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Canada: Electric car makes Toronto traffic (almost) bearable

No vehicle can compensate for the special hell that is the Don Valley Parkway during rush hour, not on a bad day like this with an hour and 17 minutes of bumper-to-bumper anxiety crawling from Port Union Road to the Gardiner Expressway.

But there’s a moment of grace, noting from a digital readout that the Ford C-Max Energi SEL has used only 1.87 litres of gasoline in the mind-bending trek.

Knowing the Energi will use no gasoline at all while driving through the heart of downtown Toronto, even better.

You need to know the full story, with explanations and qualifications that come up in the course of today’s City Drive.

Ford charges a sizable premium for the all-electric capability just mentioned. Our C-Max Energi SEL lists at $36,999, whereas a regular, C-Max Hybrid starts at $27,199 rising to $30,199 in SEL trim.

The Energi advantage is 33 kilometres of all-electric range, when fully charged. (The government of Ontario offers a rebate of $5,808 as a pro-electric incentive. Ontario rebates range from $5,000 for a Toyota Prius Plug-in to $8,231 for a Chevrolet Volt.)

Once the Energi’s juice is consumed, operation reverts to a combination of gasoline and lithium-ion battery propulsion as in the less-expensive C-Max Hybrid, until the car is plugged in for another charge (requiring six hours in our experience, but two to three hours will do for those with premium 240-volt outlets, also subsidized by the province).

Fully charged, and fully gassed just before entering Highway 401 at Port Union Road, the commute to The Globe and Mail from the edge of Pickering begins at 8:24 a.m. I’m late already.
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