Common Electricity Questions for the C-Max Energi

What’s the difference between a charger, charge station and EVSE?  The Ford C-Max Energi uses a J1772 compatible charge station, also called an EVSE, which means “electric vehicle service equipment.”  The electrical components involved in charging the Energi are located in the car and the charge station.  Although the electronics that convert the AC of the house to the DC used by the Energi is located in the vehicle, it is common to refer to the EVSE or charge station as the charger.

What’s the difference between Level 1 and Level 2 chargers?  The Level 2 chargers are faster.  There are two types of chargers for the C-Max Energi, AC Level 1 and 2 both with the same J1772 connector.  A Level 1 charger is supplied with the C-Max Energi.  A Level 2 charger can be purchased and installed in your home.  Level 2 chargers are often available in public locations for free.  A Level 2 charger will charge about three times faster for a C-Max Energi.  According to various posts, the Level 2 chargers are somewhat more efficient, about 80% compared to 72% for the Ford Level 1 charger[The SAE International charging configurations and ratings terminology sheet is here.]

I’ve tried faster J1772 Level 1 and Level 2 chargers, but the C-Max Energi doesn’t charge any faster.  Why?  Because charging equipment is inside and outside of the C-Max Energi.  I haven’t been able to find specifications for the on-board charging regulator for the C-Max, but based on charging times of 7 hours at 120V and 2.5 hours at 240V, it appears as though the Energi is limited to 1.4 kW for Level 1 and 3.3 kW for Level 2 chargers.  It won’t speed charging times for a Level 1 or Level 2 charger with faster kW specifications.  Level 1 AC chargers use the standard AC 120V receptacle and can operate at 1.4 kW drawing up to 12 amps of current and 1.9 kW drawing up to 16 amps.  Level 2 AC chargers use standard AC 240 V split phase and can operate at 3.3 kW, 7.2 kW and 19.2 kW drawing up to 80 amps for the 19.2 kW 2009 specification.

How much electricity is required to charge a C-Max Energi? About 8 kWh for a full charge with the Ford 120V Level 1 charge station supplied with the C-Max Energi.  This is based on measured full charges with our Energi using a Kill-A-Watt meter.

How efficient is the Ford 120V Level 1 charge station?  72%.  Tom in San Diego posted in the Fordcmaxenergiforum results of testing the efficiency of the Ford 120 Volt charge station that comes with the Energi.  It is only 72% efficient (see the graph below).

Ford 120V Charge Station Efficiency

Ford 120V Charge Station Efficiency

How much does this electricity cost?  Electricity costs vary widely.  There could be a discounted price for charging at night.  At my home (which is typical), the cost is 12 cents per kWh.  The cost to fully charge the battery would be about one dollar.

Are there public charging locations?  What do they cost?  There are more than 10,000 public charging locations in the U.S.  About 85 percent of the public chargers are free.  There are different ways to find charger locations.  (As of August 2013, free chargers are less common.  In Utah, Walgreens has started charging $2.50 per hour, which would make the electricity more expensive than refueling with gasoline and less convenient.)

How much does it cost to drive with electricity rather than gasoline?  It depends on your cost for electricity at home and how often you use free public chargers.  Using 12 cents per kWh you can drive about 24 miles in the city for one dollar.  Assuming you drive 20 city miles each day on electricity and you pay 12 cents per kWh, your annual cost for electricity will be about $410.  According to the EPA, the C-Max Energi has ratings of 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway, and 100 MPGe combined.  The EPA uses 33.7 kWh per gallon-equivalent to calculate the MPGe.  The corresponding miles per kWh would be 3.20 city, 2.73 highway, and 2.97 miles/kWh combined.  The cost of a kWh is typically 12 cents.  Assuming 72 percent efficiency when charging, for one dollar a C-Max Energi could be driven 19.2 miles city, 16.4 miles highway, and 17.8 miles combined.  [The calculation is ((108/33.7)/.12)*.72 for the city.]  As with gasoline, how you drive will affect your cost.  The EPA states the 2012 Nissan Leaf gets miles per kWh of 3.15 city, 2.73 highway, and 2.94 combined.  My personal experience with a Nissan Leaf is better.  My average is 4.1 miles per kWh after driving more than 8,000 miles in a Nissan Leaf.

