Calling it a leap forward in its drive to grow its stable of electric vehicles, Ford says it will launch C-MAX Energi in 2012, the car maker's first-ever production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
Ford will also introduce C-MAX Hybrid, a full hybrid variant of the C-MAX. Both will have five-passenger capacity and are being marketed as "multi-activity vehicles," a somewhat more cumbersome term than crossover or SUV.
Ford says the new C-MAX lineup will leverage the company’s global C-car platform, powersplit hybrid architecture, and next-generation driver information features. Perhaps of most interest to hybrid enthusiasts, though, will be Ford's promise of a more advanced, lighter and smaller lithium-ion battery system.
Clearly witht the Chevy Volt in its crosshairs, Ford surprisingly says the C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better miles per gallon than its own hybrid leader, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, a vehicle it says claims the title of the most fuel-efficient sedan in America.
Just how fuel efficient? C-MAX Energi targets more than 500 miles of driving range using the battery and engine, a claim Ford says is greater than any other plug-in or extended-range vehicle. With a nod to the competition, Ford says the C-MAX also targets AT-PZEV status and delivers better charge-sustaining fuel economy than Chevy's Volt.