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Ford Supercharges Electric Vehicle Plan, Bringing New C-Max Energi And C-Max Hybrid Products To Europe

Ford is bringing hybrid electric vehicles to Europe, introducing first the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. It will go on sale in Europe together with the C-MAX Hybrid in 2013. Both are based on the Ford C-MAX five-passenger multi-activity vehicle and will offer low fuel consumption and emissions as well as distinctive body design and a flexible interior.

Ford has drawn on its long-term experience with hybrid technology in the North American markets – it introduced the Escape Hybrid in 2004 – and developed the all-new C‑MAX Hybrid and C‑MAX Energi on its new global C-car platform, bringing consumers more choice, versatility and style for family-friendly vehicles.

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Both the plug-in hybrid and third-generation full hybrid not only leverage this global platform, but also Ford’s acclaimed powersplit architecture, next-generation driver information features and advanced lithium-ion battery systems.

“C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid will be perfect for families looking to maximize their hybrid car experience,” said Nancy Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification. “Thanks to the versatile interior, these cars are going to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers who need room to grow.”

C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi will reach new levels of fuel consumption for petrol powered vehicles, building on the success of the critically acclaimed powersplit architecture Ford uses in its current hybrids available on the US market, allowing it to operate in fuel-saving electric mode beyond 75 km/h (47 mph).

Both the C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid vehicles to be sold in Europe will be built at Ford’s plant in Valencia, Spain, starting in 2013.

The plug-in advantage

C-MAX Energi provides maximum fuel efficiency by pairing a high-voltage lithium-ion battery and electric traction motor with a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle petrol engine. This allows it to run in electric mode before using the petrol engine.

In total, C-MAX Energi will offer more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) of overall driving range using the battery and engine – more than any other plug-in or extended-range electric vehicle.

In general, plug-in hybrid vehicles offer several benefits, including:

Electric driving range, perfect for emissions-free and silent city driving

Potential consumer savings on energy and fuel costs thanks to improved fuel efficiency over a standard hybrid

Increased use of electricity from renewable energy sources (e.g. wind and solar), where available, for vehicle recharging

Reduced environmental impact through reductions in greenhouse gas emissions

Reduced dependency on petroleum and increased energy independence

“A plug-in hybrid owner may make fewer trips to the pump to refuel because of its all-electric mode capability,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford vice president of Global Product Development. “Conveniently, they’ll be able to recharge their plug-in hybrid at home overnight. And they’ll never have to think about the vehicle’s electric range, because the plug-in hybrid seamlessly shifts to fuel power when needed.”

The development of Ford’s first-ever production plug-in hybrid leverages more than 300,000 km of road testing with the Escape Hybrid Plug-In demonstration vehicles conducted in collaboration with a coalition of 10 utility companies, the U.S. Department of Energy, the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration and the Electric Power Research Institute.

Getting charged up

C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid will use advanced lithium-ion battery systems developed and assembled in-house by Ford in North America. Each system is smartly designed to maximise the use of common, high-quality components, such as control board hardware that has proven field performance in Ford’s current, critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles. Ford has been selling hybrid vehicles in the US since 2004.

Li-ion battery packs offer a number of advantages over the nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries that power today’s hybrid vehicles. In general, they are 25 to 30 per cent smaller and 50 per cent lighter, which makes them easier to package in a vehicle, and can be tuned to increase power to boost acceleration or to increase energy to extend driving distance.

While C-MAX Hybrid will operate much like today’s hybrid vehicles, C-MAX Energi will benefit from daily charging to maximise its all-electric range. Thanks to the efficiencies of its right-sized battery system, the plug-in hybrid easily recharges 100 per cent overnight on a 230-volt outlet.

A full charge in C‑MAX Energi allows owners to increase their driving significantly in all-electric mode and drastically reduce their use of the on-board fuel engine.

On start-up, C-MAX Energi will operate in charge-depletion mode, providing electric driving range. When the battery has been depleted or certain conditions are met, it switches to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency. Pure E-mode can also be chosen via a button, with a limited top speed of max. 70 km/h for a range, which will match the daily city commuting distances.

Ford worked with a supplier to provide an industry-standard five-point plug for C-MAX Energi (and new Focus Electric) that is ergonomically comfortable to hold as well as durable and distinctively designed. The plug handle uses a matte-finished black rubber for a comfortable, non-slip grip and the plug head is shielded with a glossy white hard plastic to protect the electronics. The Ford Blue Oval trademark helps make the device immediately recognisable.

When the cord set connector is plugged into the vehicle’s charge port, which is located conveniently between the driver’s door and front wheel well, it activates a light ring that loops around the port twice in acknowledgement of connectivity. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the vehicle charges. Flashing quadrants represent charge in progress and solid-lit quadrants show stages of charge completion. When the entire ring is solidly lit, the vehicle is fully charged.

Smarter interface

C-MAX Energi owners will have access to a suite of driver information systems designed to help them manage the recharge process, manage the most eco-friendly route, monitor battery state of charge and maximize energy efficiency to extend use of electric mode.

Among these tools is a unique execution of MyFord Touch driver connect technology, especially for electrified driving. It offers exceptional configurability of vehicle information, including fuel level, battery power level, and average and instant fuel consumption.

The cluster’s new MyView feature allows drivers to access even more vehicle data such as the electrical demands of vehicle accessories, including air conditioning, which influences fuel economy and the electric driving range of the C-MAX Energi.

The Brake Coach feature helps to educate drivers to optimize their use of the regenerative brakes to recapture kinetic energy and send it back to the battery, also reducing wear on the brakes.

Long-term fuel efficiency can be displayed in two ways – either as a traditional chart or using an innovative display that shows a growing leafy vine on the right side of the cluster. The more efficient a customer is, the more lush and beautiful the leaves and vines become, creating a unique visual reward for the driver’s efforts.

To reinforce the message, at the end of each trip a display screen provides distance driven, miles gained through regenerative braking, fuel consumed (average and total) and a regenerative braking score.


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