Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Ford Fusion, Escape, C-Max, Lincoln MKZ

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Vehicles Affected: About 42,972 model-year 2013-2014 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans, and Ford Escape SUVs and C-Max Energi and Hybrid vehicles

The Problem:The vehicles' seatback frames do not comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards, according to the Detroit News. Certain driver and front passenger seatback assemblies may have been produced with substandard welds joining the seatback recliner mechanism to the seatback frame. This could increase the risk of injury in a collision, the newspaper reported. No crashes or injuries have been reported as a result of the faulty frames.

The Fix: Dealers will replace the seatback frames for free. Ford has not yet listed an owner notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

More Electric Cars Than Ever, Still Not Available Everywhere

Where the electric cars are

As more manufacturers introduce electric cars, these battery-powered vehicles are becoming something people see on the road every day. At least in some parts of the country, they are.

More Alternative Fuel News

The number of purely electric vehicles offered in the U.S. will grow to a dozen by the end of this year. Many of those EVs are available only in a small number of states, however, with California being the epicenter of electric-car sales.

By Rick Popely | March 11, 2014 | Comments (1)

Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show

Front

Looks like: An accessorized C-Max Energi
Defining characteristics: Solar panels atop the roof
Ridiculous features: A solar-magnifying canopy the car has to sit under
Chances of being mass-produced: There's potential; Ford plans real-world feasibility testing

What's a petawatt? It's a unit of energy equivalent to 1 billion megawatts or 1 million gigawatts (yes, Doc Brown used real units). And Mike Tinskey, Ford's director of vehicle electrification, says 174 of them hit the Earth each day in the form of solar energy. Toward that end, Ford wants to collect some of that energy with 1.5 square meters of solar photovoltaic panels atop the C-Max Energi. Witness the solar-powered adaptation of the plug-in hybrid that went on sale in fall 2012: the C-Max Solar Energi Concept.

The concept's flexible, high-density silicone solar panels come courtesy of San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower Corp. — and those panels harvest 50 percent more density than conventional solar cells, Ford claims. Still, the cells alone won't charge the C-Max Energi to its full battery, which enables up to 21 miles of the electric vehicle's driving range.

By Kelsey Mays | January 2, 2014 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2012-2013 Ford Focus EV, 2013 C-Max

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 22,000 model-year 2012-2013 versions of the Ford Focus electric car and model-year 2013 versions of the Ford C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi electric crossover.

The Problem: The Detroit News is reporting that Ford is recalling the above vehicles equipped with push-button start because they don't emit an alert when the driver's door is open. Not only is this functionality a federal safety requirement, it also prevents drivers from accidentally leaving their key fobs in the car.

The Fix: Ford dealers will modify the vehicles' software to ensure an audible door chime sounds if the driver's door is open.

What Owners Should Do: Ford has not provided an owner notification schedule. Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more information.

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By Jennifer Geiger | October 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

Ford Hopes Focus EV Price Cut Sparks Sales

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If you've noticed automakers like Nissan, Honda and GM reducing the prices of their electric vehicles in recent months, then Ford's plan to slash the 2014 Focus EV's price won't come as a shock. Despite Ford's insistence that it would not follow suit, the Detroit automaker is now wooing mainstream buyers with a $4,000 discount on the EV for 2014, according to the Detroit News.

The new base price for the Focus EV is $35,995, including a $795 destination charge. That's down more than 10% from the previous base price, though still more than $6,000 costlier than the Nissan Leaf, the newspaper noted. A $7,500 federal tax credit knocks the price down to $28,495, including destination; in California, an additional state tax credit takes the price down another $2,500.

By Matt Schmitz | July 11, 2013 | Comments (0)

Plug-in Cars: Where Can You Buy Them?

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Thursday’s pricing announcement for the Chevrolet Spark EV likely piqued some interest on the West Coast, but chances are few others gave it much attention. GM will sell the all-electric hatchback only in California and Oregon; the automaker has announced no plans to sell it elsewhere, spokesman Kevin Kelly told us.

Where can EV fans find their cars? We tallied up the states.

No surprise: Californians get the biggest slice of the EV pie. Thank the state's zero-emissions vehicle mandate, which requires automakers to sell a certain percentage of zero-emissions vehicles, explained Ed Kim, AutoPacific's vice president of industry analysis. Nearby Washington state has adopted California's emissions requirements but not the ZEV quota, and states such as Oregon and a number along the East Coast have adopted both.

The emissions requirement should eventually align with the federal government's 2025 corporate average fuel economy requirements. But it still means "a plug-in car sold in Oregon counts towards California’s required ZEV volume for the automaker that makes that vehicle," Kim wrote in an email. "It’s not a natural consumer market for such vehicles, but rather a market legislated into existence."

By Kelsey Mays | May 24, 2013 | Comments (1)

Cars.com Reviews the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

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Ford's C-Max Hybrid is all-new for 2013, and the automaker recently expanded the tall hatchback's lineup with a plug-in model. The C-Max Energi is stylish, comfortable and fun to drive says Cars.com reviewer Aaron Bragman. There are some tradeoffs compared with the hybrid version, however. Bragman says cargo capacity suffers, and its electric range is unimpressive considering the vehicle's price premium. Check out the full review below.

2013 Ford C-Max Energi Review

By Jennifer Geiger | March 20, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Earns Five Stars from NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tested another batch of new or redesigned-for-2013 vehicles and out of the four newbies, only one was awarded the agency's highest score.

The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle received an overall rating of five stars. The coupe earned four stars in frontal testing, five stars in side-crash testing and a four-star score in rollover tests; the convertible model has not yet been tested. The three others recently tested earned four stars overall: The plug-in Ford C-Max Energi, the tiny Toyota Prius c hybrid and front- and all-wheel drive versions of the Toyota Sienna minivan.

NHTSA plans to crash-test 54 model-year 2013 vehicles — 33 passenger cars, 16 SUVs, one van and four pickup trucks. NHTSA says that the crash-testing will account for about 85% of the volume of new vehicles sold for the year.

Related
Research the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle
NHTSA to Crash Test 54 Model-Year 2013 Vehicles
More Safety News on Cars.com

By Jennifer Geiger | March 19, 2013 | Comments (0)

Ford to Quadruple Plug-in Dealers

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Ford announced today it will sell plug-in vehicles across all 50 states by spring, with more than 900 dealers certified to sell the cars — about a third of all Ford showrooms. That's up from 200 dealers in November 2012, which were largely in California and New York.

Ford's plug-in stable includes the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid and an all-electric version of the Focus. A plug-in Fusion Energi hybrid will arrive soon: "We have said that we would start sales of Fusion Energi early in 2013, but have not specified a particular month," Ford sales analyst Erich Merkle told Cars.com.

Dealer certification involves installing at least two charging stations and training dealer staff on EVs, with demo versions of the C-Max Energi and Focus Electric available at all times.

By Kelsey Mays | February 6, 2013 | Comments (0)

Plug-in Ford Fusion EPA Rated at 108 MPGe

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In the midst of a fuel-economy controversy involving hybrid versions of the Ford C-Max and Fusion comes a bit of good news for the blue oval brand. The plug-in version of the Fusion is EPA rated at 108 miles per gallon equivalent in the city. In highway and combined driving, the Fusion Engergi is rated at 92 and 100 MPGe, respectively.

Ford calls it the most fuel efficient sedan in America, and it bests hatchback competitors like the Toyota Prius Plug-in (95 MPGe combined) and the Chevy Volt (98 MPGe combined).

The Energi uses a version of the Fusion Hybrid's powertrain: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with an electric motor and a continuously variable automatic transmission. It's quite a bit more expensive, however. The Fusion Hybrid, which is EPA rated at a controversial 47/47 mpg city/highway, starts at $27,995, including a $795 destination charge. Base SE Luxury versions of the Energi start at $39,495 and topline Titanium versions at $40,995, excluding any state or federal tax incentives.

When the Fusion Energi goes on sale later this month, it'll be the third plug-in Ford has recently introduced. It follows the Focus Electric and C-Max Energi.

Related
Hybrid Mileage Lawsuit Hits Ford
2013 Ford C-Max Energi Rated at 100 MPGe
Research the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi

By Jennifer Geiger | January 2, 2013 | Comments (2)

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