Plug-in cars save gas and cut pollution, but at a cost. The Nissan Leaf has a maximum driving range of about 75 miles. The Chevrolet Volt seats just four people. And at nearly $40,000 apiece, neither is cheap. The Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, by contrast, seats five and combines gas power and a grid-charged lithium-ion battery to reach the EPA-certified equivalent of 108 mpg. It goes 620 miles on a full gas tank and battery. And at $29,995 (after tax credits), it is by far the most affordable plug-in on the market. It's the kind of car that could, just maybe, take automotive electrification mainstream. Here are five reasons why.
1. Gas-Electric Powertrain
The C-Max Energi combines a pair of electric motors and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine (the same ultraefficient design used in the Toyota Prius). Together, they can push the car to a top speed of 102 mph; the C-Max can hit 85 mph on electricity alone.
2. Affordable, Compact Battery
Engineers gave the C-Max a relatively small 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which Ford assembles in Michigan. The Chevrolet Volt, by comparison, runs on a 16-kilowatt-hour battery. As a result, the Energi gets 21 miles of all-electric range to the Volt's 38—but it's $10,000 cheaper.
3. Custom Power Control
Using a button mounted on the center stack, the driver can mix and match electric and gas power with three settings: EV Now (electric-only driving), Auto EV (combined gas and electric power), and EV Later (gas engine only).
4. Breathing Room
The five-passenger hatchback has 10 more cubic feet of interior space than the Chevrolet Volt and nearly double the cargo area.
5. Quick Charger
Like Ford's Focus Electric, the C-Max uses a 6.6-kilowatt onboard charger to fill its battery. Plugged into a 240-volt outlet, the charger fills the battery at a rate twice as fast as the Nissan Leaf, going from empty to full in two and a half hours.
Power Train: Gas-electric plug-in hybrid
Fuel Economy: 108 mpg equivalent
Electric-Only Range: 21 Miles
Price: From $29,995
I'm a Ford and Chevrolet fan. I was quite surprised to see such obvious bias in the above comparison to the Volt.
Volt "nearly $40,000 apiece, neither is cheap. The Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, by contrast, ... And at $29,995 (after tax credits)".
Seriously? Highball Volt and lowball the C-Max using different criteria? The Volt is $31,645 (after tax credits). so that makes it $2K different and the Volt goes 38+ miles on electric vs 21 for the C-Max. As well the Volt does it even if you press it hard where the C-Max gas engine comes on if you drive hard or over a certain speed.
Lets compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Claiming the Ford is $10,000 cheaper by INCLUDING the rebate for it but then NOT including the rebate for the Chevy is purposely biasing the results. This author should be fired for gross negligence.
This article certainly is not using accurate facts. First of all, I agree with using apples and apples when applying the tax credit for the Energi versus the Volt.
That being said:
The federal tax credit for the Volt is $7,500.00, since it has large 16.5kw battery. The Ford C-max Enegi only receives $3,751.00 (see the fueleconomy.gov website). Using a MSRP price of $39,145 for the Volt and $32,950 for the C-max Energi. Applying the credits, the Volt is $31,645 (Just like their website) and the Energi is $$29,199. So, the difference is $2,446. We will ignore the state credits for simplicity and because they me be equal.
Therefore, the Energi is approximately $2.5k less expensive.
Next is the miscalculation of the charging time for the Energi. It has a 7.6kw battery and a 6.6kw charger, so almost equal. It will take approximately one hour and ten minutes to fully charge the battery, not "two and a half hours" as the author claims. Now to be complete, the new 2013 Nissan Leaf is planning to be shipped with a 6.6kw charger too.
The comparison for driving on full electric is 21 miles for the Energi versus 35 miles (certain models) for the Volt. Based on the battery sizes respectively, the Energi is more efficient. This is most likely due to the curb weight.
There are other interesting comparisons to look at, such as engine size.
I was very surprised that Popsci did not proof this article very well. I am not surprised that readers are jumping all over the errors.
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