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Ford Using Sun to Power Solar Energi

C-Max concept charges batter using special panels on roof.

by on Jan.02, 2014

Ford's C-Max Solar Energi Concept will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week.

Automakers are struggling to find ways to make it cheaper and easier to recharge electric vehicles and Ford plans to show off one possible alternative that replaces the plug with the sun.

The Detroit maker plans to reveal a concept version of its current plug-in hybrid, the C-Max, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that uses a solar panel on its roof to recharge the battery.

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Called the C-Max Solar Energi, it can collect a day’s worth of sunlight and get the same charge as the current C-Max Energi gets when plugged into the wall –albeit needing a full day’s strong sun to generate what you could get from a wall plug in four hours. Ford believes that this type of charging could account for 75% of all driving car owners currently do during a typical day. (more…)

Ford to Re-State Fuel Economy as EPA Preps Revised Mileage Testing

Maker to acknowledge gap between sticker and real-world numbers.

by on Aug.15, 2013

Ford is about to re-state the fuel economy rating on C-Max Hybrid - and the EPA may follow with changes in its own testing and labeling procedures.

Ford Motor Co. will announce significant revisions to the fuel economy rating of its C-Max Hybrid later today, an estimated 10% reduction reflecting the gap between what has been posted on the “people-mover’s” window sticker and what most buyers are getting in real-world use.

Ford has been taking some hits for the fuel economy ratings of several vehicles, especially hybrid models, and now faces several lawsuits from disgruntled owners. But it is far from alone. A number of makers have been criticized – and occasionally sued – for what critics have called unrealistic and overly optimistic ratings.

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Manufacturers like Ford, in turn, have pointed the finger back at the Environmental Protection Administration, the federal agency overseeing mileage testing and approved mpg ratings. The EPA is expected to follow Ford’s lead by announcing on Friday that it will revise the way it determines fuel economy for vehicles – particularly hybrids, which frequently deliver lower real-world numbers than motorists were led to expect. (more…)

Ford Opts for Hybrid-Only Strategy for New C-Max

Planned people mover will be launched with hybrid and plug-in powertrains only.

by on Jun.09, 2011

Ford will offer the C-Max with only a choice of two hybrid drivelines, including the extended-range C-Max Energi plug-in.

This story has been updated from the original to include more detail and official Ford comments on the C-Max project. TheDetroitBureau.com Editor Joe Szczesny contributed to this report.

Ford Motor Co. planners have shifted direction for the upcoming launch of the all-new C-Max microvan.  The new people mover will be sold only as a hybrid model, becoming the first dedicated gas-electric offering in the Ford line-up.

While Ford has decided to scrub a gas-powered, three-row version of the C-Max, the 2-row 5-seater will give U.S. buyers a choice of two battery-based drivetrains: a conventional hybrid, similar to the system now used in models such as the Ford Escape Hybrid, and a new plug-in version, the first time Ford has used that technology, which will allow a motorist to run extended distances on battery power alone.

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“This is our Prius fighter,” said Jim Farley, Ford vice president of global marketing, sales and service, said Thursday as he showed off  the hybrid version of the C-Max multi-purpose vehicle during a press conference at a Ford transmission plant outside Detroit.

There are several reasons for the change in strategy.  For one thing, Farley had argued that the maker needs a true high-tech halo car, much like the Toyota Prius, that is offered solely with hybrid technology.  Though Ford has greatly expanded its gas-electric line-up – and plans to have five battery-electric or plug-in models on the market before mid-decade – it doesn’t have a visually distinctive model that effectively says “hybrid.”


First Look: 2012 Ford C-Max Energi

Ford unveils hybrid, plug-in versions of new C-Max microvan.

by on Jan.10, 2011

Ford first plug-in hybrid, the 2012 C-Max Energi.

With some experts now forecasting gas prices of $5 a gallon in the not-too-distant future, the spotlight is shining ever brighter on electric propulsion.  But there’ll be a number of different “flavors” of battery power suggests Ford’s global product development chief, Derrick Kuzak.

The maker’s new C-Max microvan is a good example.  The 7-passenger people mover will be offered with a variety of different propulsion systems including both a conventional hybrid drive and Ford’s first-ever plug-in hybrid system – both of which are making their debut at this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

The standard hybrid will use Ford’s next-generation gasoline-electric drivetrain, lighter, smaller and more efficient than the one currently offered in such models as the Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid.  One reason is the switch from older nickel-metal hybrid technology to the newer lithium-ion batteries, which are themselves 25% smaller and 50% lighter.

That should permit the C-Max Hybrid to match or even exceed the 41 mpg highway fuel economy of the current Fusion, despite the van’s larger mass and capacity, said Sherif Marakby, the director of Ford’s electrification program.