By John Addison (updated 8/8/12)
Miles Per Gallon (MPG) Battle for Best Crossover
2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid can now be ordered at a starting price of $25,995, about $400 less than the popular Toyota Prius V. Both of these exciting crossover SUVs provide plenty of room for 5 passengers and the flexibility to drop the back seat and load more cargo than many traditional small SUVs. Since there will be no 2013 Ford Escape Hybrid, the C-MAX Hybrid will be the logical choice for many current Escape Hybrid drivers.
The C-MAX is a compact hybrid utility vehicle and the company’s first dedicated line of hybrids. The 2013 C-MAX Hybrid will be available this fall with a base price of $25,995. You can get deliveries now for the Prius V with its 42 mpg combined fuel economy, a breakthrough for the crossover driver. The Ford C-MAX Hybrid will also save big-time at the gas station with 47 mpg combined, almost as good as the smaller Toyota Prius Liftback. In fact, the C-MAX Hybrid delivers 47 mpg city and 47 mpg highway. However you drive, you’ll be making fewer trips to the gas station.
Last summer, when we traveled in Spain, I saw the roomy C-MAX drive by. Even without the hybrid drive system that will be available in the U.S., 156,000 Ford C-MAX have sold in Europe where unsubsidized gasoline prices are double the U.S., making crossovers more popular than larger SUVs. Now the U.S. will have the beautiful C-MAX with better fuel-economy than the one sold in Europe.
Ford dealers are starting to place orders for America’s most affordable and fuel-efficient hybrid utility vehicle – the 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid – with innovative technologies such as a hands-free liftgate, spaciousness for five passengers and Ford’s claim that it will be fun to drive.
Room for People, Luggage, Work, School, Play
C-MAX Hybrid is a compact hybrid utility vehicle jam-packed with features and room for five people and cargo.
The vehicle has a high roofline (63.9 inches) offering ample interior space and flexibility. C-MAX Hybrid offers 99.7 cubic feet of passenger space compared with 97 cubic feet in Prius v. The spacious C-MAX Hybrid also provides greater headroom in both front and rear seats than Prius v (41/39.4 inches vs. 39.6/38.6 inches).
For cargo, C-MAX Hybrid has 60/40 split-fold rear seats that easily fold flat with 54.3 cubic feet of space behind the first row and 24.5 cubic feet behind the second row.
Hands-Free Music, Navigation, Liftgate
C-MAX Hybrid features the company’s innovative hands-free liftgate, allowing for quick and easy access to the cargo area without messing with keys. A gentle kicking motion under the rear bumper opens the liftgate when used in combination with a key fob the user keeps in his or her pocket or purse that tells the car it’s OK to engage. The same motion can close the liftgate. Cool!
The vehicle also features the newest version of MyFord Touch that offers multiple ways to manage your phone, navigation, entertainment and climate functions through voice commands, menus accessed through controls on the steering wheel, touch screens, buttons or knobs.
C-MAX Hybrid also offers the next generation of SmartGauge with EcoGuide. The left cluster also shows Brake Coach, a feature that helps drivers optimize their use of the braking system so that driving range can be enhanced through proper braking techniques. In the right cluster, redesigned imagery of green leaves shows overall driving efficiency – as drivers improve their efficient driving, they are rewarded with more leaves. Ford displays have made it easy to improve fuel-economy when driving their hybrid and electric vehicles.
Powersplit Hybrid Electric Drive System for Best Miles Per Gallon
C-MAX Hybrid is powered through the combination of a gasoline engine and a battery-driven electric motor. When powered by gasoline, the C-MAX Hybrid uses the all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine –among the most advanced non-turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains Ford has ever offered.
The electric motor of the C-MAX Hybrid is powered by an advanced li-ion battery system designed to maximize use of common, high-quality components, such as control board hardware that has proven field performance in Ford’s critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles. All new Ford hybrid and electric vehicles will use lithium batteries. To save weight and reduce drive system size, Ford has been more aggressive than Toyota in ending the use of NiMH batteries.
