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Ford C-Max Energi Tops Prius Plug-In for Fuel Efficiency

Ford C-Max Energi

For a number of years, Toyota’s Prius has been the nation’s best-selling, most feature-packed hybrid vehicle. It’s the hybrid that’s been the most efficient product on the market. This is no longer the case. The 2013 C-Max Energi, from Ford, has just taken over the title of most “fuel-efficient” Hybrid on the market.


A Word on How the EPA Efficiency Ratings for Hybrids Work

Most of us are well aware that the EPA gives fuel economy ratings to gasoline-powered vehicles and these ratings are in Miles Per Gallon. But how do they rate a vehicle that has an electric motor that’s backed up by a gasoline motor? They use a metric that is known as Mile Per Gallon Equivalent, or Gasoline Equivalent.

 Here’s how they do it. The EPA has a formula that has 33.7 kilowatt-hours of electricity being the equivalent of one gallon of gasoline. The batteries are repeatedly charged and discharged completely, with the total output being tested and determined. They then put the vehicle through five standard drive cycle tests to determine the average fuel economy. The drive tests represent a variety of driving conditions.


How the Prius Plug-In and the C-Max Energi Compare

As stated above, Toyota’s Prius has been the most efficient hybrid since it was introduced. For 2013, the Prius Plug-In Hybrid has attained a 95 MPGE rating. That’s pretty darn good, but the Ford C-Max Energi for 2013 delivered an amazing 100 MPGE in EPA testing.

For those that like to go fast over somewhat short distances, the C-Max’s Lithium-Ion battery pack will power the car along at up to 85 miles per hour for a distance of 20 miles. It’s got a 141 horsepower 2.0-liter engine for use when the batteries run flat and for relatively long-haul driving. According to Ford, this will translate into an effective range of 550 miles with a full tank of gas and a completely charged battery. Ford also says that the C-Max Energi will actually return an MPGE in the city of 108 miles.

In pricing, the two vehicles are close, with the Prius Plug-In Hybrid showing a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $32,000 and the C-Max Energi being priced at $33,745 (after destination fees are added). Both vehicles will qualify for the government’s $3750 tax credit, though getting you below the $30k mark.


A Little More About the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi 

The gasoline powertrain in the C-Max Energi employs an Atkinson-cycle engine to provide the best fuel efficiency possible. In order to provide the lowest possible price to the consumer, Ford developed the lithium-ion power pack in-house.

Ford has also developed a special version of their MyFord Touch driver-connect system that’s specially engineered for the needs of the rechargeable powertrain. Ford’s also developed an app they’re calling MyFord Mobile, which is going to let owners monitor the state of charge, current range, and figure out the most efficient way to recharge the battery pack.  Ed Pleet, the manager of the MyFord Mobile app says. “We want customer to be able to take advantage of utility pricing.” Ford has partnered with Microsoft again for this. Microsoft will supply energy pricing data from 3000 utilities to Ford and ford will feed this data to the mobile app. The data will then be accessible from three places, 1) their smartphone, 2) the screen in the vehicle, and 3) their home computer.

TheC-Max  Energi is being built at the completely re-tooled Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, which will also be building all versions of the new Focus Sedan, including the all-electric Focus.


Before making your hybrid or electric vehicle purchase, do your homework at AutoBuying101.com.