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So as some of you know, I recently leased a loaded 2013 C-Max Energi (NRG) a few days ago, replacing my ’10 GMC Terrain. Goodbye conventional ICE cars (hopefully forever)! I’ve seen a few requests about how it compares to the Volt, so after a few days of driving it around, here’s my initial review of the NRG and how it compares to the Volt.

MSRP of the NRG was $38,795...Ford was offering $9k in leasing incentives on ’13 NRGs, so combined with the $500 college student rebate and the $4k the dealership shaved off the price, I was able to lease for $304 a month for 24 months, with 1k + 1st month’s payment due at signing (10.5k miles/year). Maryland is one of the states that charges full sales tax on the purchase price, btw. Total out of pocket after 24 months will be $8,295. Residual/purchase price is $20.9k.

As for the NRG itself, the Li-on pack is 7.6 kWh, giving an official range of 21 miles. I only got 18.2 EV miles my first day (temps ranging between 35-55, no heating or AC, 60/40 highway driving the speed limit), but I found out later the tires were only at 33-34 psi. After filling them up to 42 psi, I was able drive my normal RT commute of 17 miles with 5 miles of estimated range left after parking at home under similar conditions.

As for charging, I completed a full charge from a completely depleted state using a 240V L2 station at the gym near my home (free! Woohoo), and CP said it took 2 hours 13 minutes to fully charge, using 6.786 kWh. I’ve been told there are about 20% charging losses on L2, so that gives a usable capacity of around 5.4 kWh (~70% of the battery, comparable to the Volt’s ~65%). I’ve seen a figure that L1 charging losses are closer to 30% (12 amps default charging, btw).

As for the (electric) drive, it has 3 drive modes: EV Now (EV only), Auto (blended ICE + generator drive), and EV later (basically hold mode). I’ve pretty much only driven in EV Now mode, so I can’t really comment on the other 2. Driving in EV now is pretty similar to the Volt….just a lot less power. I’ve floored it from a stop, and the NRG can’t compare to the Volt’s off the line speed. Contrary to what I believed previously, flooring the NRG won’t cause the ICE to turn on (like with the PiP), at least in EV now mode. I’ve been told there are certain conditions that the ICE will switch on in EV now (extreme HVAC use combined with lead-footed driving, for example), but for the most part, if you are in EV now mode, you will not be burning any gas. As you can imagine, the overall driving experience is certainly less spirited than the Volt. Of course, I didn’t pick up a NRG for the looks or 0-60 times, so that doesn’t bother me too much. 

My Volt was pretty loaded (I think all I was missing were the polished rims, and expensive paint in my ’12), but this loaded NRG seems to have everything a loaded Volt has, plus some extras. This includes:

- rain-activated wipers
- foot sensor-activated rear hatch (kick under the rear bumper with the key on you, and the hatch opens and closes by itself)
- self parallel parking?! (it will parallel park by itself with limited driver input. I haven’t tested this yet, but I’m thinking it’s more of a gimmick than anything)
- dual zone climate controls (with knobs! And rear vents too)
- 10 way power driver’s seat
- panoramic moon roof! (doesn’t open though)
- 120V outlet accessible to rear passengers. I guess if you want to plug in a laptop or something?

I’d like to specifically comment about the rear storage capacity. The battery eats a LOT of space. Without buying a cargo box of some kind, the NRG cannot replace a SUV, or even a CUV, if you need to haul a decent amount of stuff AND have people sit in the rear. For daily errands (grocery shopping, etc…) it’s fine. Official rated capacity is 19 cubic feet (my Terrain had 31). I was able to find a rear hitch-mounted Thule cargo box that adds 13 cubic feet that will allow us to haul all our camping stuff in the NRG.

So overall, my impressions so far are positive. There are some annoying quirks, like not being able to easily check tires pressures). Ford Sync also seems to a lot more complicated than it needs to be. I don’t have Mylink, so can’t do a direct comparision. The MyFord Mobile app is equally as horrible as Remotelink (slow, glitch).
Also, after charging fully, if you drive off in ‘L’, the ICE will switch on even in EV now mode, as I guess it can’t store any additional charge from regen and needs to ‘burn it off’. That never happened in my Volt. I was scratching my head as to why the ICE kept switching on after departing on a full charge in EV now mode. Turns out I have to drive in ‘D’ for a half mile or so, then switch to ‘L’ to avoid the ICE turning on.

For my family of 4 (2 small kids), the NRG is a compromise vehicle until a true PHEV SUV comes out (anyone? Bueller?), but I believe it will serve me well the next 24 months. And possibly beyond, we’ll see. The Volt definitely is more fun to drive, and looks a lot better too, but the NRG has its perks and fits most of my needs. Feel free to ask any questions. I’ll try to answer.
 

