Boosting its electric vehicles development plan, Ford revealed a pair of green C-Max models at 2011 NAIAS. The Ford C-Max Energi, their first-ever production plug-in hybrid electric, and the C-Max Hybrid, a full hybrid variant of the MPV, will be launched in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.
Both these cars are based on the new Ford C-MAX five-passenger multi-activity vehicle which means they offer the same practicality and drivability, with the added bonus being high mileage and low emissions. To be distinguished form normal models, the green C-Max features distinctive styling with a revised face and flexible interior.
But where these cars really shine is the fuel economy. C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better fuel economy than the 41 mpg Ford Fusion Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient sedan in America today. It builds on the success of the critically acclaimed powersplit architecture Ford uses in its current hybrids, allowing it to operate in fuel-saving electric mode beyond 47 mph.
The other model, C-MAX Energi, will offer more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) of overall driving range using the battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle. C-MAX Energi delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than Chevrolet Volt.
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid will use advanced lithium-ion battery systems developed and assembled in-house by Ford in Michigan. The cars themselves will be built alongside the all-new 2012 Ford Focus and Focus Electric at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne as well.
Ford Plug-in Hybrid technology highlights:
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. C-MAX Hybrid owners also will benefit from the on-board features.
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.
Long-term fuel efficiency can be displayed in two ways – either as a traditional chart or using an innovative display that shows a growing leafy vine on the right side of the cluster. The more efficient a customer is, the more lush and beautiful the leaves and vines become, creating a unique visual reward for the driver’s efforts.
To reinforce the message, at the end of each trip a display screen provides distance driven, miles gained through regenerative braking, fuel consumed (average and total) and a regenerative braking score.
New MyFord Mobile
Off-board, C-MAX Energi owners in North America can maintain constant contact 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.
Value charging, powered by Microsoft
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.
“Although C-MAX Energi owners won’t have to plug in, by doing so they’ll get the benefits of driving in electric mode for longer distances; that can mean fewer trips to the gas station and less emissions when driving,” said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford’s hybrid and electric programs. “That’s why we’ll be providing C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid owners with a user-friendly interface and tools like value charging that will help them get the most out of the vehicle’s electric mode capability.”
Proven powersplit technology
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid build on the success of the critically acclaimed powersplit architecture Ford uses in its current hybrids, including the Ford Fusion Hybrid, winner of the 2010 MOTOR TREND Car of the Year® award.
In a powersplit hybrid, the electric motor and gasoline-powered engine can work together or separately to maximize efficiency. The engine also can operate independently of vehicle speed, charging the batteries or providing power to the wheels as needed. The motor alone can provide sufficient power to the wheels in low-speed, low-load conditions, and work with the engine at higher speeds.
While this system enables the current Fusion Hybrid to operate in fuel-saving electric mode up to 47 mph, Ford is targeting higher electric operating speeds for C-MAX Hybrid and even more capability for C-MAX Energi, which will have the advantage of additional battery power.
Ford’s global C-car strategy
C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid are two of at least 10 new models or derivatives 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, is expected to rise to 50 percent of all cars sold globally by 2013.
The all-new C-MAX lineup also introduces a number of advanced new technologies to the compact multi-activity vehicle class. More often found only on larger or more premium cars, these technologies are focused on enhanced comfort, safety and sustainability, including the availability of new and powerful, yet highly fuel-efficient, low-CO2 Ford EcoBoost™ gas engines.
The previous European C-MAX established a reputation for providing a balance of enjoyable driving dynamics and impressive comfort. The all-new model is set to take that performance to a new level, giving drivers a class-leading combination of responsive, sporty handling and overall refinement approaching the standards usually associated with larger, luxury vehicles.
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, built in collaboration with Azure Dynamics, began initial production at the end of 2010, and Focus Electric will launch in late 2011. A second next-generation hybrid electric vehicle will be announced later and available in North America and Europe in 2012.