Can't Afford a Tesla? Ford Has an Alternative

Get a glimpse of what's on the tech horizon with Foolish reports from the field at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. Companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 firms launch and showcase thousands of products at the event, which attracts visitors from around the world.

The Ford (NYSE: F  ) C-MAX Energi is a gas/electric hybrid that, according to customer feedback, many people use primarily as an electric car. With about 20 miles to the charge, consumers can do their weekday driving on battery power, saving the gas option for longer trips.

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A full transcript follows the video.

Austin Smith: Of course, when we talk about electric vehicles, I would be remiss if I didn't discuss Tesla  (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) in this equation here, a company that seems to have really brought this category into consumers' legitimacy a bit more.

How does this product differ from what we've seen out of Tesla, maybe in terms of the market, or the actual performance of the electrical drive train, and solar panels on the vehicle?

Ford Representative: This car, besides the solar panels on the roof, is a production C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid. You referred to Tesla, which are pure electric vehicles. This is a gas/electric hybrid. It gets 20-21 miles on a full battery charge, of pure electric driving.

This is one aspect of Ford's Power of Choice strategy, where we're trying to give our customers a breadth of choices, especially those that care about fuel economy and the environment, and things like that.

The plug-in hybrid is really unique, in that it accommodates people who do a lot of around-town -- say weekly driving -- within the battery's range, so you would be able to essentially drive the car like it's a full electric car. Then let's say on the weekend you want to take a road trip that's 500 miles; this car is not going to limit you at all, because you can have full capability to do that as well.

The sales and the customer feedback that we've gotten from the car so far have been fantastic, because people are truly using it with that flexibility, to do the majority of their trips. A lot of our data is suggesting that customers are driving almost 75% of their trips in full electric mode, like they're just driving a pure electric car. Then beyond that, it gives them the flexibility to take the car on longer trips as they need.

Smith: Wow, definitely pretty impressive numbers there; 75% -- that is a lot of driving.

Ford Representative: That's right.

Read/Post Comments (11) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 5:48 PM, deeageaux wrote:

    Better yet keep driving your current car until the $35k Tesla Model E comes out in 33-40 months.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 6:11 PM, lem2004 wrote:

    We will see I wouldn't be so sure.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 6:56 PM, Ustauber wrote:


    You just don't get the quest of Tesla;

    I like that you don't mentioned how long it takes to charge because readers would stop reading your article at that point.

    You also forget that Tesla does not have much maintenance .

    You also forget the 280 miles per charge on a Tesla.

    Plus the best point is that a Ford car would be always a Ford car!!


  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 8:45 PM, sanyuan wrote:

    "A lot of our data is suggesting that customers are driving almost 75% of their trips in full electric mode, like they're just driving a pure electric car." -- When this is true, it comes to the question that whether the usage is limited by the 20-mile range and what about the chances they exceed this limit on a weekly basis?

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 9:09 PM, john2000young wrote:

    I will still need to worry about oil change, transmission fluid, PCV valve, timing belt, air filter, oil filter, dirty fuel injector.

    Forget hybrid. Give me cheaper pure EV.

  • Report this Comment On January 18, 2014, at 9:15 PM, RxPro wrote:

    What is the advantage of this over the Chevy Volt? The Volt is such a better value in every way.

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 7:43 AM, Ostrowsr wrote:

    Ummm. Initial Price? Safety? Payback time for the extra cost? Mileage equivalent numbers? Reliability? Why do articles only report a few PLUS side data points and ignore any MINUS side data? The price needs to be reasonable and optimum for these companies to sell a bunch and make a corresponding "reasonable" profit. So far, they sell a few of these because most buyers go in and get "sticker shock".

  • Report this Comment On January 19, 2014, at 8:40 AM, Margundo wrote:

    Obviously, Tesla is the "it" car for people who want to impress others in addition to transportation. But, the person who is not neurotic about their image, and can think for themselves, Ford is viable. Many of the questions and concerns about Ford should also be concerns about Tesla. Personally, I want the backup to the battery, and Tesla would be very limiting to me.

  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2014, at 2:24 AM, speculawyer wrote:

    What's the difference? A lot. The Ford Energi cars are nice but it is silly to compare them to the Model S.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 3:05 AM, TurbulentTime wrote:

    Can't afford a Ford, you can ride your bicycle.

  • Report this Comment On January 21, 2014, at 1:29 PM, lilsdad wrote:

    Can you say Nissan Leaf? 100 mile range, all electric, good price. Not quite a Model S, but about 1/3 the price.

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A long-term investor looking to own the best businesses available.

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