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When it comes to electrified cars Toyota is the undisputed champion with its popular lineup of Prius models, but Ford is hard at work building brand recognition for its lineup of battery-powered vehicles. Things must be working out well because the Blue Oval is crowing about sales of its plug-in hybrids.
According to a recent study conducted by the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, consumers are more interested in purchasing hybrid-electric vehicles than electric-only vehicles.
The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf initiated a whole new movement in the auto industry. With the realization that an all-electric vehicle can be useful in everyday driving situations thanks to a large battery and more efficient fast charging technology, automakers are hopping on the electric vehicle bandwagon.
“Overall automakers want to be prepared,” says Devin Lindsay, an automotive powertrain analyst from IHS Automotive. “EVs are another tool for automakers to reach out to consumers” he says, mentioning that automakers are taking EVs seriously, rather than just putting a bunch of batteries and motors in an existing product.
It’s interesting to see how automakers make electric cars from the ground up to use only electric propulsion. For example Tesla and Cadillac are all making vehicles that will exclusively be used with an electric powertrain. Others are modifying their current successful vehicles to EVs. Lets take a look at the different EVs that will be arriving soon (or are already here), and learn a bit about the new technology behind it.
Although Toyota has been hyping their new Prius MPV for months, Ford‘s announcement of not one, but two hybrid minivans is sure to take the wind out of Toyota’s sails (no pun intended).
The C-Max Hybrid and Energi (Ford’s name for the plug-in variant) will be 5-seaters only, and use a lithium-ion battery pack, considered to be the next generation of hybrid battery technology. The car will also be built at Ford’s Wayne, Michigan plant, the first plant that will build electric and gasoline vehicles side by side.
The C-Max Energi will offer a number of interesting advantages; the ability to go 500 miles on a single tank of gas (the longest range for any plug-in), the chance to use HOV lanes with only a single occupant (in states such as California, where this is allowed) and fuel economy that bests the Fusion Hybrids 41/36 mpg rating. Ford also claims that the Energi will exceed the Fusion’s EV-only speed of 47 mph.
Visually, the Hybrid and Energi are distinguished by subtle fender badges, with the Energi’s charging port glowing upon connecting with a charging paddle. The Energi will be on sale in 2012, the same time as the Prius minivan. An interesting battle looks to be shaping up, with Ford’s newly resurgent lineup taking on the name in hybrids.
Gallery: Ford C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi