The “Energi” designation in the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is Ford speak for plug-in hybrid power-train option. And the C-Max itself is Ford’s newest five person efficient crossover to battle the likes of the Prius V. In this case, I was fortunate to sample the C-Max Energi for a brief time at Ford’s “Power Of Choice” presentation.
I took this crossover into its natural habitat – downtown Denver at 4 pm on a Thursday. The traffic was heavy and stop lights were plentiful – a perfect place for any hybrid. The C-Max felt like it was just the right size for the job. It’s not too big on the outside, but still feels roomy on the inside. It was easy enough to dart in and out of traffic as I was navigating my way through a series of diagonal and perpendicular streets of Denver. The main battery was depleted by other journalists by the time I got in, so I was operating in plain Hybrid mode with the 2.0 liter gasoline four cylinder coming in and out to help me along. Power delivery was smooth and the acceleration was brisk enough for short stop light to stop light sprints (you have 188 total combined horsepower on tap).
You might be wondering – how does a plug-in or Energi C-Max differ from a plain old Hybrid version of the same car? The answer is relatively straight forward. Think of the Energi as a Hybrid with a bigger battery, which you are able to charge by plugging in. This bigger Lithium Ion battery allows for up to 20 miles of EV only range and is EPA rated at 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway (or a cool round 100 MPGe combined). There is a nifty EV button, which allows you to switch the vehicle into EV only mode and cut out the gasoline engine out completely. This is very useful for when you prefer to be in silent stealth mode. It also allows you to go into “EV Later” mode and save the big battery for when you need it most, like in heavy downtown traffic. All this efficient capability is not free, the Energi C-Max is $8,135 more than a C-Max Hybrid. In its defense, the Energi comes with nearly all options included, and it’s eligible for up to $3,500 tax credit.
Another new noteworthy feature is the MyFord Mobile. It sounds like another gimmick at first, but its primary features impressed me. It’s Ford’s smart phone application which allows you to: schedule when the vehicle accepts a charge, precondition the cabin while the vehicle is plugged in, monitor the charge, remote start, and much more. This all can be done remotely from anywhere you have wireless data service. This is assuming your Energi car is also in an area accessible to cellular internet. This allows you take advantage of off-peak hours charging and really maximize your energy efficiency.
We hope to get the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi back for a proper review. In the meantime, check out this TFLcar video from C-Max media launch:
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, software engineer, writer, and reporter. He has been writing and reporting at TFLcar since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or scouring the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.