C-Max Energi Tax Credit

C-Max Energi Charge Port with Nissan Leaf Charger

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

The C-Max Energi is now appearing on the IRS web site.  It qualifies for a tax credit of $4007.  [The IRS has now stated that the tax credit is $4,007.  It was previously listed at $3751 and stated by Ford as $3750.]  The publication describing the tax credit is here.  The IRS document describing how the tax credit is calculated is here.  The C-Max has a 7.6 kWh battery.  This is the IRS statement for the calculation, “For vehicles acquired after 12/31/2009, the credit is equal to $2,500 plus, for a vehicle which draws propulsion energy from a battery with at least 5 kilowatt hours of capacity, $417, plus an additional $417 for each kilowatt hour of battery capacity in excess of 5 kilowatt hours.”  [The language is ambiguous and the IRS has now stated the credit is $4007.  The $3751 credit assumed that the 7.6 kWh battery uses 7 kWh for the calculation.  The fractional kWh is now used in the calculation.  That results in a tax credit of $4007.  IRS form 8936 is used to claim the credit.  Details of the credit are in an IRS notice.  The credit is not phased out until Ford has sold 200,000 vehicles that qualify for the credit.  At the present time, the C-Max Energi, Focus Electric, and Fusion Energi are the only Ford cars that qualify for the credit.  It will take quite awhile before Ford sells 200,000 of these three models.

The $4,007 tax credit for the Energi is not lost when the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is applicable.  Here’s an IRS Q&A on the topic:

Q. Does the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) impact the alternative motor vehicle credit?

A. Starting in 2009, the new law allows the alternative motor vehicle credit, including the tax credit for purchasing hybrid vehicles, to be applied against the alternative minimum tax. Prior to the new law, the alternative motor vehicle credit could not be used to offset the AMT.

The Department of Energy web site to find state laws and incentives for hybrid and electric vehicles is located here.

Ford C-Max Hybrid (not Energi) owners do not qualify for a Federal Tax credit.

This blog was first published 22 Nov 2012.  It was updated 13 Dec 2012, 26 Dec 2012,  April 12, 2013, and September 27, 2013.



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Twitter Question and Answer with Ford Managers

The following question and answer session with Ford C-MAX Chief Engineer John Davis, Chief Electrified Powertrain Engineer Mazen Hammoud and C-MAX Brand Manager Patricia Piedrahita occurred on September 24, 2013.  The questions and answers are not listed in any particular order of importance and do not necessarily follow the session.

Does the high voltage cooling fan(s) continue to run if need be after the C-Max hybrid is shut off? No it only keeps the battery happy when you’re driving ^MH

I’ve used android app “torque” to see instant NUMERICAL MPG, which c-max doesn’t have, please put that in next firmware update please. Great suggestion! We will take it back to our gauge engineering team.

Can I upgrade my hybrid battery to an Energi battery? Unfortunately it would take more than just the battery. Best just to buy a C-Max Energi.

I’m not experience with an electric car & haven’t driven one. What’s the estimated monthly savings of this vehicle over gas? When in EV mode, cost is about 1/2 that of gas. If you use Value Charging it’s about a quarter. ^PP

Break-in took a long time on the C-max. Close to 5000 miles for my car. Are there efforts underway to shorten this time? To maximize fuel economy, we minimize the engine run time so the longer break-in time is inherent to great fuel economy ^MH

Does it make sense to use to use ECO cruise and grade assist together to improve mpg? It’s always a good idea to use ECO cruise whenever you can and you only use grade assist when you’re driving on grade. ^JD

Is the final drive ratio the same in Hybrid & Energi? No the final drive ratios are different. Hybrid is 2.57:1 and Energi is 2.91:1. ^JD

Are you surprised by the CMax community’s mixed response to the recent FE upgrade? Most people will experience an improvement but it will vary; it addresses high speed, climate control, short trips …to know the magnitude of the fuel economy improvement, it’s best to let it stabilize over 30 days.

