Ford brought with it to the Paris Auto Show more details on its new C-Max hybrid plans, including noting this particular vehicle platform will be the first hybrid and plug-in hybrid designs coming into Europe in 2013. Also of note with the hybrids is the use of a special powersplit architecture for better fuel efficiency.
Ford said that this powersplit design makes use of a a high-efficiency Atkinson-cycle engine in combination with a high-voltage electric traction motor generator and a lithium-ion battery system to work together or separately to maximize efficiency. The engine also can operate independently of vehicle speed, charging the batteries or providing power to the wheels as needed. The motor alone can provide sufficient power to the wheels in low-speed, low-load conditions, and work with the engine at higher speeds.
With the plug-in hybrid, Ford noted, it will first operate in charge-depletion mode when started up. When the battery has been depleted or certain conditions are met, it switches to charge-sustaining hybrid mode for continued optimal fuel efficiency. After the battery is depleted, the vehicle will drive like a regular hybrid electric vehicle. Like other plug-in vehicles, the C-Max plug-in hybrid’s battery can be charged via plugging the vehicle into the electrical grid.
“A plug-in hybrid owner will make fewer trips to the pump to refuel, because of its all-electric mode capability,” said Lisa Drake, chief engineer for Ford’s Global Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicle programs, in a statement. “They’ll be able to conveniently recharge their plug-in hybrid at home overnight. And they’ll never have to think about the vehicle’s electric range, because the plug-in hybrid seamlessly shifts to petrol when needed.”