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Ford C-Max Energi Plug-in Hybrid Is Certified at 620 Miles of Range

On Tuesday, Ford fired another volley in its sustained campaign to vanquish the Toyota Prius. The automaker’s C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid was certified by the Environmental Protection Agency at a range of 620 miles.

The Energi improved on the ratings of the plug-in hybrid competition; the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is certified by the E.P.A. at 540 miles of total range, and the Chevrolet Volt at 380 miles.

“Congratulations to Ford,” John Hanson, a Toyota spokesman, wrote in an e-mail, a rare hat tip from rival to rival. John Davis, chief engineer for the C-Max, confirmed in a telephone interview that the 620-mile range figure would appear on the Energi’s window sticker. The car will arrive at dealerships next month.

Automakers have only recently begun to emphasize estimated range as a selling point for their vehicles, complementing measures like fuel economy. Recent scholarship indicates the range number would only become more prominent in a shopper’s purchase decision.

“The 21st century is emerging as the century of the ‘supercommuter,’” a study (PDF) released this year by the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University said. Mitchell L. Moss, the director of the center, said in a telephone interview that more Americans were willing to travel beyond the bounds of their metropolitan regions for their jobs, and commute 90 miles or more one way. “The recession has made people much more transportation-mobile than housing-mobile,” he said.

Mr. Moss added that more
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