Technology company GE has announced that it will buy 2000 examples of the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid vehicle for its corporate fleet. As part of the partnership between the companies, Ford will also promote the GE WattStation charging system and CNG In A Box fueling device.
The C-Max Energi is essentially a plug-in version of the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, albeit with a larger battery pack. Ford says the C-Max Energi can travel 21 miles on electrical power alone, and a total of 620 miles on a full battery charge and full tank of gasoline. When the lithium-ion battery's charge is depleted, the C-Max Energi operates like a conventional hybrid car thanks to its 141-hp, 2.0-liter inline-four gasoline engine. The car is rated at 100 mpge combined, a figure that beats the competing Toyota Prius plug-in's EPA rating of 95 mpge.
GE already has more than 3000 alternative-fuel vehicles, like hybrids and CNG-fueled cars, in its fleet, and hopes to eventually bolster than number to 25,000 vehicles. GE and Ford will work with the Georgia Institute of Technology to study the driving and charging habits of GE employees using the C-Max Energi, with the hope that data can help inform future battery and charger upgrades.
"Understanding driving and charging habits is key to advancing vehicle and charging infrastructure,"Georgia Tech professor Bert Bras said in a statement. "Through access to vehicle data, we can accelerate research and development of new technologies."
The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi costs $33,745 after destination charges and before any tax rebates. The car goes on sale in 19 markets this fall: Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; New York, New York; Orlando, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; San Diego, California; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Tucson, Arizona; and Washington, D.C. Ford will make the C-Max Energi nationwide in early 2013.