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by Tim Beissmann

Ford has unveiled the 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and the C-MAX Hybrid people movers at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit overnight.

The C-MAX Energi will become Ford’s first ever plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The ‘Energi’ nameplate is expected to become the Blue Oval’s naming designation for future plug-in models. The Aston Martin-style lower grille also appears to be establishing itself as a key feature of Ford’s eco-friendly family design language.

Operating in a similar mode to the Chevrolet Volt plug-in, the C-MAX Energi will have an extended range of more than 800km by drawing on both electric and petrol power using a lithium-ion battery pack, which Ford says is around half the weight of a nickel-metal-hydride battery. The Volt’s total range (electric and petrol) is just 610km.

Ford says the battery pack in the Energi will fully recharge from a standard 120-volt power outlet if plugged in overnight.

Like the Focus Electric revealed yesterday, both C-MAX models will benefit from the MyFord Touch driver connect system and the new MyFord Mobile application, which allows drivers to remain in contact with their car at all times and – among many other things – check its charge status and range at any time.

The Energi and the Hybrid will both launch in North America next year before going on sale in Europe in 2013.

The C-MAX Energi and Hybrid are two of at least 10 vehicles Ford plans to build off its new global C-car platform. Ford says the platform will be sold in 120 markets and will account for more than two million sales every year.

The C-MAX – despite its hatchback styling and minivan-like load-carrying ability – has never really been a serious contender for the Australian market. There are no plans for either the C-MAX Energi or Hybrid to join the local line-up in the short term.

Ford has already outlined plans to release five new alternative fuel vehicles in the US by 2013. The two C-MAX models join the Focus Electric and the Transit Connect Electric commercial van as those confirmed by the company.

A second hybrid electric vehicle will be announced later this year, before going on sale in North America and Europe in 2012.




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