In a commute of say 30 miles on the Energi, with 50% highway, should I switch EV off on highway and turn it back on in city? Yes – I would drive in the hybrid EV later mode on the highway and switch to EV now in the city. ^MH

Does braking harder generate more current? No – actually braking softer & smoother allows you to recapture more of the available energy. Plan your stops! ^MH

What is the anticipated overall battery life? The battery is designed to last for the life of the vehicle. ^MH

What’s your favorite feature on the C-Max? We just polled the room. ^PP and ^MH love the brake coach feature. ^PP’s even gotten 100% score! ^JD loves the one-handed fold-flat rear seat. All agree the car’s super fun to drive.

What is the proper use of the grade assist button on the C-max shifter and how does it affect fuel economy? With proper use of grade assist button, it allows you to maintain speed downhill & regenerate without driving the brake ^MH

Are you getting closer to making hybrids more comparable in price to a gas-fueled vehicle? C-MAX Hybrid is the lowest priced hybrid utility in the market at $25,995. ^PP With newest generation EVs, we’ve reduced development costs by 25% and continue to work on this everyday. ^PP

What is the battery technology that Ford uses for its electric vehicles? We chose lithium ion. It packs more power in less space.

The clock in my CMAX Microsoft Sync dashboard is always wrong never in “Sync.” Any plans to fix? I had the same problem and the MFT update totally fixed it. It’s available at the dealer now. ^MH I had the upgrade too, but SYNC clock still doesn’t work and the voice command is useless. Any way we might get iOS in the Car?

Can you explain, in layman’s terms, the main differences between the Hybrid SEL & the Energi? The features are largely the same, but Energi is a Plug-In hybrid that gives you up to 21 miles of pure EV.

My family lives 2000 miles away how many times would I need to recharge on a trip home? C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid lets you drive like an EV and for long trips can go 620 miles on 1 tank of gas and 1 charge. ^PP

Arches and Canyonlands National Parks on Less Than One Tank

Ford C-Max Energi near Courthouse Towers

Ford C-Max Energi near Courthouse Towers in Arches National Park

My first road trip was a four-day Labor Day Weekend trip to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.  I’ve been putting a lot of “hybrid” miles on our new Ford C-Max Energi.  I haven’t been driving fast (almost always 65 MPH or slower).  I try to travel as far as possible on EV when the electric motor is efficient.  When ascending elevation, I use the ICE (internal combustion engine) and then let off the accelerator as soon as possible near the crest of the hill and run in EV.  I’ve also used the pulse and glide technique, using the ICE to gain speed somewhat faster than necessary, let off the accelerator a couple MPH and then let the Energi glide in EV.  Probably more than anything, I just sit back, relax, enjoy music and try not to be in a rush.

I filled the tank at a gas station close to my house on departure and return.  I started with a full charge with the C-Max Energi in EV Later mode.  I used the excess electricity when I thought the electric engine would be most efficient.  The trip was 564.2 miles according to the odometer.  The gas pump display stated I used 12.666 gallons at $44.95.  According to the C-Max Energi’s display, I used 4.1 kWh and 11.73 gallons.  The C-Max displayed my MPGe for the trip as 47.5.

I visited the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park stopping for short hikes.  My first stop was False Kiva at sunset.  It’s a classic photo location and it wasn’t a disappointment.  The sunset was spectacular.

False Kiva in Canyonlands National Park

False Kiva in Canyonlands National Park

I then spent the night taking nightscape photos at Mesa Arch.  I spent the entire night at the Arch (I slept for a hour or so without pad or bag on the slickrock, no food, camping gear, etc. – just water).  It was quite warm.  The classic photo op of Mesa Arch at sunrise was worth it too.

Mesa Arch at Sunrise

Mesa Arch at Sunrise

I spent the next three days with family in Arches National Park and the Moab area.  Every night I drove to the Windows section of Arches at night for photography.  There were a lot of other tourists and photographer’s there every night, but not as many as during the day.

North Window Arch and Milky Way

North Window Arch and The Milky Way


I love the many spectacular locations nearby on the Colorado Plateau.  Arches was quite crowded though.  One location near the Devil’s Garden Campground turned out to be a favorite without the crowds.  Broken Arch at sunrise is spectacular.

Broken Arch at Sunrise

Broken Arch at Sunrise

I’m getting to know the Energi better.  I really enjoy driving it.