View Full Version : My new plug in car.

Rick Potter
01-27-2014, 7:27 PM
Last year I had solar panels put on the house, which so far produce more than I use. I have been looking at plug in hybrids, and posted about the Chevy Volt. I finally decided to get a Ford C-Max Energi. It is just like other hybrids, in that the motor goes on and off at stops, and saves gas. The plug in part means it has a large battery that the car can go about 20 miles on, so if you do a lot of local driving like me, you can do a lot of running around without the motor coming on. Even though the Volt goes farther on battery power, I got the Ford because it is more like a little suv, with lots of headroom. I couldn't get in some of the cars I tried without really ducking my head.

Anyway, I have had the car for two months now, putting 1030 miles on it (I have other cars), and today was the first time I put gas in it. Let the pump click three times and the gas gage showed more than when I got it (with a full tank). 4.98 gallons. That pencils out to 206 MPG for the amount of gas I used in 1030 miles.

Yes, I know that was not my total energy use, but my November electric bill was $8, December was $7, taken off of the $260 I overproduced this summer......so, from my narrow standpoint, that was the total cost of fuel.

Now, the car shows energy used, MPG, regenerative braking miles added, and who knows what else..........but none of it adds up to the odometer reading. So......In my particular case, the fuel I paid for does add up to 206 MPG. I realize it can be added up numerous ways, but in my case it still adds up to 5 gal of gas in 1000 miles, no other costs.

Let me say that this is probably as good as I will ever see. It has been a very mild winter here, and I hardly used the heater or air conditioner, and with the weather never getting real cold, and lots of sun even in the winter, it is kind of a best case scenario for the car. I drove normally like I always do, and that includes some freeway driving at 70+ on the battery, although if I was going more than a few miles, I kicked in the motor to save juice for around town where it excels.

No, I don't expect the car to 'pay for itself'. I was ready to buy a new car anyway. It was going to replace my Jeep, but the wife decided she wanted to keep it too (like she always does). I also do not factor the solar system either. It was already there, and the way it is working out, it will pay for itself in 5 years or so.

I have had hot rods, muscle cars, dune buggies and jeeps over the years, and this has turned out to be kind of neat for an old guy. It is actually a very nice car, and my wife steals it a lot.

Rick Potter

Art Mann
01-27-2014, 8:35 PM
Can you post a picture?

Rick Potter
01-27-2014, 9:34 PM
Sorry Art, but if you just google C-Max Energi, you will find more than you want. It is not nearly as well known as the Prius, or Volt, but has been around since 2012, I think. All C-Max cars are hybrids, like the Prius we are all used to, the C-Max Energi is the plug in model, which actually costs less with the rebates.

Art Mann
01-29-2014, 4:52 PM
I wonder why this vehicle is so low profile in the industry. I am not a car fanatic but I hadn't previously heard of it. I went to the web page and it has some very interesting specifications. There is one number that is conspicuously absent. That is the fuel economy when the battery is discharged and the vehicle is being propelled by the engine. With such a short battery range, I would be forced to operate this way for a significant part of the time.

ken masoumi
01-29-2014, 5:19 PM
I need to buy a small truck soon and wonder if a hybrid car or truck could be reliable in our cold Canadian winters.common sense tells me to go for a tried and true truck with gas engines only ,where I am I don't see many cars or truck with Diesel engines not mention hybrid.

Phil Thien
01-29-2014, 6:01 PM
That is a very sharp looking car, I look forward to detailed reports about range and other aspects!

Rick Potter
01-29-2014, 6:33 PM
It's low profile because Ford got blasted by the media because the C-Max didn't achieve the advertised MPG. The Fusion uses the same platform and Ford was allowed to use the Fusion figures for the C-Max. Didn't work out. They ended up dropping them from 47 to 43 (I think), then reflashed the computers so a few things were optimized. This was on the regular C-Max hybrid, not the plug in Energi. The sticker on my Energi says 43 MPG gas only. Another spot it says 100MPGe, which I am not going to spend time figuring out. My dash gage right now says 160MPG combined, and 63, regular.

These figures vary every time I drive it, so I really don't pay attention to them, as there are waaay to many variables. As I said above...in my particular case electricity 0, gas 5 gal, MPG 206.

I doubt I would consider one in Canada, with less sunshine and colder weather. I am in the sweet spot for this type car with mild weather, lots of sun, and solar panels. That's why I got it. Even so, as I said, I doubt I will ever see that figure again.