C-MAX Hybrid also offers Ford’s next-generation powersplit architecture that allows the electric motor and gasoline-powered engine to work together or separately to maximize efficiency. The engine also can operate independently of vehicle speed, charging the batteries or providing power to the wheels as needed. The motor alone can provide sufficient power to the wheels in low-speed, low-load conditions and work with the engine at higher speeds.
In the C-MAX Hybrid, the li-ion battery pack is recharged when the gasoline engine is in operation. Further, the regenerative braking system can recapture more than 95 percent of the braking energy that would otherwise be lost, and is able to use that power to help charge the battery. C-MAX Hybrid requires no plug-in charging.
C-MAX Hybrid is being produced at Ford’s Wayne, Mich.-based Michigan Assembly Plant alongside Focus, Focus Electric and Focus ST. It is one of five electrified vehicles Ford plans to produce in North America in 2012. In addition to C-MAX Energi, the other vehicles include Focus Electric, Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.
Ford C-MAX Energi Plug-in Hybrid
By the end of 2012, you will hopefully have the option of buying the C-MAX as either a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid. The C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid will follow later this year with better electric-mode fuel economy and overall driving range than the Prius plug-in hybrid.
The C-MAX plug-in hybrid, priced at $33,745, will allow you to drive the first 20 miles on a garage electric charge before engaging a fuel-efficient engine. It may rate over 100 mpg. The C-MAX lives up to its name. It maximizes the cargo and passenger space that can be fit on the popular “C” sized vehicle platform. Like the Focus, the C-MAX is a 5-seater. Drop the back seat and you have much more cargo space than the Focus. The C-MAX Energi will provide tough competition to the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
Ford’s near-term electrification plan calls for the company to triple production capacity of its electrified vehicle range by 2013 as it builds on a commitment to give fuel-efficiency-minded customers growing selection of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars and crossovers.
The new Focus Electric, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid are three crucial elements to the plan. Production has started at Ford’s world-class Michigan Assembly Plant of the 2012 Focus Electric, America’s most fuel-efficient five-passenger vehicle that has been certified to offer the equivalent of 110 miles per gallon (MPGe) during city driving, 99 MPGe highway, and 105 MPGe combined.
C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid will join Ford’s electrified vehicle lineup in the second half of 2012. By the end of 2012, one-third of the Ford lineup will feature a model with 40 mpg or more. Ford Hybrid and Electric Choices
Toyota Prius V. My test drive of the new Prius V convinced me that you can get 42 MPG with comfort for 5 people and the flexibility to hold the cargo carried in most SUVs. If you need a crossover SUV, you can get the Prius V now without waiting for the C-MAX Hybrid. Prius V Test Drive and Review
Toyota Prius Liftback is comfortable for 5-passengers. Drop the backseat and you have room for lots of work supplies, 2 mountain bikes, or enough luggage for a month vacation. This classic Prius delivers 50 mpg at a time of high gasoline prices.
Ford Escape SE is an alternative for Ford lovers who want a traditional SUV or want Four-Wheel Drive (4WD). For 2013 models, Ford will not offer the Escape as a hybrid, but will offer fuel economy with your choice of either the available 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine or 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine. The Escape SE with 4WD starts around $27,645 and has OK fuel-economy of 25 mpg combined (22 city, 30 highway). The FWD saves about $2,000 over the 4WD SE Model with Eco-Boost and about $5,000 with the base model with lower mileage.
Subaru Impreza offers All-Wheel Drive (AWD), where the Ford C-MAX Hybrid does not. The Impreza is a smaller hatchback than the C-MAX Hybrid and only averages 31 mpg to the C-MAX’s 41 mpg. The Impreza is also $8,000 less than the C-MAX Hybrid with an excellent AWD system for those deal with regular rain and snow driving. Subaru Impreza Review
Scott Lang, CEO Silver Spring Networks
By John Addison (updated 2/10/10; original 1/12/11)
Driving the Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Scott Lang, CEO of Silver Spring Networks, took the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid for a drive, parked in front of his headquarters, then plugged-in to one of two Clipper Creek charge stations available for employees and visitors. Six hundred Prius Plug-in Hybrids are being used around the world. Next year, it will go on sale to the public as part of a family of four different Prius models.
