One of Ford's big announcements at this year's NAIAS is the new C-Max, a car which will be available in two different models with different styles of hybrid propulsion on the same body and frame. Ford has seen competitors Toyota and Chevrolet going after the hybrid and electric vehicle market with two different approaches. Toyota has the hybrid Prius which couples electric drive with a gas engine; Chevrolet has the Volt which is an electric drive car that uses its gas engine as a generator for extended range travel. The competition between the two strategies doesn't have a clear winner, so Ford is pursuing both rather than picking one over the other.
The Ford C-Max Energi will be a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Like the Chevy Volt, it will be able to travel in all-electric mode, though its range has not yet been established. However, Ford has announced that the total range for the vehicle once the gas engine kicks in will be more than 500 miles (800 kilometers), more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle. Ford also says the C-Max Energi will have better charge-sustaining fuel economy than the Chevrolet Volt.
The other model will be the Ford C-Max Hybrid. Like the Toyota Prius, it will be a very efficient hybrid using electric motor in conjunction with the gas engine to make a vehicle that is "targeted to deliver better fuel economy than the 41 mpg Ford Fusion Hybrid."
Both versions of the C-Max will use new lithium-ion batteries, which are increasingly being chosen for their lighter weight and greater energy storage capacity. Another feature will be the "Brake Coach" which helps drivers learn to take best advantage of the regenerative braking capapbilities offered on both versions of the car. The C-Max is based on what Ford calls the "global C-car platform" five-passenger multi-activity vehicle which has been available in Europe for several years. Both C-Max vehicles will be available in North America in 2012 and Europe in 2013.
written by Tim, January 14, 2011
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