The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is Ford’s first PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle).
There is an interesting Ph.D. dissertation by Baha Mohammed Al-Alawi at Colorado State University entitled, “Techno-economic analysis and decision making for PHEV benefits to society, consumers, policymakers and automakers.” There is a lot in this dissertation but in the conclusion it states that Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles with 20 miles of electric range (PHEVs such as the C-Max Energi) are more cost effective than conventional hybrids (such as the Prius or C-Max) or ones with larger battery storage with a 60-mile range. In addition, it states that the only way for automakers to meet the new CAFE standards is with PHEVs. If this conclusion is correct, the C-Max Energi appears to be positioned well in the marketplace.
Here’s the relevant statements in the conclusion, “The results of phase I analysis (Chapter Three) showed that in many vehicle classes, PHEVs [Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles such as the C-Max Energi] with 20 miles of electric vehicle range [the range of the C-Max Energi] have a lower cost of CAFE compliance than both grid-independent HEVs [Hybrids, such as the Prius] and PHEVs with 60 miles of electric vehicle range. The baseline results show that in both the passenger car and light truck fleets, PHEVs have a lower cost of compliance with CAFE regulations than conventional HEVs. [Page 143] … Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles combine a reduction in air emission damages and oil dependency with economic benefits to consumers. HEVs can increase the fleet fuel economy but PHEVs are the most economically efficient vehicle to meet the proposed footprint CAFE standards for both passenger car and light truck fleets. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle are found to be the most successful technology to be able to meet the proposed footprint CAFE standards over the next few years. A scenario without high PHEV technology cannot increase the US fleets fuel economy to meet the required footprint CAFE standards. To double the average fuel economy of new US cars and light trucks by 2030, PHEV technology must be considered. Our analysis show that low HEV, high HEV and medium HEV/PHEV scenario will increase the U.S. new vehicles sales CAFE but cannot double the U.S. fleet fuel economy to meet the proposed footprint CAFE over the period of 2010 to 2030 [Page 145-146].” The text in square brackets and the bold type was added for clarification and emphasis.