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thanks
what is the driving experience like after the battery is depleted? also with a charge but at 70-75 mph interstate speeds? I test drove one before I bought the volt, and I selected the volt because I though it would not run 70 without the ICE, I think they have modified the software since so that "EV Now" stays pure ev at higher speeds, could you confirm?
 

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Thanks for the report. Your 18 mile range seems about right. Other than the Volt, which reserves some battery, a very good approximation of range is .8 X kWh capacity X 3 miles. This gives 18 miles. Will be interesting to see if that drops over time.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks
what is the driving experience like after the battery is depleted? also with a charge but at 70-75 mph interstate speeds? I test drove one before I bought the volt, and I selected the volt because I though it would not run 70 without the ICE, I think they have modified the software since so that "EV Now" stays pure ev at higher speeds, could you confirm?
I haven't driven it much past 65 yet (ha), but in EV Now, the ICE shouldn't turned on unless you exceed 85 mph. That's what it says, anyways. I've only driven a few miles in 'hybrid' mode, so I can't say a real lot, except the engine sound is similar in noise level to the Volt's ICE. I've never actually driven a true hybrid before, so this is a first.
 

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Thanks so much for your report. Good luck with the C-Max Energi.
 

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can you find a flat surface somewhere and do a 0-60 run in EV-Now mode and give us the time? I've heard people say anything from 10 seconds to 16 seconds. After my test drive, I'm guessing closer to the 16 seconds.

If I ever buy an energi car, I'll probably be driving it in EV-Now mode most of the time. So the low performance in that mode is irritating.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
can you find a flat surface somewhere and do a 0-60 run in EV-Now mode and give us the time? I've heard people say anything from 10 seconds to 16 seconds. After my test drive, I'm guessing closer to the 16 seconds.

If I ever buy an energi car, I'll probably be driving it in EV-Now mode most of the time. So the low performance in that mode is irritating.
I'll see if I can find an area to do a 0-60 test this afternoon. I have 14 miles of range left for an 8 mile commute home, so I have electrons to spare. ;)
 

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Thanks for the review. Would you say the Energi has more cargo space than the Volt or less? The Energi has more cubic feet of cargo space supposedly, but when I saw it in person I couldn't imagine fitting more stuff in there than in my Volt.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the review. Would you say the Energi has more cargo space than the Volt or less? The Energi has more cubic feet of cargo space supposedly, but when I saw it in person I couldn't imagine fitting more stuff in there than in my Volt.
The NRG's cargo area is taller than the Volt's, but not as deep. If you flipped the Volt's cargo area on its back edge, that would pretty much give you the dimensions of the NRG's rear hatch. The NRG's vertical cargo area height might be a tad longer than the Volt's cargo area depth, if that makes any sense. I'll try to post some pics later.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I found out a feature inadvertently today. I was on the highway practicing some light hypermiling (shifting into 'N' on declines), and by accident I shifted into reverse. I knew I was in reverse when I saw the backup camera activate, and saw a view out the back flash on the main screen! I quickly shifted back into D and shut down my hypermiling experiment for the rest of the drive. :eek: Car behavior didn't change at all, and if the backup camera feed had not come on, I probably wouldn't have known I was in R until I tried to accelerate.
 

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In warmer weather and level terrain, I have yet to have the ICE come on in EV Now; even when flooring it for 0-60 times which is around :16sec electric motor only. With the ICE, it's faster than the Volt according to published reports but I didn't buy either car for that.

With the seats down, the NRG probably has more room than the Volt but it's not as easy to utilize because of the battery location. A hatch with no lip really helps too with loading/unloading. It can easily swallow a weeks worth of groceries for a family of four.




Even though it only has about 1/2 the battery size of the Volt, my EV ratio is about the same: 90%. To do this, I have to be more diligent with opportunity level II charging during the day and evening as I average 1200-1500 miles a month.
 

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Do you still have the Volt. That wasn't made very clear in your original post..
 

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Do you still have the Volt. That wasn't made very clear in your original post..
He does still have the Volt. He just got rid of the GMC Terrain.

To the OP, Isn't it difficult to shift into reverse? What I mean by that is, can't you push the lever forward into neutral without having to push the button? MOst cars, including the Volt, let you shift into neutral without the button, and only require a button push wihen shifting back to drive or up into reverse?
moral of story: Don't push the button when hypermiling, other than to return to drive. ????
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Yep, still have the Volt.
IMG_20140309_071555.jpg

I was pressing the button to shift. I think that was a novice mistake on my part. Gonna just use the shifter sans button next time.
Here are a couple of shots of the rear. The lunch box in the pic is about 5x5x12".
DSC_8757.jpg DSC_8761.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
So a little more info overkill ;).
Today's commute:

Distance: 8.2 miles
Temp: 23 degrees (was 70 yesterday...wtf)
Highway/city ratio: 70/30 (cruise control set to 60 mph)
Climate control use: None (except for heated driver seat)
Rated range at start (full battery): 19 miles
Energy consumed: 2.3 kWh
Rated range at destination: 11 miles

Here are a few more tidbits and observations I've made since posting my initial review.

- I installed 2 car seats in the rear and sat in the middle seat between them to see how I fit (I'm 6 feet, 195 pounds...not small by any means). To my surprise, I actually felt like I had a little more shoulder room compared to the Terrain, despite the Terrain being the physically larger vehicle. Leg room was fine (but not bountiful). I didn't feel squashed at all.
- the NRG has footwell lighting in the front and rear you can turn on and off with a knob located on the ceiling where the Volt's cabin lighting controls would be. I guess it looks cool at night? Perhaps it's useful if you drop something down there and need some light to find it?
- beneath the 2 rear passenger floor mats, there are removable panels covering a small storage space you can store some small items (such as phones, tablets, kiddie items, etc...). The 120V stock charging cord also is stored in the 'cubbie' under the driver's seat.
- rear headrests are removable. I took out one of them to install one of the car seats.
- Regen in 'L' seems pretty similar to the Volt's regen.....but it still feels slightly different. Can't exactly explain the difference, though. Under 6mph, friction brakes take over.

p.s. I don't usually like to give shoutouts to dealerships, but the one I leased from in NoVa was very upfront and honest with me (well, except for the finance manager...his initial numbers he gave me were complete crap). The internet sales manager went out of the way to make the deal happen. PM me if you want the details. They have one loaded '13 NRG left that they are probably very eager to move.
 

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Distance: 8.2 miles
Temp: 23 degrees (was 70 yesterday...wtf)
Highway/city ratio: 70/30 (cruise control set to 60 mph)
Climate control use: None (except for heated driver seat)
Rated range at start (full battery): 19 miles
Energy consumed: 2.3 kWh
Rated range at destination: 11 miles
Were you able to make it to your destination without using the I.C.E.?

- beneath the 2 rear passenger floor mats, there are removable panels covering a small storage space you can store some small items (such as phones, tablets, kiddie items, etc...). The 120V stock charging cord also is stored in the 'cubbie' under the driver's seat.
I have heard about these cubbies.. Can you provide some photos of that, and where the 120V charge cord is located? I tried finding those when I was digging through one of these at the Autoshow but I couldn't get them open for some reason, I think they had them locked somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Were you able to make it to your destination without using the I.C.E.?

I have heard about these cubbies.. Can you provide some photos of that, and where the 120V charge cord is located? I tried finding those when I was digging through one of these at the Autoshow but I couldn't get them open for some reason, I think they had them locked somehow.
Yep. I found out the issue I had the first couple of days with the ICE switching on was because I was departing in 'L'. Full charge + driving off in L results in the ICE switching on for a couple of minutes...due to excess charge or something. Now I depart in 'D' and switch to L after a half mile or so. No more ICE! I'm not sure if there is a 'ERDTT' temperature similar to the Volt....I've seen 10 degrees thrown around as the cutoff, but no one seems to be 100% certain.

As for the cubbies, I can post some pics later. There is a little latch on the panels that you pull up on, and the panels come right out. I didn't notice a lock of any kind.
 

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Thanks for this great thread! There are a lot of features to like about the C-Max Energi. It's too bad its battery is so small. I would be burning gas on almost every trip.

The behavior of the ICE still seems odd, though. I understand that it starts up when driving away in L with a full charge, but I can't think of a reason why. How does the ICE prevent regen during braking? It seems like there should be a more efficient way to throw away the current generated than by burning gasoline. And what is your indication that it is OK to switch to L without starting the ICE? If you can find out more about that bit of engineering, please let us know.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for this great thread! There are a lot of features to like about the C-Max Energi. It's too bad its battery is so small. I would be burning gas on almost every trip.

The behavior of the ICE still seems odd, though. I understand that it starts up when driving away in L with a full charge, but I can't think of a reason why. How does the ICE prevent regen during braking? It seems like there should be a more efficient way to throw away the current generated than by burning gasoline. And what is your indication that it is OK to switch to L without starting the ICE? If you can find out more about that bit of engineering, please let us know.
The half-mile number is totally made up. I just figured after a half mile, enough charge would be used up so that 'over' charging the battery wouldn't be possible.

This is an explanation I found posted on a Cmax forum for why the ICE turns on if driving in L after a full charge:

"The computer is programmed to mimic a conventional car. When you put a conventional car in a low gear, it uses the engine to slow the vehicle so you wouldn't have to ride the brakes coming down a hill. In the Energi, when using L, the vehicle is programmed to slow down without using brakes. If there is room in the battery, the vehicle will use regeneration to slow the vehicle. If the battery is full, the vehicle will then spin the engine to slow down (just as if you were to put a conventional car in L). The reason why the engine keeps running after you stop or start moving again is because the engine is cold, and the vehicle is programmed to warm the engine to a certain temperature in case you use it again. "

Makes sense to me.
 
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