Ford C-Max Energi Charge Port

Ford C-Max Energi Charge Port with Nissan Leaf J1772 Charger

What is the range of the C-Max Energi when driving with electric energy only?  When C-Max Energi is put in EV Now mode, it uses only electric energy (EV).  According to the EPA, the electric energy range for the Energi is 21 miles.  According to a Forum post by Tom in San Diego, 21 miles is consistent with his experience (see the graph below).  The distance you drive with electric energy will be dependent on how and where you drive.

Ford C-Max Energi EV Range

Ford C-Max Energi EV Range

Do I need to use the charger that comes with the C-Max Energi to charge it?  No.  Any 120V AC Level 1 or 240V AC Level 2 charger with the J1772 connector will charge the C-Max Energi.  The Tesla and Nissan fast chargers are not compatible with the J1772 standard or the C-Max Energi.

How long does it take to charge the C-Max Energi?  According to Ford, it takes 7 hours with the 120V AC Level 1 trickle charger that is supplied with the C-Max and 2.5 hours with a 240V AC Level 2 charger.  Based on full charges with our Energi, it takes 6 hours with the 120V AC Level 1 charger.  Based on full charges with our Energi, it takes just over 2 hours with a 240V AC Level 2 charger.  These times assume the battery is fully discharged.  It probably isn’t.

Are there any special requirements for a charger?  The 120V AC outlet that you plug your Level 1 trickle charger into should be on a dedicated 15-20 amp circuit.

Ford Level 2 J1772 Charger

Ford Level 2 J1772 Charger

 

What does it cost to upgrade to a Level 2 charger in my garage?  The cost depends on the charger you select and the cost of installation.  Installation costs vary from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on your home.  Although any J1772 charge station will charge the current C-Max Energi at its fastest possible rate, it may make sense to install a 30 amp charger to support future vehicles.  The increased cost is not that significant.  It is also important to make sure that the cord is sufficiently long to satisfy current and future vehicles.  There are a few good choices.  ClipperCreek now has the HCS-40.  This 30 amp EVSE with a 25 ft cord sells for $590.    Bosch has the 30 amp PowerMax EVSE with an 18 ft cord priced at $593.  Another good alternative is the Schneider Electric EV Link 30 amp at Home Depot for $599 with an 18 ft cord.  If you decide to install a 240V Level 2 charger, it makes sense to have an electrician install a 240V outlet in the garage on a dedicated line.  That makes it possible to move the charger to another location.  The tax credit for installing a charge station expired on December 31, 2013.

Where is the 120 volt charger stored in the C-Max Energi?

C-Max Energi Charge Port Storage

C-Max Energi Charge Port Storage is Behind Driver’s Seat

There is a compartment in the floor behind the driver’s seat for storing the charger.

When I’m done charging, can I just pull the charger from the 120V outlet?  No. Do not pull the charger’s wall plug from the outlet while the vehicle is charging. This can damage the cord or outlet.  Disconnect the J1772 connector from the C-Max Energi first.

Are there concerns about the high voltage of the C-Max if I’m involved in an accident?  Yes.  A short blog was published on this, “Emergency Response for The Ford C-Max.”  The C-Max High Voltage disconnect is located behind the rear passenger side seat.

C-Max High Voltage Disconnect

C-Max High Voltage Disconnect is Located Behind the Rear Passenger Side Seat

Are there two batteries for the Ford C-Max Energi, for “hybrid” and “plug-in” operation?  No.  However, from the user perspective there appears to be two.  The software for the drivetrain divides the battery into a 1.1 kWh “hybrid” battery and a 6.5 kWh “plug-in” battery according to an article in Automotive Engineering Online.  As far as I can tell, Ford never charges the battery to 100% or discharges it to 0% to prolong battery life.  A full charge of the Energi adds about 5.5 kWh of charge to the battery and requires about 8 kWh from the wall (electric meter).  When the potential energy is high (at the top of a hill, canyon or mountain) and a long descent is encountered, after the “hybrid” battery is fully charged the “plug-in” battery will start charging.  As a test, I drove up American Fork Canyon until the “hybrid” and “plug-in” batteries were completely discharged and the ICE (internal combustion engine) started.  I then turned around and descended to the starting point.  The hybrid battery was fully charged and the “plug-in” battery had a 30% charge after returning to the start.

