Detroit Auto Show: Ford announces first plug-in hybrid electric


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Ford announced its first plug-in hybrid production electric vehicle Monday. Based on the recently announced five-seat C-MAX multi-activity vehicle the manufacturer will begin selling in 2012, the C-MAX Energi will be capable of traveling more than 500 miles using a 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine, lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor.

Ford also announced a pure hybrid version, the C-MAX Hybrid. Both vehicles will be available in North America in 2012.


The C-MAX Energi will operate similarly to the Chevrolet Volt, running in pure-electric mode before switching over to its Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine, which will then operate the car in hybrid mode. Ford says the C-MAX Energi will recharge 100% overnight using a common household 120-volt outlet.

The C-MAX hybrid will deliver better fuel economy than Ford’s Fusion Hybrid, which, at 41 mpg, is the most fuel-efficient sedan on the U.S. market today. The C-MAX Hybrid targets 47 mpg.

The C-MAX Energi and Hybrid will both incorporate a new MyView feature that will inform drivers of the electrical demands of the accessories they are running, such as air conditioning, which negatively impact fuel economy. They will also include a Brake Coach feature so drivers can optimize their use of regenerative braking, which recaptures kinetic energy and feeds it back to the battery.

-- Susan Carpenter