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USA: C-Max Energi Plug-in Costs Less than Hybrid, After Incentives

Ford C-Max Energi

Here’s a new twist on the price premium argument against buying a car that plugs into the grid. Ford priced the plug-in version of the C-Max so close to the conventional hybrid version that—after considering federal and state incentives, as well as trim packages—shoppers can drive away with the plug-in at virtually the same price.

As usually, the devil is in the details. With three different add-on premium packages available for the C-Max Hybrid, shoppers with sharp pencils might make a different argument. But considering that a loaded C-Max Hybrid SEL tops out at $30,000, and the base price of the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid is $33,745, the difference in the price of admission for the two vehicles is less than $4,000.

When you subtract a federal tax credit of $3,750 for the Energi, and a $1,500 cash rebate from California, you actually come ahead from Day One with the plug-in model. Every day after that, especially for drivers with commutes within the 21-mile EV range of the Energi, the cost of electric fuel is less than half the cost of gasoline. Also, the estimated efficiency jumps from 47 MPG in the hybrid, to 100 MPGe in the plug-in. (For now, let’s leave aside higher resale value, or external benefits like reduced emissions.)

There are trade-offs. Buyers would be forgoing some of those luxury features, like premium audio, heated seats, and hands-free liftgate, in exchange for keeping the price of the plug-in to the same level as the hybrid. Also, the hatch cargo space in the plug-in drops from 52.6 cubic feet to 42.8 cubic feet.
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