Ford Touts 620-Mile Range For C-MAX Energi

The Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid due this fall is being called by its maker “America’s most efficient” utility vehicle given the U.S. EPA says it is rated at 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway, and can travel up to 620 miles on a tank of gas.

Naturally, Ford’s statement includes its beating the 540-mile range Prius plug-in which Ford has challenged on several key performance measures. The C-MAX Energi is also rated for 21 mile all-electric range, Ford says, compared to the Prius’ EPA rating of 6 in all-electric mode.

“C-MAX Energi is America’s most efficient utility vehicle, a great symbol of how Ford gives customers the power to choose leading fuel-efficiency across our lineup with gas prices spiraling upwards of $5 a gallon in some parts of the country,” says John Davis, C-MAX chief engineer. “The C-MAX Energi’s leading range also means customers can spend more time on the road and more money on their priorities instead of at the gas pump.”

Ford says further the C-MAX Energi addresses a trend toward “super commuting” longer distances as well as increased congestion. Using electric-only operation in stop-and-go traffic will reduce waste, Ford says, which is estimated by the U.S. Treasury at 1.9 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

“The C-MAX Energi is the first plug-in hybrid to combine significant electric only range with great overall range on a tank of gas,” Davis said. “We expect many C-MAX Energi customers will commute largely on electricity, yet will still have the range, space and flexibility to take a long road trip without stopping every few hours.”

The automaker says also the car will offer 195 horsepower with a fully charged battery, therefore, “the new C-MAX Energi has 60 more horsepower than the Prius plug-in hybrid and boasts class-exclusive technologies such as hands-free liftgate and active park assist.”

The plug-in C-MAX Energi will sell for $33,745, and following a trend by incentive-eligible vehicle makers, Ford factors in a potential $3,750 federal credit when it lists its price, which in this case is $29,995 assuming the credit is taken. State and other incentives may also be applicable to further whittle down the net outlay.

Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. will build the C-MAX Energi and they will begin arriving initially at EV Certified Ford dealers in 19 markets, Ford says, followed by nationwide rollout in all 50 states in early 2013.

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  • Modern Marvel Fan

    That is great news for Ford. However, I think the “mileage” per tank thing is really silly. Sure, it is nice to have larger tank with more range. But most people needs a “stop” after about 3-4 hours of driving for at least a bathroom break and some food/drinks. So, getting some gas every 3-4 hours isn’t really a big deal…

    I am finally glad to see Prius is no longer the “only” choice in high MPG offering. C-Max will have better interior, better performance and better price.

    Good Job Ford!

    With all that said, it will see be tough to get the owners out of their Prius. Prius owners are some of the MOST loyal and stubborn Toyota buyers…

  • Chuck in NJ……

    I am not too confident about Fords numbers…..the EPA may find them overstated since the CmaxEnergi wei ghs almost 4,000 lbs…..its Hybrid only numbers are low as well….43 Mpg….plug in prius is still 50 and better…..I used to like Ford vehicles but after years of seeing the numbers promised never coming close to the consumers expectations….I just switched to Toyota when the Plug in came out….the prius is good at keeping the promised EPA figures and YES its range is short BUT Toyota states CLEARLY AND honestly that its a Prius with an extended RANGE ELECTRIC/GAS HYBRID…..i have gotten over what Toyota boasts and fill up maybe every two months….plugging is is great when the gas is so high in price…the Cmax is probably a good first try for Ford BUT lets see what the real world driving does to its early reputation….? I hope it does well BUT I highly doubt the numbers are real….its almost 800 lbs. heavier than the Prius….we shall see….?

  • CharlesF

    @Chuck in NJ……; 1) The numbers are the EPA numbers.
    2) Toyota’s numbers are the EPA numbers.
    3) 43 MPG was a guess by Volt owner, soon to be C-Max owner Dr. Lyle Dennis. It was a guess I agreed with based Ford’s statements that the C-Max Energi would get at least 560 miles per tank. We now have the EPA figure of 620. That works out to 47 MPG. The math:
    (620 – 21) / (14.0 * 0.90) = 47.5
    that is 620 mile total range, minus 21 mile all EV range divided by 90% of the 14 gallon tank capacity. Which gives 47.5 MPG. The 90% figure is from the EPA.

