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Interesting write up assessing 3-way face off:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dalebuss/2012/07/29/terminal-velocity-ford-c-max-energi-to-vie-with-volt-prius/

Terminal Velocity: Ford C-Max Energi To Vie With Volt, Prius

One of the most interesting battles of the new car-model year will be a three-way title fight in the plug-in hybrid segment among Ford’s new C-Max Energi, the new Prius plug-in and the reigning champion (and only real contestant until now), the Chevrolet Volt.
 

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Interesting how the PiP gets credited with Toyota's initial 15 mile promise while the Volt is tied to its EPA number. Also interesting the emphasis they are placing on gas tank size/gas range - not AFAIK generally a reason people choose between cars on.
 

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They're all similar (ie. they plug in) but their usability range on EV are way different. We don't yet know the Energi's highway mpg either. I'd like them to do comparison charts among people with different commute-ranges. The 15, 30, 45 mile commute scenarios.
 

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They're all similar (ie. they plug in) but their usability range on EV are way different. We don't yet know the Energi's highway mpg either. I'd like them to do comparison charts among people with different commute-ranges. The 15, 30, 45 mile commute scenarios.
The most important part IMO, which I didn't see drawn out in the article at all, is the EV acceleration and speed limits. The article is all about EV range - without mentioned that using more than ~50 horsepower in the PiP forces the engine on (the C-Max is supposed to have a ~80 kW limit, the Volt is of course 110 kW,) and speeds over 62 mph force the PiP's engine on (the C-Max was quoted at 85 in one article, the Volt is the full 101 the car can reach.)
 

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If this is supposed to be upbeat about plug-ins, it leaves me cold. 'The controversial Volt'??? Defaulting to the size of the gas tank? Most annoying, I guess is GM's reaction (at least in this article). Watching the Olympics, I see ad after ad for Chevy Silverados, but no commercials for the Volt. If they wanted to sell more, you'd think they would actually TRY to sell more.
 

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The article does not go with a miles per dollar figure. It goes with the MPGe - Miles per gallon equivalent.
BUT, the price of a gallon of gas IS NOT equal to the price an an "equivalent to a gallon" electric energy.
In Quebec, a gallon of gas costs 10 times more than an equivalent quantity of electric energy.

Thus, the larger the battery, the larger the economy that is realized. If given with that light, the Volt does
surpass (and largely!) both other plugins.

Francois
B2653
 

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Why is it impossible for reviewers to realize that the Prius and ford are electric only until you try to keep up with traffic, when they become gas burners? The EPA sticker for the Prius says 6 miles in small print, which is as far as they got before the gas engine turned on. Most drivers hit the gas at the first stoplight. I understand the ford is somewhat better , if similar. This is a big advantage for the volt, but it is as if the press cannot believe it when the volt proves superior to it's competition.
 

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bonaire is right, real world mpg will depend on the owners commute. Chevy's research says a very high percentage of commuters are <40 miles/day but I wonder how many are <15 or <20 miles/day?
 

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I'm with Austin. The Volt is an electric car with a range extender. The Leaf is an electric car (without a range extender). And the Prius and the Energi are ICE cars with an electric assist. The driving experience is so completely different I don't see the point of treating them as if they're the same. Claiming you have more range because your gas tank is larger is absurd. You don't want a large gas tank in the Volt because the gas would go stale. All Ford is saying is that the Energi will constantly use gas so this isn't an issue.
 

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I did have pretty high hopes for Ford's C-Max Energi up until the specs came out. It seems to be more aligned to beat the PiP rather than the Volt. I do have to guess that it may sell to "GM-avoiders" who wouldn't want to test drive the Volt even if it offered more for the same money. In the end - more hybrids, the better.
 

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Another thing that really wasn't discussed in the article is the size difference. As I recall, the C-Max is a little bigger than the Prius V. The C-Max may find some market room for folks looking for something that is more SUVish, or station wagon like, than is provided by the Volt or the PIP.
 

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I think the C-Max is the best alternative to the Volt. The Prius cannot compare to either of them.
 

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Another thing that really wasn't discussed in the article is the size difference. As I recall, the C-Max is a little bigger than the Prius V. The C-Max may find some market room for folks looking for something that is more SUVish, or station wagon like, than is provided by the Volt or the PIP.
C-max is bigger in the seating areas, smaller (about half) the cargo area.
 

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I would be concerned with the Energi or the PiP and staying on electric only in daily highway driving, especially with the non-thermally managed PiP battery. At highway speeds (60-75mph), the Volt is discharging at ~0.83-1.25C rate. The PiP at 60mph will discharge at a ~3C rate without a TMS. At 75mph, the Energi will discharge ~2.9C rate. Combine that with a heat soaked battery and how many cycles will they provide? Where is the energy for thermal management of the Energi traveling at 75mph be coming from? What are the cell characteristics for their batteries?
 