Forgot. Phil, the electric range is about 20 miles, which works out well for running around town. If it runs out of juice, it has a 14 gallon gas tank, and should get me to Phoenix just fine.

Oh, yeah...........it parks itself too. It's weird.

Jim Matthews
01-29-2014, 6:39 PM
PV panels on the roof of your home are the killer app for EVs.

Is your electric bill from net metering over a year, or
does the utility cut you a check for production?

I couldn't work the numbers in my favor, at 41 degrees North Latitude.
Break even for me (at roughtly 6500 miles driven annually) was 18 years.

I pray I don't live here, that long.

Rick Potter
01-29-2014, 6:49 PM

The solar panels will pay for themselves in 5 years, but not the car. My bill is net metering over a year period. Right now they owe me $200 worth of electricity, but I imagine that with the car, I can make it come out pretty even. The excess production from the roof will not get me much, as buying electricity costs 13 cents on the lowest tier, and if I produce too much at the end of the year they will refund me 3 cents. That is one reason I got this car, to use the excess. Another reason is because the plug in model cost's less than the regular Hybrid C-Max because of rebates ($5507).

Bob Rufener
01-30-2014, 11:27 AM

Your situation sounds like a win-win-win sitation. Using your excess electric production to power your vehicle makes sound sense. I hope the vehicle outperforms your expectatons.

Leigh Betsch
01-30-2014, 12:21 PM
I'm sure I don't a enough sun in South Dakota but we do have wind. I looked at a wind generator in the past but with $.03 buy back for excess energy it didn't make much sense. Maybe using the excess to power a car would make the pay back work. Perhaps I should give it another look, I sure would hate climbing the tower to grease the bearings..........

Rick Potter
01-30-2014, 1:47 PM
No way Leigh,

I cannot imagine a plug in car being to your advantage. Even though you live in SOUTH Dakota, it's not mild weather like THE South, Southern CA., or the Southwest. In your case, I would suggest looking at Diesel, or maybe Natural Gas, if it is available your area yet.

Art Mann
01-30-2014, 2:40 PM
Thanks for the owner info Rick. The only kind of hybrid I would consider is the plug in kind. Even without the benefit of solar charging, plug-in electrical energy is more economical than gasoline and I would want to take advantage of that. I live in a wide open suburban/country environment so 20 miles is not a lot of battery range where I live. However, couple that with really good gasoline fuel economy and such a vehicle might be cost effective. Anyway, car shopping is cheap. It is car buying that is expensive.

Jessica Pierce-LaRose
01-30-2014, 4:03 PM
How does the electric range on these things change with weather? A plug-in isn't anything we can do now (shared parking, with our house on the wrong side to run an outlet to at a reasonable expense, plus we're not ready to purchase a new car yet, money-wise) but I have basically an 8 mile commute, and outside of occasional errands where I need more than I can walk home or carry on the bicycle, that's the only time I drive. I bike occasionally in the nice weather, but after a 12 hour shift running around on my feet it's a bit more than I want sometimes. I'm not a huge fan of biking in the winter, particularly with the roads I available to make the commute. (No shoulder on a sketchy stretch of highway that gets scarier when it's dark in the morning in the winter, or a add a few miles to my trip going the long way) As far as I know there's no plug-in at work, and no plans to add one. But if I could make it back and forth on one charge, it might be worth looking at.

Honestly, I'd love replacing one of our two cars with a really stripped down electric plugin-something if we had a garage - a golf cart that could hit 30mph, with a heater and a radio and a reasonably crash ready frame could probably suit our "second car" needs pretty well if my wife and I coordinated things a little better.

Rick Potter
01-31-2014, 12:05 AM
Art, the Volt goes almost twice as far. The Ford just fits me better.

Joshua, the downside for cold weather, is partially because you will be running the heater, which is electric. Cold also affects battery performance somewhat, but I don't know how much. One nice thing is that you can run the heater and preheat or cool the car while you are home drinking coffee, then you use less battery on the drive. Again, where I live this is not a problem that often. The Smart car just started making electric cars. Can't get too much more basic.

Kevin Barnett
01-31-2014, 3:55 PM
Nissan Leaf with 5K miles. Works for us. Fast, fun, but ugly. 106 mpg.

Drops mic and walks away...:D