    In other versions of this story, Ford was quoted as saying up to 21 miles of all EV range. To me that is a weasel wording. I suspect that is the city all EV range. That is based on about 85% usage of the battery at 108 MPGe. I am guessing that the highway figure will be 17-18 and 19-20 for the combined EV only range.

  • Jay Leuthold

    When will this car be exported to Europe? Sounds like a very reasonalbe solution for families with a need for a larger car.

  • Van

    Now why did the Ford guy that Hybrid Cars called say 43, rather than 47? Is Hbrid Cars going to update the other article and change it to 47 MPG combined? If is odd that the extra weigh in the Prius did not drop the mileage ( it still gets 50) but the extra weigh in the Energi was through to drop it by 4 miles per gallon. But it is also odd that the CharlesF math gives 47.5, more than the lighter C-Max Hybrid.

    Bottom line, at this point, I am waiting to see the EPA sticker.

  • Jeff Cobb

    Van – The Energi gets 43 in charge sustaining mode. The 47 is for the non-plug in C-MAX hybrid.

    That is what Ford told me, as follows:

    “The release is about C-MAX Energi but lower down we also mentioned C-MAX Hybrid and it’s 47-mpg rating. The 43-mpg charge-sustaining figure is when the battery has been depleted and the vehicle operates like a conventional hybrid. The 47 figure only is for the C-MAX Hybrid, does not refer to the Energi. Just an oversight not including 43…”

  • Van

    Yes, Jeff, I did read what the Ford guy told you, 43, not 47. But I read “Ford’s all new C-Max Energi delivers up to 620 miles of driving range” at the top of this article. Using 90% of 14 gallons, we get over 47 miles to the gallon. So can you explain how the Energi can go up to 620 miles but only get 43. Now if I multiply 14 times 43 I do get 602, which would not conform to the EPA methodology, but again the article says the EPA says 620!

  • c_harnett

    Maybe that’s the range… and maybe not. Two C-Max hybrid owners are reporting now over on Fuelly and they are getting 39mpg.

    Maybe Ford built the car to the test.

    And maybe not; two cars is a very small sample size, so we can’t yet draw any firm conclusions. But we shouldn’t get carried away with enthusiasm for things that aren’t yet proven out on the street.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    As a Prius owner I see something good coming out of the C-Max by Ford. However, I wouldn’t buy it and I would not buy a plug-in Prius. I did a calculation based on 10 miles the Prius could go vs. what I am getting now. It would take me 27 years to recoupe the extra money spent on the plug-in Prius based on $4 a gallon gas. Not that good. However, I already know my Prius is pretty d@mn fuel efficient, so I’m not too concerned about plug-in cars touting this aspect or that aspect.

    So buy what suits you best.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    Great article Jeff. For you guys talking about total range, the total range is irrelevant for most people since tank size is the variable. The Volt has a 9.3 gallon tank but goes twice as far in electric mode….that’s the most important variable….there are still over 100,000 gas stations remember.


  • Van

    The C-Max hybrid, not the Energi, has an EPA range of 570 miles. Its gas tank holds 13.5 gallons. So using CharlesF formula, 90% of 13.5 is 12.15, and then multiply that by the combined 47, we get 571 miles. So the formula seems credible to me. If we use the same formula, and the 14 gallon tank of the Energi, we get 12.6 times 43 or 541 miles. So if we accept the 620 figure, we must reject the 43 MPG figure as being the EPA number, or accept that the EPA number for the Energi 620 is somehow calculated differently.

    So I await the EPA sticker which should be available is less than a month.

  • Jesse Rudavsky

    I just drove the c-max hybrid today and I am very dissapointed with the fuel economy. At 61 degrees and 65mph round trip, mile marker to mile marker, I only achieved 36mpg. My prius with 321k miles moments later on the same route under the same conditions achieved 50mpg. Also on the same route, I tested a 2012 Ford fusion hybrid with 12k miles and got 36mpg at 65mph. Ford may be in some hot water…My advice is test drive before you buy….

  • c_harnett

    MrEnergyCzar: “electric mode… .that’s the most important variable….”

