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Ford plug-in hybrid goes 100 km/h on battery alone

It’s impossible to avoid talking about “green” and “clean” cars without touching on climate change. And that always unleashes the loonies on both sides of the argument.

That’s fine. I enjoy watching loonies in action – for entertainment purposes only. When it comes to actual decision-making and policy, give me New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:

“People will debate whether there is climate change … that’s a whole political debate that I don’t want to get into. I want to talk about the frequency of extreme weather situations, which is not political,” he said at a press conference in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.

I watched that give-and-take with the press and it was golden. Cuomo had no interest in debating the actual causes of climate change; it’s far too loaded with emotion. But only a deluded fool would say some significant level of climate change isn’t happening in the world. Who cares about the cause or causes? I don’t and Cuomo doesn’t, either.

“Extreme weather is a reality,” he said.

“It is a reality that we are vulnerable, and if we are going to do our job as elected officials, we are going to need to make the modifications necessary so we don’t incur this type of damage.”

This, of course, brings us to battery-powered cars, plug-in hybrids, gasoline-electric hybrids and government-mandated fleet-wide rules for far greater fuel efficiency in new cars and light trucks. The reality of climate change means governments around the world – yes, in China, too – are forcing car companies to become wonderfully creative in making “modification necessary” to meet toughening standards.

Take Ford’s 2013 C-Max SEL Energi plug-in hybrid. I’ll grant you that $36,699 is steep for a compact minivan with hinged doors, yet consider what Ford has accomplished.

The Prius plug-in has a top speed of 100 km/h with battery power alone. This version of the C-Max – you can also get the regular hybrid version starting at $27,199 – has a top speed of 135 km/h in pure EV mode. (However, the Prius plug-in has a combined top speed of 180 km/h, while the C Energi maxes out its combined speed at 164 km/h.)

Moreover, the C Energi lets the driver punch up electric power on-demand using an E-mode button. The C Energi has a range of 885 km (870 km for the Prius plug-in) and has an electric-only range of 32 km (10 km for the Prius plug-in). Charge times: seven hours with a 110/120-volt outlet, three hours with a 220/240-volt plug.
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