For those of us who are out here just writing about future technology that might make it “to a store near you,” it’s a breath of fresh air to see something like the Ford C-Max Energi on a showroom floor instead of just a magazine cover.
According to the experts, extended-range electric vehicles [EREV] and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles [PHEV], such as the Chevy Volt and Ford C-Max Energi or the Toyota Prius Plug-In, are the foreseeable future of light transportation. Electric vehicles are coming, don’t get me wrong, but refueling/recharging time is still a major sticking point for many people. With their conventionally-fueled powerplants, EREVs and PHEVs split the difference well-enough for many people.
Depending on how the powertrain is weighted in an EREV or even a PHEV, and how you manage the available range, driving the future doesn’t require a degree in astrophysics, just a little discipline. Some drivers of the Chevy Volt in California, for example, are showing the equivalent of 6,000mpg+ on their dashes. If you have a really short commute, you might be able to do something like that with the Toyota Prius Plug-In.
On the other hand, somewhere halfway between is the Ford C-Max Energi, officially a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle endowed with a 21mi range, 7.6kWh, lithium-ion battery pack. While the EPA is still harrowing over PHEV fuel economy estimating, one writer decided to leave that argument aside and just focus on the vehicle, in spite of the fact that he reports better EV range than estimated. His final determination: Fuel Economy – Who Cares?
Nick Chambers over at Gas2 talks about the Ford C-Max Energi like it’s some new revelation. Car-buying Americans need this revelation. The C-Max crossover is roomy, enough room to carry up to five passengers and even a 45lb dog in back, but leave the German Shepherd or Saint Bernard at home. It’s also a Ford, for those interested in buying American, although I’m not sure how American it is. According to some research, it’s just 49% American?
The Ford C-Max Energi is fun, functional, economical, and just futuristic enough to keep the geek inside you happy. At the same time, it doesn’t look so futuristic that it’d be off-putting to the average consumer. Chambers notes that he’s burned zero gas in the last few weeks, charging at home and at work. This is nice to think about with gas prices hanging around $4/gal. The future is here, and you can buy it starting just over $33,000.