Ford Sued over Use of Hybrid Technology


Ford C-Max Energi near Courthouse Towers

Ford C-Max Energi near Courthouse Towersin Arches National Park.

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.

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Ford C-Max Energi October Sales up 44% from Last Month

2013 Ford C-Max Energi

2013 Ford C-Max Energi

With strong incentives for the Ford C-Max Energi in October, sales were up 44% from September and hit the best month this year.  Complete data on U.S. Ford C-Max Hybrid, Energi, Toyota Prius V and Plug-in sales are followed in another blog.  The Toyota Prius Plug-in also had an exceptional month with sales up 82% from September and 11% from October 2012.

Ford noted that its share of the plug-in hybrid market grew from 0 to 34% over the last 13 months since the C-Max Energi first shipped.  In a press release, it said, “California continues to account for 38 percent of all Ford plug-in hybrid vehicle sales, but plug-ins are strengthening in the midwestern and eastern regions. New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia combine to make up 32 percent of the C-MAX Energi market. Those same cities make up 34 percent of the market for Fusion Energi. New York alone comes close to unseating San Francisco as the second most popular market for Fusion Energi.”

InsideEVs speculates that the MSRP of the 2014 Ford C-Max Energi will fall when pricing is announced.

This blog was first published on November 4th with a revised version that included a Ford press release on November 5th.

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My Favorite Car Is Trashed by ConsumerReports and the Media

Ford C-Max Energi: ConsumerReports Trashes It; I Enjoy It

Ford C-Max Energi: ConsumerReports Trashes It; I Enjoy It

If you haven’t heard, ConsumerReports has given the Ford C-Max Energi the worse rating of all vehicles.  My favorite car is being trashed.  The media is giving it lots of coverage.  I haven’t paid the $6.95 to subscribe for one month to to see their findings myself.  So far, I haven’t had issues with our Ford C-Max Energi after driving it over 6,000 miles in the last two months.  Despite ConsumerReports reliability prediction, I think it’s a great car.  I’ve included below a variety of quotes from media outlets that will be of interest to those following the C-Max.

The LA Times, “The five least reliable vehicles are the Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, the turbocharged Ford Escape, the Mini Countryman, the Ford C-MAX hybrid and the Nissan Pathfinder. … Plug-in hybrids – cars that can run for some distance powered by electricity before a gasoline engine kicks in and extends the range by hundreds of miles – scored poorly in the survey. …While the Prius ranked as Toyota’s most reliable car, the plug-in version of the Prius was the automaker’s lowest-scoring vehicle. Similarly, the plug-in version of Ford’s C-Max hybrid ranked as its least reliable vehicle overall.” (NBC Channel), “The least reliable car in the survey is Ford’s C-Max Energy plug-in hybrid. … But the news for Ford and Lincoln was not so good. Ford and Lincoln have had trouble with the MyTouch ‘infotainment’ system for the last two years. The survey found that complaints went down after Ford updated the system, but the rate of problems is still high.”, “At Toyota, the Camry, RAV-4 and Prius-V were all dropped from the recommended list after receiving a “poor” rating in a crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. … The brand’s C-Max Energi was rated its worst model.”, “Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac brands all beat Ford, which lagged at 26th out of 28 places. Ford bested only its own Lincoln brand and Mini. … The Ford C-Max plug-in hybrid got the worst overall score, and the regular C-Max hybrid fared nearly as poorly.  … Other than Ford C-Max and Ford Fusion hybrid, hybrid and electric cars continued to rank well for their reliability. The Nissan Leaf electric car and hybrids Toyota Prius, Lexus ES 300h and Honda CR-Z all ranked among the top models.  … If you are or soon will be shopping for a new or used car, look up the models you are considering on the CR reliability list. It could save you money and trouble later.”, “Consumer Reports is one of the most widely trusted names for consumers shopping for cars, and companies try to ensure their vehicles earn the magazine’s coveted “recommended” rating. …The vehicle with the top predicted reliability score was the 2014 Subaru Forester SUV, while Ford Co’s C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid vehicle received the worst score, Consumer Reports said.”

And direct from ConsumerReports, “The worst score goes to the Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, with the regular C-Max Hybrid not faring much better. To be clear, this should not cast a negative light on other electric cars or hybrids. In fact, the Toyota Prius, Lexus ES 300h, Toyota Prius C, and Honda CR-Z hybrids, along with the pure-electric Nissan Leaf, were among the top models in reliability. This is more of a Ford issue.”

If you want to follow what forum users are saying:

Ford C-Max Hybrid Forum

Ford C-Max Energi Forum

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