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.
Bigger battery = bigger tax credit
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.