    Not necessarily Suppose most of your trips are 20 miles or less and the rest are 100 miles or more… What’s the calculus then? What are your actual objectives?

  • Van

    Yes, several test drives reported on the internet, i.e. Road and Track and Car and Driver, say their new (not fully broken in yet) C-Max got in the 33 to 39 mile range. At the same time they indicate they operated it in higher performance modes, i.e. getting zero to 60 times way under 9 seconds. So if a person does use all the extra power, i.e. about 60 horses more than a Prius, they will not get even 43 MPG. On the other hand, one report say that over a tank of gas, about 540 miles, they got 44 MPG.

    This points to yet another advantage of plug-in hybrids, less cold starts and low mileage short jaunts in stop and really go traffic. 🙂

  • Greg G

    I am a Volt owner and tend to treat it more as an electric car with gas backup. 85% of my driving has been electricity and after 3mos of ownership I’m only halfway through the tank of gas I got from the dealer. This car sounds great but the 20 miles vs. 38 miles on electricity is a bummer. I often use most of or slightly exceed my electric range and need a few miles from the gas charger. It would be much more significant with this vehicle. It may be that the cost of fuel (electric and gas together) is the same or cheaper with this car but I like not using gas from a “reduce our dependence on oil” perspective.

  • Peter

    I’ll be trading in my 2004 Prius for a C-Max Energi for the following reasons:
    1) My one-way commute is close to the Electric-only range, and I can plug in at work for free.
    2) I prefer the hatchback over the Volt’s less practical rear design.
    3) Prius Plug-in’s Electric-only range is too short.

    I already get 50 MPG today during the work week, and then my mileage plumments during short distance weekend driving. My hope is my gasoline purchases will go down about 75%. Thus, over 10 years of ownership, it easily pays for itself when I add the Federal and State tax breaks. Reallly a no-brainer. My only concern is Ford’s reliability history. I’ve been driving Toyotas for 20 years. A bit worried on that account, particularly since the 3 local Ford dealerships all get very poor reviews.

  • Van

    A possible solution to the issue that 43 MPG does not compute with 620 mile range, is the initial operation is not EV mode, but the hybrid charge depleting mode. Just as a pure guess for illustration, say in charge depleting mode, the Energi gets 55.5 MPG. Lets say the car burns half its fuel, i.e. 6.3 gallons in charging depleting mode, going (6.3 x 55.5 =) 350 miles. Then with its battery depleted, it shifts to charge sustaining mode, getting 43 MPG, and burns the other 6.3 gallons (6.3 x 43 =) 271 miles. The total range then is 271 + 350 or 621 miles.

    Just a theory 🙂

  • CharlesF

    Van, I hope you are correct. The most I have driven in a day over the last 4 years is just under 500 miles. Using your math that would work out to 51 MPG. So for me the C-Max Energi would give me better than Prius MPG for my long trips and better than PIP for EV short trips. The only time that the Prius Liftback would be better is if the trip is over 565 miles without charging.

  • R houser

    I was loaned a c-max (not energi) for 24 hours. Driving at. Constant 70 mph both directions the instantanious mpg never exceeded 40 mpg and the total combined mpg averaged 36.8. Clearly the governent ratings are still total BS. The 620 miles will probably wil also be off Hythe same percentage. I doubt the energi will go more tha 15 real world miles on battery. Sorry but that’s how the gov. Works.

  • mike spallino

    The MPG ratings are figured on 55 mph. Driving at 70 kills the mileage

  • Osvaldo Verduzco

    My brother got the C-Max two weeks ago. His daily commute is 30 miles highway and he has not been able to get past 37MPG.

    I own a Prius 2007. My commute is 8 miles in the city and in the summer I get 42 MPG. In the winter, I only get 37 MPG because the heater requires the engine to run more often. It is far off teh EPA rating of 60MPG/city. But I know EPA ratings asume optimal condituions so I epected this kind of results.

    When I travel in the freway, and I do this often to visit my family, I get 51 MPG both in winter and in summer. Surprisingly, this does not change whether I do 55mph or 70mph all the way.

    If the C-Max gets over 30MPG in the city, that is an improvement over non hybrid cars but for it not to achieve even 40MPG in the highway, it is a disappointment.