The Ford C-Max Energi is manufactured in the U.S.A. (Michigan Assembly Plant) and sold in the U.S.A. and Canada. Ford announced that the C-Max Energi will be sold in Europe in 2014 but manufactured in Michigan rather than the plant in Spain where the European C-Max is made. Although C-Max Energi sales are restricted to the U.S.A. and Canada, it is interesting to note where it stands relative to worldwide sales of plug-in vehicles – hybrid (PHEV) and electric only (BEV). There were more than 200,000 plug-in vehicles sold worldwide in 2013. The C-Max Energi accounts for about 3% of worldwide sales and is the 8th most popular plug-in worldwide last year. The Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Prius Plug-in, Tesla Model S, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Renault Zoe, and Volvo V60 Diesel Plug-in are all ahead of the C-Max Energi, in that order. The Leaf is by far the most popular plug-in, accounting for 23% of worldwide EV sales in 2013. The first four vehicles are available in the U.S. and Canada. The Outlander is expected to be sold in the U.S.A. in 2015. For more information, visit the ev-sales blog.
Paice LLC filed a lawsuit yesterday, February 19, 2014, claiming the C-Max and other Ford Hybrids infringe its patents on electric and internal combustion engine optimization to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions without a loss of performance. Ford licensed one patent in a 2010 agreement. The companies agreed not to litigate over other patents until January 1, 2014 to give time for a settlement. Apparently, the companies couldn’t agree on a settlement. Ford, seeking to preempt the lawsuit, filed a complaint in December in the Delaware Chancery Court seeking a court ruling that Paice couldn’t file a complaint under the terms of their 2010 agreement. Paice has also sued Hyundai and Kia over the same patents.
A July 19, 2010, article in TechCrunch said, “Paice calls itself a ‘startup technology development’ firm. Because it doesn’t manufacture the technology it tests, patents and promotes, many have accused Paice of being ‘patent trolls.'”
An interesting article was published October 5, 2009 by HybridCars explaining the Toyota and Paice hybrid patent claims. The lawsuit filed by Paice against Ford may have some aspects in common.
The Center for Sustainable Energy of the State of California has just $11,064,574 remaining in its rebate fund as of February 9th, 2014. This amount will only last for a short while longer (see the CVRP Rebates by Month graph). The Ford C-Max Energi qualifies for a $1500 cash rebate for those leasing or buying an Energi that is registered in California for 36 months after the lease or purchase. The rebate application is located at their website. California added funds last year to the program, but there isn’t any guarantee that it will be repeated this year.
Another substantial benefit for buyers of the Ford C-Max Energi in California is the Green Sticker issued by the California Air Resources Board. The pass, good through January 1, 2019, is available to the first 40,000 applicants. The California Air Resources Board lists qualifying vehicles besides the Energi. They won’t last much longer. As of December 2013, 28,739 had been issued. About 2,500 are being issued each month currently. More details are available on the Clean Air Vehicle Decal program.
In addition to California specific incentives, there is still a $4,007 federal tax credit. If you buy the vehicle, you will need an income tax liability to offset the tax credit. If you lease an Energi, Ford Credit (or another leasing company) will receive the credit and should pass it on to you through the lease (make sure they do).
There are other incentives that apply to cities throughout California. These Tesla and Department of Energy web pages also list incentives that apply to the Ford C-Max Energi. If you live in the San Joaquin Valley, the Drive Clean program gives C-Max Energi owners an additional $2000 rebate.
Finally, Ford offers 0% for 60 months and a $3000 rebate on the purchase of a new 2013 C-Max Energi until March 31, 2014. There is also a competitive lease offer of a $1000 rebate from Ford on a purchase or lease if you currently lease a competitive vehicle (or the lease ended within the last 30 days).
In summary, if you live in the San Joaquin Valley and have a lease on a competitive vehicle, you can get $4,007 from the Federal Government, $1500 from the State, $2000 from the San Joaquin Valley, $4000 from Ford and 0% for five years if you buy the vehicle. In addition, you can get a Green Sticker for the vehicle that will increase its value. You should also be able to bargain with the dealership and pay pretty close to invoice. More than $11,000 below invoice on a new Ford C-Max Energi is possible. Now that is a pretty sweet deal.