Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid ready to roll

Ford is prepping its C-Max Energiplug-in hybrid for a fall roll out and recently divulged some additional details about the long-awaited vehicle.

These items, which include pricing and projected range of the car, suggest the C-Max Energimay very well be a serious contender against the Toyota Prius, though one might be able to say the same of Ford’s regular C-Max Hybrid as well.

The C-Max Energi, which first debuted in the United States at the 2011 Detroit auto show, is projected by Ford to offer a range of 550 miles total and have a a 95 mpg equivalent (MPGe) rating. It will have a starting price of $33,745 which, after an associated federal tax credit, drops down to just below $30,000.

The car is capable of, according to Ford, a projected total system horsepower of 188 that reaches a peak of 195 with a fully charged battery and stems from the combination of a gasoline engine and a battery-driven electric motor. The gas motor is described as a new Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder, said to be more fuel efficient and among the more advanced non-turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains Ford has built.

In terms of its electric only mode capabilities, which the driver can enter via the touch of a button, Ford says the C-Max Energi offers drivers a total EV range of 20 miles. The car makes use of lithium-ion batteries to power the electric motor, and these batteries, depending upon their recharging power source, can be “topped off” in around two and a half hours. It is also equipped with regenerative braking to help slightly extend possible range.

Ford’s newest green car is built upon the company’s rather universal C-Max platform, which has been a popular seller in Europe over the last few years. From an evolutionary state it’s been interesting to watch them roll out vehicles under this offering, sticking pretty close to plans unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show back in 2010.

This being said, the folks at Ford take time to try and point out the “Made in America” moniker under which elements of this vehicle’s development have occurred. They say, for example, that their “revamped Michigan Assembly Plant is the first facility in the world capable of building a full array of vehicles – gas-powered, electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid – all on the same production line.”

One of the more interesting features of the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid from a technology perspective is a suite of driver information systems – on-board and off-board – designed to help one manage the recharge process, manage the most eco-friendly route on-board, remotely control their vehicle’s charge and preconditioning settings, monitor battery state of charge and maximize energy efficiency to extend use of electric mode. These include mobile phone or web access using the Ford-developed MyFord Mobile.

Other features of note for this car include a hands-free liftgate, active park assist for easier parallel parking, push button start, HD radio technology, rain sensing wipers and five passenger seating. More cargo space can be found in the vehicle as well via fold flat second row seats.

The 2013 C-Max Energi joins a stable of other Ford green cars either already on the roads or in development. These include the Focus Electric, C-Max Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.

Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling