July 22, 2012 – Vol.17 No.19
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS -- LONGER RANGE, LESSER PRICE UPDATE.
Trends in electric drive: Driving range will be extended and electric drive will get less expensive as each new model is introduced. (Hopefully.)
Ford has published new details on two, new 2013 models, its C-MAX Energi Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) and its C-MAX Hybrid.
First the plug-in car.
The C-MAX Energi, available this Fall, will travel 20 miles on electric drive alone, a little more than twice the distance of a Prius Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), but about half the distance as a Chevy Volt when driving about on its electrons only.
Ford says the C-MAX utility-type vehicle, which looks like a cross between a wagon and minivan, has a total range of 550 miles between refueling with a tankful of gas and electricity from the grid (or your home solar panels). With manufacturer’s specs, the Prius PHEV should go 379 miles on gas and electricity, the Volt 379 miles.
Combined electric and gas driven propulsion, the Energi gets 95 miles per gallon in EPA testing, so you can tell your friends you drive a car that gets 100 mpg and not lie too much.
No price yet for the Energi plug-in version of the C-MAX. (Hoping that it’s much less than a Volt ($39,145 before the $7500 Federal tax break) but maybe about the same as a Prius Plug-in ($32,000 before a $2500 tax break).
Now the “conventional” hybrid.
The C-MAX Hybrid can be ordered now (such as right after you read this) and thus so Ford has given it a price: In base trim it’s five dollars under $26,000 including destination and delivery. That makes it $1300 less than the Prius v, also a wagon-like / van-like utility vehicle.
The C-MAX Hybrid gets better EPA city driving than the Prius v as well: 47 mpg vs 44 mpg for the “v”.
While Ford has dropped it popular Escape Hybrid SUV from its lineup, the C-MAX pair more than makes up for the loss. SUVs, even crossover vehicles, have been popular in part for their sense-of-power, feeling-of-safety, commanding-view driver’s seating position as well as their ability to haul junk in the way-back. By the photos, the C-MAXes appears to have both throne seating and junkage space.
I’m guessing Ford has a winner with these vehicles, particularly the Hybrid version selling fat price that’s only $3500 more than a base 2-wheel drive and only slightly-larger third-generation Escape SUV.
Some words from Ford:
While the C-MAX Energi nameplate is new to the U.S. market, the technology and design has proven itself already in other ways and in other places.
More than 144,000 units of the five-passenger C-MAX gasoline and diesel versions have been sold in Europe since late 2010. Though Ford is concentrating on hybrid versions of C-MAX in the U.S., the designs of C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid are based on the gasoline- and diesel-powered European version.
C-MAX Energi also benefits from 20 years of research and innovation behind the software and hardware technology it offers, incorporating many of the nearly 500 patents Ford holds in the area of hybrid technology. The car’s powersplit technology – which allows for more efficient operation of the vehicle – consists of more than 200 patents alone.
Like C-MAX Hybrid, C-MAX Energi has projected total system horsepower of 188 that stems from the combination of a gasoline engine and a battery-driven electric motor. When powered by gasoline, the C-MAX Energi uses the all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine – powerful and fuel efficient and among the most advanced non-turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains Ford has ever offered.
Because owners plug in to charge the advanced lithium-ion battery in C-MAX Energi, the vehicle is able to achieve increased electric mode and total range. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter, more efficient and more powerful than nickel-metal hydride batteries used in first-generation hybrids. They also promote faster charging times.
C-MAX Energi sets itself apart from other hybrids in other ways, too. For example, it offers the latest generation of SmartGauge∆ with EcoGuide. Designed to help drivers get the most from C-MAX, information such as instantaneous fuel economy can be displayed on one of two 4.2-inch LCD screens, helping drivers more closely monitor how their driving behavior affects the vehicle’s efficiency.
In the right cluster, redesigned imagery of green leaves shows overall driving efficiency. The left cluster shows Brake Coach, a feature that helps drivers optimize their use of the regenerative braking system so that driving range can be enhanced through proper braking techniques. Available for C-MAX Energi is the MyFord∆ Mobile smartphone application that allows users to monitor charging, receive alerts, find charge stations, plan trips and do more from their smartphones or computers for an effortless transition to an electrified vehicle lifestyle.
C-MAX Energi will be produced at Ford’s Wayne, Mich.-based Michigan Assembly Plant alongside the new C-MAX Hybrid, Focus, Focus Electric and Focus ST.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 1
If EV’s don’t catch on at a quicker pace, manufacturers might have to go back to the drawing board.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 2
Tailpipe emission-free and oil-free isn’t enough. Manufacturers need to find every possible way to attract more buyers.Try Long Distance Loaner Vehicles.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 3
Light duty pickup trucks put on a diet could make really excellent electric vehicles.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 4
Expensive lithium-ion batteries keep vehicle costs high. Electric automobile manufacturers need an alternative battery chemistry.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 5
Chipping away at e-vehicle cost: Using fewer onboard computers. What about a laptop?
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 6
Electric cars need to lighten up to carry bigger battery packs for longer range. But how?
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 7
Electric vehicle prices will drop only when new models are developed.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 8
Stored energy in electric cars can be home energy.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 9
Toyota’s new RAV4 EV may be more than just another electric vehicle.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 10
Soon it will get easier and cheaper to develop new electric cars.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS - PART 11
Summing up the series, but watch for updates.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS – Lighter Vehicles Update.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS -- New Models, Better Batteries Update.
RETHINKING ELECTRIC CARS – Drive technology Update.
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