The C-Max Energi will get its charge from a port located on the front fender between the front wheel and the driver's door. If you read our First Look on the Focus Electric
, you'll recognize the same blue ring around the charging port to tell you what's going on. When plugged in, the light loops around the ring twice to indicate it's connected, or the entire ring will flash if there's a problem. While charging, the ring will light up in quarters to indicate the charge level until the whole ring is lit and the battery is fully charged.
Like the Volt, the C-Max Energi will start out on electric power only until its lithium-ion battery is depleted. Ford hasn't specified an electric-only range, so it could be anywhere from the Volt's 40-mile range to the Focus Electric's expected 100-mile range, though it'll probably be closer to the Volt. Once the battery is drained, a small, Atkinson-Cycle gasoline engine will kick in, presumably the same engine from the Fusion Hybrid. The gas engine will also kick in when "certain conditions are met," suggesting that it could work more like the Fusion Hybrid than the Volt, meaning the gasoline engine may kick-on to help during hard acceleration or hill climbing regardless of the battery charge whereas the Volt's engine won't come on at all until the battery is depleted.
This all suggests that the C-Max Energi will act more like a traditional hybrid than a "range-extended electric vehicle" like the Volt. The big question, which Ford doesn't address in its release, is how the power actually reaches in the ground. In a hybrid like the Fusion, both the electric traction motor and the gasoline engine can directly drive the wheels. In the Volt, the wheels are always driven by the electric motor, though the gasoline engine can indirectly power the wheels under very specific conditions. The C-Max Energi appears to operate more like the Fusion Hybrid, but with better EV range and better overall fuel economy.