. Thus, we are going to struggle for what, generations? before we beat the sheet metal into aerodynamic shapes that people want. This is thanks to the “artists” designing our cars instead of scientists.

Sounds like an aftermarket opportunity for someone with your knowledge Bubba. How much range could you add and how many mpg? Aero-foam appliques to hyper mile with.