Low Energi: Production Ends on Ford's C-Max Plug-in, With Hybrid to Follow

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
low energi production ends on ford s c max plug in with hybrid to follow

It’s a near-silent swan song for a duo of electrified Ford models. The Ford C-Max, which debuted in late 2012 in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid form, hit its sales peak during its first full year on the market, declining every year since.

As Ford Motor Company shakes up its U.S. production landscape — ironically, to bolster production of trucks and SUVs — the ungainly-looking C-Max is on its way to the cemetery. The automaker has confirmed the ceasing of production of the C-Max Plug-in, with the Hybrid variant to follow in the middle of next year.

The discontinuation, confirmed by Ford in a message to Green Car Reports, comes as Ford Ranger pickup and Bronco SUV. The $700 million upgrade means the slow-selling C-Max bites the dust, with production of the compact Focus sent to China.

Both models were originally expected to set up shop in Mexico, but Ford’s decision to kibosh its proposed plant saw one model culled and the other sent on a long boat ride.

“Ford C-Max Energi production has ended,” Dan Jones, Ford’s North America Car Communications Manager, told Green Car Reports. “We will continue to make C-Max Hybrid at Michigan Assembly Plant until mid-2018.”

Production of the Ranger is expected to commence at Michigan Assembly in late 2018. As for the automaker’s green cred, there’s newer electrified vehicles in the works, including a fully electric crossover due out in 2020.

The C-Max Hybrid was America’s eighth best-selling hybrid vehicle in October, capturing 3.71 percent of the U.S. hybrid market. Sales of the plugless variant sank over 18 percent over the first 10 months of 2017, even with October sales rising over 33 percent compared to the same month a year prior.

The C-Max Energi, on the other hand, was the fifth best-selling plug-in hybrid in October, making up 8.54 percent of that particular segment. Sales of the plug-in variant sank 16.7 percent, year-over-year, though year-to-date sales are actually up over 20 percent.

Ford’s green twins earned a black eye early in their lifespan. The automaker faced criticism and lawsuits after real-world fuel economy didn’t match the vehicles’ lofty EPA ratings. The regulator was forced to dial back the stated fuel economy of both models, with the hybrid version receiving two haircuts. Combined fuel economy for the latter model fell from 47 mpg to 40 mpg.

Ultimately, the Blue Oval was also forced to hand over some extra green to these early green car buyers, compensating for the extra fuel consumed.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Join the conversation
2 of 66 comments
  • Wheatridger Wheatridger on Nov 13, 2017

    Glad to hear from others with real positive experiences of the car. Long term reliability remains to be seen. The oldest cars, 2013s suffered many recalls and some major transmission failures, most handled under warranty. Personally, I wouldn't buy one of those, but neither would you. Consumer Reports now recommends these as new and used cars. The only US C-Max forum I've found is small enough to read fully in a week or so, which I did, of course. There is no, repeat, no subforum for engine issues. Infotainment problems do arise, as in all cars. There's little talk of battery replacement yet. My new '17 Energi came with zero defects, and my daughter's 50,000 mile 2014 Hybrid has needed no work since purchased in May. Seems like a reasonable risk, for a car that costs about a nickel a mile in fuel and watts. Don't forget the 2017's new surprise feature- you can turn off the center display screen when you're not using it. Every car should offer that distraction-killer, and I was delighted to find mine does (the 2014 doesn't).

  • Jcf2242 Jcf2242 on Nov 10, 2020

    Hello. Bought '17 C-Max SE hybrid with leather in 2020. Great car. On 1,000+ mi trip which included interstate speeds, in town & state roads avg over that trip was 40.5 mpg & that was with 3 passengers in car & 2 carry on bags & some A/C use. Very quiet inside under normal operation, comfortable seats, sufficient power. If you set cruise ctrl on 65 mph and stay in right lane, you can obtain 46 mpg on a 60 mi round trip to work. 42-44 mpg routine on such a trip. & very reasonable cost to buy used. I am very pleased with car overall. No issues with seat comfort as some mentioned. Only downsides: turning radius not as compact as would be expected for this size of car & no spare tire--but I bought one aftermarket. My perspective is, it is a great driving, practical, comfortable, roomy, quiet car, that just happens to get excellent fuel economy.

  • Charles I had one and loved it . Seated 7 people . Easy to park , great van
  • Jay Mason Your outdoor space will get better every year with a pergola. A horizontal, pole-supported framework for climbing plants is called a pergola. It creates a closed off area. pergola builder denton texas by Denton Custom Decks provide cover for outdoor gatherings. They would be more than happy to assist you with the pergola's framework.
  • Alan I would think Ford would beef up the drive line considering the torque increase, horse power isn't a factor here. I looked at a Harrop supercharger for my vehicle. Harrop offered two stages of performance. The first was a paltry 100hp to the wheels (12 000AUD)and the second was 250hp to the wheels ($20 000 (engine didn't rev harder so torque was significantly increased)). The Stage One had no drive line changes, but the Stage Two had drive line modifications. My vehicle weighs roughly the same as a full size pickup and the 400'ish hp I have is sufficient, I had little use for another 100 let alone 250hp. I couldn't see much difference in the actual supercharger setup other than a ratio change for the drive of the supercharger, so that extra $8 000 went into the drive line.
  • ToolGuy Question: F-150 FP700 ( Bronze or Black) supercharger kit is legal in 50 states, while the Mustang supercharger kit is banned in California -- why??
  • ToolGuy Last picture: Labeling the accelerator as "play" and the brake pedal as "pause" might be cute, but it feels wrong. It feels wrong because it is wrong, and it is wrong because Calculus.Sidebar: I have some in-laws who engage the accelerator and brake on a binary on/off all-in basis. So annoying as a passenger.Drive smoothly out there. 🙂