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

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Courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

(Read caption) After the federal rebate, the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi is the cheapest plug-in hybrid yet to be sold in North America.

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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.

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

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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. 

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