This blog was first published December 28, 2012.  It was updated January 5th, 16th, 19th, March 2nd, August 27th, September 11th, 2013 and January 20th, 2014.

 

 

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Learning How to Operate the C-Max with Ford Videos

Ford has produced many videos illustrating the operation of the C-Max Hybrid or Energi.  They are disorganized and mixed with videos for other vehicles.  I’ve listed the videos that are applicable to the C-Max below.  Captions of videos that apply only to the C-Max Energi start with Energi.  Other videos are for both vehicles.

Fueling

Pressurized Gasoline Fuel Door

Energi Fuel Freshness and Oil Maintenance

Energi Charging

Energi Installation of a 240V Charging Station, Note: This is not required.  A 120V Charger is included with the Energi.  There are also other 240V solutions which I wrote about in a earlier blog.

 MyFord Mobile (Videos for Energi Only)

MyFord® Mobile – Introduction and Registration for your Ford C-MAX Energi

MyFord Mobile – Smartphone Features for your Ford C-Max Energi

MyFord Mobile – Programming your Ford C-MAX Energi Charge Settings

MyFord Mobile – Website Features for your Ford C-MAX Energi

C-Max Energi Gauge Detail

Ford C-Max Energi Gauge Detail

Instrument Panel

Instrument Panel Cluster Display

Energi Instrument Panel Overview, Short Version

Energi Instrument Panel Overview, Long Version

Energi Display Mode: Range, Inform, Enlighten, Engage, Empower and MyView

Energi, EV Now, EV Later, and Auto EV

Energi EV Range and Instantaneous Fuel Gauge

Fuel Economy Menu in Instrument Panel Cluster Display

Trip and Lifetime Summary

Setting Trip Data

Safety

Integrated Blind Spot Mirrors

Improving MPG

Brake Coach

EV+ and ECO Cruise Control

Other

Electric Park Brake Control

Headset Adjustment

Rain Wiper Control

Rain Sensing Wipers

Power Window Control

Power Liftgate Features

Foot-activated Liftgate

C-Max Energi MyFord Touch Sony Audio

Ford C-Max Energi MyFord Touch Sony Audio System Front View

SYNC, MyFord, Navigation and RearView Camera

MyFord Touch – Programming your Ford C-Max Energi Charge Settings

MyFord Touch – Programming your Ford C-Max Energi Go Times

SYNC with MyFord Touch: System Settings/Master Reset

Using the 8-inch Touch Screen

Getting Help and System Information

Changing the Display Brightness

SYNC Services

MyFord Touch Overview

Using Voice Commands

SYNC with MyFord Touch Climate Control

Using Auto or Dual Mode Climate Controls

Setting the Temperature to “My Temp”

Heated and Cooled Seats

Heated Steering Wheel

Clean Pairing a Bluetooth Phone

SYNC Hands-free Features, Auto Call Transfer, Phone Book Download, Call and Text with Voice Commands

Making a Phone Call

Receiving an Incoming Call

Receiving a Call with Privacy Mode

Do Not Disturb

Receving & Sending Text Messages

Vehicle Health Report and 911 Assist App and Installing new Ford Software

SYNC AppLink, Controlling Apps with Voice Commands

Navigation: Setting My Home

Navigation: Setting a Destination

Navigation: Saving Favorite Destinations

Navigation Route Options

Getting Directions with SYNC Services

Rear View Camera Settings

Setting the Clock

Settings: Enabling Valet Mode

Setting and Adjusting Ambient Lighting

Adding Wall Paper to the Home Screen

SYNC Music and Audio on iPhone Controlled with Voice Commands

Setting Radio Presets

Playing Music from an iPhone or other MP3 Player via USB

Playing Music from an iPhone or other MP3 Player via Bluetooth

Choosing Entertainment Features by Voice

This blog was edited on January 6th, 19th and March 31, 2013.

 

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How To Improve MPG with The Ford C-Max

C-Max Gas Cap

Improving MPG with the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid and Energi

By writing this blog, I am not stating there is not a problem with the C-Max resulting in lower than expected MPG.  I don’t know.  Many owners of the C-Max Hybrid are reporting lower than the EPA MPG for the C-Max Hybrid, a story I first wrote about in November.  The ConsumerReports tests brought it to the attention of the media in December and a class action lawsuit followed later in the month.  I pointed out that the lawsuit had an error stating Hyundai sold the C-Max.  I’ve also written a blog on understanding the EPA MPG measurement method.   As I’ve written these blogs, I’ve written about methods to improve the MPG for C-Max drivers.  I decided it was important to collect these ideas in one location.  This blog will be continuously updated as information is obtained.  Please add suggestions for obtaining better MPG in the comments.