Silver Spring Networks has over $100 million of venture capital investment, because it provides a leading software platform for the smart grid. Major utilities, SVSE charge equipment providers, and automakers are eager to partern with Silver Springs.
Scott Lang was all smiles during his drive and plug-in because the electric car just might be the killer app of the smart grid and increase the value of Silver Spring smart grid services. So far, customers have not become excited about having smart meters installed. Few people sit at home trying to figure out home to save $5 a month by running their appliances at off hours. In fact, most state utility commissions don’t allow consumer incentives to run applicances off peak. Electric cars are a different matter. Utilities want them charged off-peak so that they do not need to start adding $8,000 transformers in every neighborhood. Experimental off-peak rates are available in many communities, giving new EV drivers a big incentive to program their smart charge to happen automatically at night.
I took one of the Prius Plug-in Hybrids out for a spin, thanks to Bena Chang with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. This plug-in car looks almost identical with the 2011 Prius and the handling and acceleration are also nearly identical. Touch the EV button in a standard Prius and you can go up to one mile before the engine engages, but only if the battery is fully charged and you’re gently driving bare foot.
In the new Prius Plug-in with 5kWh of lithium batteries, you can easily drive 13 miles before the engine engages without special driving effort. When it leaves electric mode and engages the gasoline engine, it drives hundreds of miles with better mileage than a standard Prius.
The Prius Plug-in can be charged in 90 minutes with a 220v charging station, or in 3 hours with a normal 110v outlet. The new Toyota plug-in is likely to be priced well below the Chevrolet Volt which has a 40 mile electric range. Toyota’s strategy is to incrementally improve the Prius brand and to expand the family.
The Plug-in will be initially offered in 14 states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Virginia and New Hampshire) where nearly 60 percent of all Prius models are currently sold. Availability in all 50 states will be in 2013.
New Prius v and Prius c Concept Make Their Worldwide Debut
This week at the North American International Auto Show, Toyota officially expanded the Prius family to four models:
- 2011 Prius – world’s best selling hybrid
- 2012 Prius v –midsized crossover SUV with 40 mpg goes on sale Summer 2011
- 2012 Prius c Concept – city car hybrid goes on sale by Summer 2012
- 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid – best mileage of any Prius goes on sale by Summer 2012
The Prius midsize liftback has accounted for more than 955,000 sales in the U.S. since it was introduced in 2000. The third-generation Prius, which reached dealerships in June 2009, has continued the hybrid’s heritage of exceptional fuel economy and low emissions, while becoming the third-best selling Toyota passenger car in the U.S.
The Prius has also been a technological flagship vehicle, offering new features to the Toyota brand like Touch Tracer Display, Solar Powered ventilation, Smart Key System with Push Button Start, Lane Keep Assist, an Advanced Parking Guidance System and LED headlamps.
Prius v: 40 MPG Alternative for SUV, Crossover, and Wagon Drivers
If you’ve been looking for great mileage from an SUV, crossover, or wagon, take a look at the new Prius v. Toyota is positioning with “v” expressing the vehicle’s versatility, for growing families with active lifestyles while providing the same attributes traditionally found in the Prius DNA. It will share the current generation Prius’ platform and Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. Featuring a compact exterior yet spacious interior, the Prius v will feature over 50-percent more interior cargo space than the current Prius, while being almost as aerodynamic. The Prius v will compete with new crossover hybrids like the Ford C-MAX Hybrid. The Prius v will use NiMH batteries, just as the 2011 Prius. Next year, Ford will start delivering lithium batteries in all hybrids and electric cars.
Inside, the Prius v emphasizes overall proportion with spaciousness and flexibility for active families. Comfortable interior space and good visibility has been assisted by a high seating position, ample headroom, and generous rear legroom. A low, wide-opening rear hatch reveals 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, making it the most spacious dedicated hybrid vehicle on the market and better than some compact SUVs.