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I think this is the most important part of the article, when you sift through all the b.s.:

"The new cars will challenge Volt but also raise the visibility and credibility of the entire segment."

And, they might tie up a few more chargers! :(

People will now start comparing the models, invoking some lively discussions. It could put more of a hurting on Nissan, due to the popularity of the range of the new plug-in models.
 

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I like seeing more PHEVs to market - it only popularizes the segment and helps people realize there is a choice to burning gasoline on a daily basis. It's also helping people get used to the whole idea of charging a car.

The C-Max range of only 20 miles is a killer for me. May work ok for some, but I would burn gas for half my commute everyday which really defeats the purpose of charging. And I think I'm probably like most people.

Volt still the winner IMO, but I think also the technology and range will move forward quickly - especially with competition.
 

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I like seeing more PHEVs to market - it only popularizes the segment and helps people realize there is a choice to burning gasoline on a daily basis.
Agreed, and I think the big winner in all of that is going to be... the Volt. Not so much the current Volt, but the next legitimately new Volt. Whether the presumed (Volt 1.5) 2014 will be different enough for people to take a fresh look at the car, or that will wait until the true Volt 2.0 remains to be seen. But then in a post-election world, a visibly freshened, improved, and arguably destigmatized Volt will revive broad interest in the car, and it's almost certain to maintain its superiority to the competition.

For this reason, I think if GM doesn't have some significant powertrain developments and fresh sheetmetal out for 2014, they'll be missing a very big opportunity. And there's the wildcard, reasonable chance that (unfortunately) accelerating climate change and extreme weather will get a lot more people thinking about their oil consumption habits. Such a trend combined with some resulting boosts in government incentives (like getting more states on the bandwagon) could see GM in a position where they can't even fill demand for the Volt for years out. Either way, I think Voltec demand will increase steadily at either a linear or geometric rate if GM stays truly committed to the product and concept.
 

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If this is supposed to be upbeat about plug-ins, it leaves me cold. 'The controversial Volt'??? Defaulting to the size of the gas tank? Most annoying, I guess is GM's reaction (at least in this article). Watching the Olympics, I see ad after ad for Chevy Silverados, but no commercials for the Volt. If they wanted to sell more, you'd think they would actually TRY to sell more.
In California NBC is showing a lot of Volt commercials. A lot more than pickups. All the Volt commercials mention the California HOV qualification.
 

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In California NBC is showing a lot of Volt commercials. A lot more than pickups. All the Volt commercials mention the California HOV qualification.
It could be that GM is trying to get the most bang for their advertising buck by focusing upon where the most sales potential is. The HOV issue is big.

If the Volt were to catch on in California, it would help raise the image of GM as a whole in the most important car market in America. California traditionally has supported import brands; the Volt could be the key for GM to open the door to higher market penetration in the state. And just as the rest of the nation followed CA's lead in embracing imports, strong Volt sales in CA won't be ignored by the rest of the country.
 

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It could be that GM is trying to get the most bang for their advertising buck by focusing upon where the most sales potential is. The HOV issue is big.

If the Volt were to catch on in California, it would help raise the image of GM as a whole in the most important car market in America. California traditionally has supported import brands; the Volt could be the key for GM to open the door to higher market penetration in the state. And just as the rest of the nation followed CA's lead in embracing imports, strong Volt sales in CA won't be ignored by the rest of the country.
Unfortunately, the phrase, 'preaching to the choir' comes to mind. I am in NY now and haven't seen ONE Volt commercial, while seeing literally dozens of Silverado commercials. While my Volts were bought in FL, I took a test drive at a dealership near Buffalo. There was one salesman who sold the Volt at the dealership...and he wasn't around. We took the drive with a salesman who knew almost nothing. When we asked about interest in the Volt, his response was 'pretty quiet'. UH DUH. It's a self fulfilling prophecy. If you don't think you will sell any...you definitely won't (if you do nothing to counter the initial assumption).

Of course, stupidity in product placement is not unique to the Volt. Why is it that you can go for thirty miles of merchant filled area without seeing an office supply store or home improvement store...and then the Office Depot and Staples (or Home Depot and Lowes) are right across the street from each other. I shake my head constantly at the inane decisions that large businesses make. If I have one store, I am more likely to buy where I stand. If I have a competitor across the street, I compare prices.

In any case, after you have run your 15th Silverado commercial for the day, does it make sense to think that a 16th will generate one more sale? Why not spread the spending to some other models that the consumer hasn't been inundated with a dozen times during a broadcast. And the public continues to show it needs the education...and a reminder that all those Hyundai commercials touting 40 mpg (highway only, btw) are a joke when you could be going thousands of miles without stopping at a gas station. And while people complain that it takes years to recover the upfront cost of an EV purchase, I continue to read that the average car is being held for 100K+/10yrs+. They should show a graph, at least every now and then, that an EV puts money back in your pocket after that payoff.
 
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