Ford C-Max (fuel economy)

Costs for the Ford C-Max Energi Hybrid

One thing the Ford C-Max Energi Hybrid car is – is fuel efficient. But what does that mean exactly?

We ran some “controlled experiments” regarding range, both with and without “charging” the battery with electricity. See below for results.

Experiment 1: Electric Charge Every Day

Ford C-Max Plugged In fuel economyFor 15 consecutive days and nights, we had access to a friend’s garage and 110v electric outlet to charge the Ford C-Max Energi.

We traveled every day, and “exhausted” the battery every time, sometimes even twice a day. The car was completely charged from 0% to 100% a total of 19 times during this span. And we didn’t alter our driving destinations.

We did, however, drive much more “conservatively” than we are accustomed to. In other words, we drove like eco-conscious hybrid-driving car owners are expected to.

727 miles and consumed 11.25 gallons of gas (at $2 per gallon = $22.50). Ford’s control panel said that was the equivalent to “67.0 MPG,” but our calculator comes up with a different number: 64.6 MPG. No need to be a stickler for details when the “mileage” is so great, right??

BUT WHAT IS THE COST PER MILE? Electricity isn’t free, remember?

Ford C-Max Energi Mileage with charge

How to calculate electricity cost?

See now that’s the tough question. Nowhere in the instruction manual or Ford’s website is a way to calculate the cost of “the other” fuel: Electricity.

I found that perplexing. So I had to dig, dig, dig around to find out some way to estimate the cost of charging the damn thing. One online electric car forum we found suggested that the 110v charger uses 1.3kwh per hour. Aha! Now we can calculate cost per mile!

So, it takes 6.6 hours to fully charge, and approximately 15 cents per kilowatt-hour for the juice. (6.6 x 1.3) x ($0.15) = $1.29 per charge.

$1.29 x 19 charges = $24.50 in electricity.

So $24.50 in juice, $22.50 in gas = $47.00 to drive 727 miles, or 6.5 cents per mile.

Alternatively, if we “converted” the electric cost to equivalent fuel, that would be (47 / 2 = 23.5 gallons), or just 30.9 miles per gallon. Jeez Louise!

6.5 cents per mile with charging it regularly. Note that in your file.

Experiment 2: Drive aggressive on electric

As a short experiment in-between, we wanted to know how long the car would last if we drove “spiritedly!”

Because we did get “up to” 20-22 miles on some charges before it tapped out. How long would it go, say, if you were in a damn hurry?

(Remember, Ford’s advertised “electric only” range is 17 miles.)

The Ford C-Max petered out at around 12 miles of aggressive driving. (almost 10 cents a mile).

Heck, you can’t even drive TOO aggressively, or the engine would still turn on… So you had to top the nutso driving off at about “3 clicks” on the battery gauge. Oh well.

Experiment 3: Hybrid only – no home charging

For our next experiment, we no longer had access to a safe charging location – which pretty much mirrors almost ALL Hoboken residents without private garages.

We also drove relatively conservatively compared to our usual driving style. This meant being “in tune” with the gauges most of the time to prevent the car from switching to gasoline.

The results? 402 miles using 10 gallons of gas – or 40.0 MPG.

Cost per mile? 5 cents per mile.

You read that right – plugging in costs about 30% more than just driving it as a self-generating “hybrid.”

Ford C-Max Energi Mileage withOUT charge

Final notes on Fuel Economy for the Ford C-Max Energi

Overall, we drove 1807 miles in the time we road-tested the Ford C-Max Energi Hybrid. (The final week we just drove it without paying attention to the fuel economy…)

[ ] Total gas purchased: 33.5 gallons = $67.00
[+] Electric Charges: 24 = $31.00
[=] Overall “Fuel” cost: $98.00
———————————————–
Average cost per mile during test: 5.42 cents per mile.

(We snuck in a few extra charges here and there after the experiments above were completed…)

Sure, we can do little shopping trips like to Target in Jersey Cityusing no liquid fuel whatsoever! The birdies, ozone layer and our own frail egos can relax, right?

But what I find the most irritating, is the almost purposeful lack of easy information on how to calculate costs. Sure, there are some “calculators” out there that help, but in this case – the car doesn’t use “MPGe” units, so it’s really just a inaccurate system.

With all these “smart” cars around, I’m sure it wouldn’t be difficult to program in the current electric rates (based on GPS, etc.) and to embed a cost feature into the car itself.

But then again, why would car manufacturers and the government want you to be empowered with actual knowledge?

You just need to “feel good” about your lack of (directly) polluting the environment. Leave the heavy lifting to the power plants and battery and tire makers. You don’t need to be burdened!

Now go eat an organic kale salad and a smoothie and move along! (And don’t forget to brag to your friends about your “eco-friendly” footprint in this world!)

Ford C-Max Energi drive to Jersey City using no gas

*** Footnote 1: We do understand that fuel and energy prices fluctuate – and that there may be a point in time where it might be cost saving to use electricity instead of gasoline. However, that was not the case for this test. Just understand that the “MPG” for this type of vehicle (i.e., a “plug-in hybrid”) is practically useless, and all fuels cost money. ***

*** Footnote 2: Having a dedicated 220v charging port is more efficient, possibly only costing 20% more – rather than 30%. ***

Related Ford C-Max Articles:

  1. Ford C-Max Energi Hybrid / Electric Car
  2. Ford C-Max: First Impressions
  3. Ford C-Max: What is the “Energi?”
  4. Ford C-Max: Features (good and bad)

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