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Review: Ford C-Max Hybrid Energi – Driver’s Seat – WSJ

MANY SENTENCES BELOW, you’ll find some pithy observations about the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid Energi, a range-extended plug-in gas-electric hybrid (they should have called it the Hyphen) that behaves more or less exactly like the C-Max Hybrid that I drove for your delectation a few months ago. To preview: It’s a nicely turned-out five-seat family van. Loads of features for the money, peppy around town, comfy seats, easy to see out of.

The C-Max Hybrid Energi is nobody’s South Beach fantasy car, but it does deliver the equivalent of about 100-miles-per-gallon fuel economy, which is pretty sexy.

As of mid-2013, here is where we are: Gasoline engines in cars aren’t going away, but they are going to get smaller. As they do, hybrid and plug-in hybrid componentry—batteries, power electronics, traction motors, plugs, onboard charge inverters and thermal plumbing required to keep everything happy—will gradually be integrated into light-vehicle powertrains to backfill the horsepower gap.

To say so hardly qualifies as advocacy. Ask any engineering executive at any car company: In order to meet new and ambitious fuel-economy standards in the global markets—including a U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard of 54.5 mpg by 2025—cars and trucks of the near future will have to exploit the advantages of electric drive (low rpm torque, low-speed efficiency, regenerative braking) in urban driving, while reserving the gasoline-fired engine for times of peak load and sustained demand.



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