When car owners brag about buying a plug-in electric vehicle, it's not unusual to hear them mention high occupancy vehicle (HOV) carpool lane stickers as one of the key perks. Thus, it wasn't surprising to see Ford issue a press release saying New York car buyers can now get carpool lane stickers for the all-new Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
Cars with these stickers have access to a 40-mile stretch of the Long Island Expressway, a major artery into New York City for single-occupied commuter cars. Studies show New Yorkers spend more time driving to and from work than commuters anywhere else in the country, Ford said. New York's Clean Pass program recently ruled that the C-Max Energi qualifies for the HOV stickers as it meets state standards for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.
HOV stickers have been popular in California for a few years and are starting be offered to vehicle registrants in New York and other states. The perk can use some promotion, since consumers have to spend more on a plug-in car than they would on several other new vehicle options.
To qualify for the Clean Pass sticker, the C-MAX Energi had to meet the California Air Resource Board standard as a super ultra-low emission vehicle (SULEV), and can also be certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency to offer fuel economy of at least 45 mpg on the highway. Ford stresses that the C-Max Energi not only meets the CARB standard but also offers EPA-estimated miles per gallon equivalent of 100 combined, with 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway; it also comes with a total range of 620 miles and an electric-only range of up to 21 miles.
Perhaps this bit of good news will distract consumers at a time when EPA is investigating whether Ford is fudging the figures on the mileage capacity for its 2013 C-Max and Fusion standard hybrids. The EPA isn't including the plug-in hybrid Energi versions of these models in its investigation, but the trustworthiness and reliability of all Ford's claims could be called to question by car shoppers.
Related Gallery2013 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-In Hybrid
• The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has approved the all-new Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid for its Clean Pass vehicle carpool lane access program
• C-MAX Energi offers a top speed of 85 mph – 20 more than Toyota Prius Plug-in – and a total range of up to 620 miles, enabling drivers to get where they're going in a zippy fashion without having to worry about finding a gas station
• C-MAX Energi meets the long-distance challenges of New York's super-commuters who also face increased congestion; idling in stop-and-go traffic is estimated to waste 1.9 billion gallons of gasoline annually
NEW YORK, Dec. 10, 2012 – The all-new Ford C-MAX Energi – already offering the top speed among plug-in hybrid vehicles – now gives New Yorkers a chance to get where they're going even faster after being approved for use in the carpool lane of a major artery into the Big Apple.
Clean Pass, a New York state-run program promoting reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption, recently ruled C-MAX Energi owners could drive the entire 40-mile stretch of the Long Island Expressway in the carpool lane.
The move is especially important as studies show New Yorkers spend more time driving to and from work than commuters anywhere else in the country.
To qualify, vehicles must be classified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as a super ultra-low emission vehicle (SULEV) and also be certified by the U.S. EPA to offer fuel economy of at least 45 mpg on the highway.
C-MAX Energi not only meets the CARB standard but also offers EPA-estimated 100 MPGe combined – 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway – along with a total range of up to 620 miles and an electric-only range of up to 21 miles.
"C-MAX Energi is America's most affordable plug-in hybrid and offers a top electric-only speed of up to 85 mph," said C.J. O'Donnell, group marketing manager for electrification. "Others clearly appreciate the environmental benefit, too, which is why we are seeing programs like Clean Pass embrace Ford's electrified lineup."
Clean Pass is a multi-agency pilot program partnering three New York state agencies – the State Department of Transportation, the State Department of Motor Vehicles and the State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Programs such as Clean Pass are growing in number to encourage the use of vehicles that produce fewer emissions and use less gas. They range from the $3,750 federal tax credit owners may receive for buying C-MAX Energi to a program in Ferndale, Mich., where drivers of hybrids that get 30 mpg or better in city driving are allowed to park for free at city parking meters. Other states offering lane driving privileges for hybrid vehicle owners include Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
Access to HOV lanes is more important than ever as commuters spend more time on the roads. A recent study from New York University's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management shows today's commuters are on the road longer than ever before, and the number of people who commute more than 90 miles to work has doubled over the past 10 years.
"More and more organizations seem to be recognizing the potential positive impact of having electrified vehicles account for as much of that drive time as possible," said Curt Skaluba, general manager of Ford's east market area, parts, service and sales operation.
C-MAX Energi is able to drive up to 21 miles in all-electric range – more than triple Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid's six-mile all-electric range.
This means at least one leg of the average work commute – reportedly 20 miles each way – could be completed each day without using a drop of gas. A study by the United States Department of the Treasuryestimates congestion consumed an extra 1.9 billion gallons of fuel in 2011, approximately 5 percent of all gasoline used.
C-MAX Energi figures prominently in Ford's rollout of electrified vehicles and helped the automaker sell a record number of hybrids in the month of November.
Ford's other electrified vehicles include:
• Focus Electric: Production began late 2011; America's most fuel-efficient compact with 110 MPGe city and 105 MPGe combined – 6 MPGe better than the Nissan Leaf
• C-MAX Hybrid delivers EPA-certified 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway – 7 mpg better than the Toyota Prius v on the highway – for a 47 mpg combined rating
• All-new Fusion Hybrid is America's most fuel-efficient midsize sedan after being rated by the EPA to deliver 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway, 47 mpg combined. This beats the Toyota Camry Hybrid by 8 mpg highway, 4 mpg city
• Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid: Will begin production by the end of this year; aiming to be the most fuel-efficient midsize car in the world with more than 100 MPGe
Built at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., the all-new C-MAX Energi plug-in is available at more than 200 EV Certified Ford dealers in the U.S. An overview of the vehicle can be found here.
More information about Ford's electrified vehicles – including press releases, fact sheets and product sheets, photos and video – can be found here.
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 172,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visithttp://corporate.ford.com.