Ford C-Max Energi: cheapest plug-in hybrid yet (after rebate)

Ford releases pricing of its 2013 plug-in hybrid. With federal rebate, Ford C-Max Energi Plug-in will cost less than $30,000 – and less than a 2012 Prius.   

  • close
    After the federal rebate, the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is the cheapest plug-in hybrid yet to be sold in North America.
    Courtesy of Ford Motor Co.
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

It’s official: not only does the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-in hybrid travel further in all-electric mode than the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid, but it will cost less too. 

As Ford detailed last night, its first plug-in hybrid will retail for $33,750, has a combined gasoline + electric range of 550 miles, is expected to get a combined EPA rating of 95MPGe, and will go on sale later this year. 

It will join the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, a non plug-in hybrid due to go on sale shortly for around $26,000.

Recommended: Disclosure in the Caymans: Global walls of financial secrecy are falling

Bigger battery = bigger tax credit

The astute reader will note that at $32,760 including destination, the base level 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid has a list price lower than the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi.

However, because Federal tax credits towards plug-in hybrids are directly proportional to the size of the battery pack in each car, the Ford C-Max Energi qualifies for a $3,750 tax credit, not the $2,500 that buyers of the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid can claim.

2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid

After incentives, C-Max Energi wins

Applying the full $3,750 Federal tax credit reduces the effective price of the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi to a more palatable $29,995. 

The post-tax credit of the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid by contrast, is $30,260, making the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi the cheapest plug-in hybrid to go on sale to date. 

For base level models, the price difference isn’t that great. At the higher end, with high-spec versions of both cars, the difference is well over $3,000.

Spec both cars to the extreme, and a fully loaded C-Max Energi comes in at $37,435 before incentives, beating the $40,000+ fully-loaded Prius plug-in.

That isn’t to say either that the C-Max Energi misses out on features: it doesn’t. 

In fact, with a premium Sony audio system with MyFord Touch, HD satellite radio, navigation, leather-trimmed, heated seats, parking assistance, panoramic sunroof, and handsfree power liftgate, we think the C-Max Energi gives the Prius Plug-in hybrid some serious competition.   

Order at dealers soon

Although sales of the C-Max Energi won’t start until later this year, Ford says its plug-in hybrid will be available to order at select Ford dealers -- ostensibly ones certified to sell its 2012 Ford Focus Electric -- very soon. 

If you can’t wait, or live outside the current Ford Electric Vehicle launch markets, you can visit Ford’s website to build and price your own C-Max Energi.

Just remember: like all plug-in vehicle tax credits, you have to claim your credit back after buying the vehicle, meaning you’ll need to pay the dealer full list price and not the effective post-credit price. 

RELATED: 10 coolest cars you've never heard of

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.


We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.