Understand the Instrument Panel Displays.

Instrument Panel Cluster Display

Energi Instrument Panel Overview, Short Version

Energi Instrument Panel Overview, Long Version

Energi Display Mode: Range, Inform, Enlighten, Engage, Empower and MyView

Energi, EV Now, EV Later, and Auto EV

Energi EV Range and Instantaneous Fuel Gauge

Fuel Economy Menu in Instrument Panel Cluster Display

Trip and Lifetime Summary

Setting Trip Data

Use the Brake Coach.

Use EV+ and ECO Cruise Control. Do not turn them off.  Let the C-Max learn common GPS locations to improve MPG.

Learn “Pulse and glide” and other techniques that hybrid owners use to get better MPG.  The effectiveness of these methods could vary depending on the hybrid.  I have not tested them with the C-Max Hybrid or Energi.  A good article for ideas is, “Hypermiling (Saving Lots of Fuel) in a Hybrid; How to Get Maximum Fuel Mileage From Your Hybrid.”    Another good blog on improving fuel economy, “Beating the EPA – The Why’s and How to Hypermile”, was posted by Wayne Gerdes at CleanMPG.com.

Do not drive aggressively.  This includes accelerating rapidly from a stop, braking hard at the last possible second, and weaving to change lanes to get around other cars.  Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 5 to 33 percent.  Anticipate traffic conditions, curving roads, and traffic lights to minimize braking.  Let up on the gas pedal early to minimize braking.

Slow down to the speed limit.  Speeding can affect fuel economy by 7 to 25 percent.  MPG decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.  It appears as though there is a big difference with the C-Max driving at 60 and just a few mph faster, e.g., 64 mph.  The C-Max Hybrid cannot drive more than 62 mph in EV mode.  The C-Max Energi can drive up to 85 mph in EV mode.  However, driving at high speeds will still use kWh much faster than lower speeds with the Energi.  Reducing your speed from 65 to 55 mph can improve your fuel economy by 10 to 15 percent.  Reducing your speed from 70 to 55 mph can improve your fuel economy by 25 percent.

Remove excess weight.  Excess weight can reduce mpg by 1-4 percent per 100 pounds.  It affects the C-Max more than large vehicles.

Use cruise control.  Maintaining a constant speed will save gas in most instances.  When driving with cruise control, it is easier to control the maximum speed too.  The C-Max will display the mpg while driving.  To maximize fuel efficiency, set the cruise control speed within the legal speed limit to maximize the mpg on the display.

Use the air conditioner only when needed.  Using the AC reduces fuel economy by up to 15 percent.  In a city, roll down windows and turn the AC off.  Driving above 50 mph with the windows down will increase drag and decrease fuel efficiency more than using the AC.  When using AC, the recirculation setting reduces the air that must be chilled from outside the car.  Using just the fan to circulate unchilled air is more efficient than using the AC.

Start driving when the engine starts.  Modern engines do not need to warm up.  The car warms up faster when the car is running.  However, the engine is most efficient when warm.  Combine trips when possible to avoid infrequent short trips starting with a cold engine.

Keep the tires properly inflated.  Michelin Energy Saver Tires should be on the car when you buy it.  There is a discussion of other tires that may be far less fuel efficient being used on some new cars at the PriusChat forum.

Perform scheduled maintenance.

Do not add external accessories which can affect aerodynamic drag.  Bike carriers, luggage racks, and flags increase aerodynamic drag and lower MPG.  Driving with your windows open above about 50 mph will increase aerodynamic drag and decrease MPG.  The advantage of using the A/C less will be lost to worse aerodynamics for the car.

After your engine warms up, drive it.  There is no need to let it warm up.

Now, as Daniel Gray of MPGOMatic.com said in a video, “Get your foot off the gas and let gravity do it’s work.”

C-Max Energi Empower Gauge

Learning to use the Empower gauge is important to improve mpg with the C-Max.

This article was first published on January 5th, 2013.  It was updated on January 16th, 2013.

 

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