Comfortable seating for five is specifically designed for young families. Sliding second row seats allow for easier ingress and egress and rear-storage flexibility, with a 45-degree recline for greater comfort. The 60/40 split, folding rear seats present four different seat arrangements that provide excellent usability for passengers and luggage, while a fold-flat front-passenger seat allows for extremely long cargo.
Also available, and a Toyota-first, is a resin Panoramic View moonroof with power retractable sun shades that provides an open atmosphere in the cabin with a 40-percent reduction in weight as compared to conventional glass roofs of the same size, and excellent heat insulation performance.
Up front, instrument-panel controls, including a single-dial air-conditioning control and a center-mounted digital combination meter, provide an advanced look and user-friendly command. The driving controls – including the Push Button Start, parking switch, electronic shift lever, and driving mode selection – are distinguished by silver trim.
Despite the spaciousness of a family friendly midsize vehicle, the Prius v will deliver estimated EPA fuel economy ratings of 42 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined, the best fuel economy ratings of any SUV, crossover, or wagon on the yet EPA rated.
Like the current generation Prius, the Prius v is a showcase of technology that will include many of the same standard features. Four driving modes (Normal, Power, Eco and EV) satisfy a variety of road conditions and driver preferences. A Smart Key System with Push Button Start, an electronic shift lever, Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), and a back-up camera are standard.
Toyota Prius Safety Features
Available options include energy-efficient LED headlamps, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with a Pre-Collision System (PCS), and Advanced Parking Guidance System. For a high level of safety, there are seven airbags, a high-strength cabin and an energy-absorbing body structure with impact beams, cross members and leg absorption pads. New driver and front-passenger seat design helps lessen possible whiplash injury during a collision.
Like all Toyota models, the Prius v will feature Toyota’s Star Safety System™ standard, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. It also features the standard Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.
Entune Multimedia Entertainment and Location Services
Prius v will be one of the first Toyotas with the Entune™ multimedia system. For the first time ever in an automobile, this innovative new system leverages the mobile phone to provide a richer in-vehicle experience with fully integrated and wireless upgradeable navigation, entertainment and information services. Toyota Entune debuts the first-ever support for engaging mobile apps, such as Bing, OpenTable, and movietickets.com, along with accessing useful travel-related services, such as live weather, traffic, fuel information (location and price), stocks, news and sports.
Toyota Entune brings the largest selection of music options available to a vehicle, including iheartradio’s 750+ stations, Pandora’s personalized music, the driver’s personal songs from portable media players and iPods (via USB or Bluetooth audio streaming), and more than 170 stations from XM satellite radio.
Featuring a best-in-class, advanced conversational voice recognition system that helps the driver to stay focused on the road, Toyota Entune eliminates the need to memorize thousands of voice commands and helps reduce driver distraction. Entune will also allow for audio read-back and replay capabilities for text messages, with the ability to respond by pre-set “Quick Reply Messages.”
Prius v will combine Entune with a standard Display Audio system rich with dynamic entertainment and communication features. The system will include HD Radio with iTunes tagging for future purchase; XM radio, weather, sports, stocks and local fuel pricing; Bluetooth hands-free phone and wireless audio; and full iPod integration including music and video.
Prius c Concept: City Car Hybrid
While the current Prius has ushered hybrid technology into the mainstream, and the Prius v will provide the additional room and versatility for active families, compact shoppers are interested in a smaller hybrid at an entry price point and with superior fuel economy. The Prius c Concept, with c representing a “city”-centric vehicle, will appeal to young singles and couples who want an eco-sensitive, high-mileage, fun-to-drive Prius.
Prius c Concept is the inspiration for an additional Prius family member that will come to market in the first half of 2012 as the most value-oriented hybrid in the U.S. market with the highest mileage of any “cordless” hybrid. Whether you want to save a fortune on gasoline or in paying for parking, Toyota is expanding the Prius family to match your needs.