Ford C-Max plug-in hybrid on its way

Based on conventional five-seat versions of the popular MPV, the C-Max Energi uses a battery to drive electric motors and power the car on electric power.

However, a small engine is also in place to extend the range to up to 500 miles, says Ford, making the range longer than the smaller Vauxhall Ampera, which comes to the UK in 2012.

The C-Max Energi uses the same platform as the all-new C-Max released in the UK last year, but comes with energy-saving technology to make the most of the hybrid powertrain.

This includes the result of Ford’s link up with Microsoft, MyFord Touch. The technology will be used in all of Ford’s electric vehicles and helps drivers maximise fuel efficiency by planning eco-friendly routes, managing battery recharging and extending the electric range.

A production version of the Ford C-Max Energi is expected to arrive in 2013. It may have company, because Ford has also revealed a full hybrid version of the MPV alongside the plug-in hybrid model in Detroit.

The C-Max Hybrid uses a similar set-up to the Ford Fusion Hybrid saloon, which is only available in the US. Using lighter batteries, the C-Max Hybrid is expected to offer better fuel economy than the saloon.

The Ford C-Max hybrid is described as ‘the next generation full hybrid version of the five-passenger multi-activity vehicle’ by Ford, however a release date has not been confirmed.

"By providing a variety of electrified vehicles, we are making it easier for our customers to embrace this fuel-saving technology," said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company.

"This strategy is true to our heritage of making innovative technology available to as many people as possible and to our vision of developing great products, building a strong business and contributing to a better world."