By John Addison (1/11/11)
We finally have great fuel economy in roomy 5-seat crossovers with the new Ford C-MAX Hybrid and the breakthrough C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid. Both are on display at 2011 North American International Auto Show, bringing consumers more choice, versatility and style for high-mileage family-friendly vehicles.
Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid are based on the new Ford C-MAX five-passenger multi-activity vehicle, and each will offer high mileage and low emissions as well as distinctive body design and a flexible interior. The plug-in hybrid and third-generation full hybrid leverage Ford’s global C-car platform, acclaimed powersplit architecture, next-generation driver information features and advanced lithium-ion battery systems.
C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better fuel economy than the Ford Fusion Hybrid’s 39 mpg combined, but probably less than the Prius. Both the C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid models will be built alongside the all-new 2012 Ford Focus and Focus Electric at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. The plant’s production is powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state.
Plug-in Hybrid for the Entire Family
C-MAX Energi will offer more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of overall driving range using the lithium battery, electric motor, and gasoline engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle. C-MAX Energi delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than Chevrolet Volt. With its comfortable crossover design and potential lower price, the C-MAX Energi is likely to compete well with plugin hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt. The C-MAX Energi is likely to offer more range than the Toyota Prius Plug-in. Ford has yet to release specifications for the new C-MAX cars. The Energi is likely to have more energy storage than the Prius Plug-ins 5 kWh, but less than the $40,000 Volt with 16 kWh. 2011 Electric Cars Comparison
Plug-in hybrid cars offer these benefits:
- Electric driving range, perfect for emissions-free and silent city driving
- Save more on gas than any hybrid
- Reduced dependency on petroleum
- Increased energy independence
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Increased use of electricity from renewable energy sources (e.g. wind and solar), where available, for vehicle recharging
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid will use advanced lithium-ion battery systems developed and assembled in-house by Ford in Michigan. Each system is smartly designed to maximize use of common, high-quality components, such as control board hardware that has proven field performance in Ford’s current, critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles.
Li-ion battery packs offer a number of advantages over the nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries that power today’s hybrid vehicles. In general, they are 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter, which makes them easier to package in a vehicle, and can be tuned to increase power to boost acceleration or to increase energy to extend driving distance.
While C-MAX Hybrid will operate much like today’s hybrid vehicles, C-MAX Energi will benefit from daily charging to maximize its all-electric range. Thanks to the efficiencies of its right-sized battery system, the plug-in hybrid easily recharges 100 percent overnight on a 120-volt outlet.
Ford is using an industry-standard J1772 plug for C-MAX Energi (and new Focus Electric) that is ergonomically comfortable to hold as well as durably and distinctively designed. When the cord set connector is plugged into the vehicle’s charge port it activates a light ring that loops around the port twice in acknowledgement of connectivity. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the vehicle charges. Flashing quadrants represent charge in progress and solid-lit quadrants show stages of charge completion. When the entire ring is solidly lit, the vehicle is fully charged.
Smart Dash and Smart Apps
C-MAX Energi owners will have access to a suite of driver information systems – on-board and off-board – designed to help them 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.
Among these tools is a unique execution of MyFord Touch™ driver connect technology, especially for electrified driving. It offers exceptional configurability of vehicle information, including fuel level, battery power level, and average and instant miles per gallon.
The cluster’s new MyView feature allows drivers to access even more vehicle data such as the electrical demands of vehicle accessories, including air conditioning, which influences fuel economy and the electric driving range of the C-MAX Energi. The Brake Coach feature helps to educate drivers to optimize their use of the regenerative brakes to recapture kinetic energy and send it back to the battery, also reducing wear on the brakes.
Off-board, C-MAX Energi owners in North America can maintain constant with the car anywhere they have mobile phone or web access using the Ford-developed MyFord Mobile. MyFord Mobile enables access to a secure Ford website and smartphone/feature phone app to get instant vehicle status information, perform key functions remotely, monitor the car’s state of charge and current range, get various alerts including when the vehicle requires charging, remotely program charge settings and download vehicle data for analysis.
The feature also allows the owner to program the vehicle to use electricity from the grid to heat or cool the battery and cabin while plugged in. For example, during hot summer months, owners can preprogram the car the evening before to be fully charged – and fully cooled to a particular temperature – by a certain time the following morning. Users can also locate the vehicle with GPS, remotely start the vehicle, and remotely lock and unlock the car doors.
Working with MapQuest®, MyFord Mobile can communicate charge station and other points of interest to C-MAX Energi using SYNC’s Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI) service. Turn-by-turn guidance is provided by the in-car map-based Navigation System. Drivers can also get up-to-date charging station information in their vehicle directly through SYNC TDI simply by connecting to SYNC Services.
Using the value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, C-MAX Energi owners in North America will be able to optimize their home’s energy use and vehicle recharging practices. Value charging allows Ford customers to reduce their electricity costs by taking advantage of off-peak or reduced rates from their utility without a complicated set-up process.
Ford’s Global C-car Strategy
Ford announces the new C-MAX Hybrid as Toyota expands its family of best selling Prius Hybrids to include a larger 5-seat Prius with more cargo. The expanding line of Ford and Lincoln hybrids are in a growing market share battle with the expanded hybrid line from Toyota and Lexus. Ford will be the first to offer lithium batteries in all hybrids.
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid are two of 10 to 14 new models that Ford will launch around the world based on its new global C-car platform – Ford’s first truly global One Ford platform. Ford’s new generation of C-segment vehicles will be sold in more than 120 markets and will account for more than 2 million units annually. The C-segment accounts for one in four cars sold worldwide today and, in conjunction with the B-segment, Ford expects it to rise to 50 percent of all cars sold globally by 2013.
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid are two of five electrified vehicles that Ford will bring to the North American market during the next two years. In addition, the Ford Transit Connect Electric small commercial van is being purchased in volume by delivery fleets, and the Focus Electric will launch in late 2011. A second next-generation hybrid-electric vehicle will be announced later in 2012 as Ford competes for electric car and hybrid car leadership.