The Ford C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid
Ford’s C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi Plug-in hybrid
When it comes to the next few decades of the auto industry, one thing is quite clear. No one powertrain is going to dominate the auto industry, especially in terms of the ICE alternative space, and Ford seems to clearly understand this reality.
Consequently, Ford’s new C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi Plug-in hybrid help fill in the missing pieces of Ford’s battery powered playbook.
Not long ago Ford announced that the Focus would soon come in gas, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric versions, but many details were still limited. Nonetheless, these Focus powertrain options indicate that diversity will be the key to Ford’s battery-powered game. And aside from giving consumers choices, such diversity Ford believes, will also be the key to profitability.
Ultimately, the success of Ford’s conventional gasoline-powered Focus will help Ford’s battery-powered Focus vehicles also achieve profitability, and the same holds true for the 2013 C-Max hybrids which will hit dealerships in 2012. Basically, world platforms coupled with powertrain diversity define Ford’s future.
Nonetheless, there will still be some variety amongst some of these platforms. For instance, while the gasoline powered C-Max will be a three-rowed, seven passenger vehicle, the C-Max hybrids will be smaller, two-rowed 5 passenger vehicles. However, considering all options will be built on the same platform and production lines, future options seem on the table.
But let’s get back to the hybrids.
Both new hybrids will utilize new lithium-ion battery packs. In the C-Max the new battery coupled with some reworked Fusion hybrid technology will result in a hybrid package that will offer greater fuel economy than the Fusion hybrid’s 41/36 mpg, city/highway fuel economy. Likewise, the new battery pack will also enable the C-Max hybrid to stay in EV mode at higher speeds than the Fusion hybrid as well.
Will the C-Max hybrid challenge Toyota Prius fuel economy? I sure hope so, but we’ll have to wait for final numbers. Of course, by 2013 the Prius will also reportedly shift to lithium as well. So Prius fuel economy could increase. How’s that for some hybrid competition?
On the other hand, the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid – Ford’s first production plug-in hybrid – will also use a lithium-ion battery pack that could possibly decrease charging times compared to other plug-in vehicles now hitting dealerships, although Ford is providing scant details thus far. Regardless, the C-Max Energi appears to be a conventional plug-in hybrid, not a range extended hybrid like the Chevy Volt. Additionally, thanks to a combination of Focus EV and Fusion hybrid technologies, the Ford C-Max Energi is expected to offer about 500 miles of total range – EV and gas combined – or 150 miles more than the Volt.
Like the Volt, however, the C-Max Energi will start off using just electric power, but as the battery pack depletes, the Energi plug-in hybrid will begin to act more like a Fusion hybrid – similar to the way a plug-in Prius acts like a Prius once EV range is depleted. Unfortunately, Ford has not released any details regarding EV range, but comments by Alan Mulally seem to suggest the battery pack will offer similar EV range as the Volt.
Inside, the C-Max hybrids will use roughly the same instrument cluster as the Fusion hybrid, including MyFord Touch with MyView, Brake Coach and the all the latest MyFord Mobile smart phone applications.
Ultimately, pretty interesting battery revelations from Ford. World platforms as the key to scaling the higher costs of hybrid and plug-in technologies.
C-Maxing Ford’s battery-powered solutions
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