Second after my primary complaint with the Energi (small trunk), the next biggest disappointment I have is that they did not put in a "charge mode" so that you can charge the battery while driving. This would be really handy for long trips where you need more than 20ish miles of EV at both ends for city driving and the ICE for the freeway in between.
Most people know that on a long downhill you can gain charge and miles, but I've figured out a way to gain charge from the gas engine alone.
Despite what some have said on these forums, I've noticed on my Energi (2015 SE) that whenever I put it into EV-Later mode two things happen:
- it displays "XX% battery saved" on the left screen, where XX matches what the center screen says.
- it immediately starts charging the battery, adding ~2% over the next few miles.
So during a long Freeway trip today (65 MPH, 140 miles each way) I did an experiment. I left with 79% charge and the display saying 19 miles. Along the way, I would put it into EV Later mode, let it charge up the 2%, then get it to go into EV mode and quickly switch the selector through Auto > EV > EV Later to "lock in" the 2% increase. Sometimes I could only get 1% but the end result was the same. Over the course of 140 miles, I got it up to 94% charge and 27 miles on the display.
While at my destination I used most of the battery in town and began the return journey at 11% and 2 miles on the display. Working it aggressively I was able to get it up to 51% and 17 miles by the time I got home. So apparently you CAN charge the battery while driving, if you work at it. Over the 2-1/2 hour trip I added 40% to the battery, which is about the same as charging at 110V level 1.
For the naysayers, I specifically did NOT capture any charge gained by downhills, because that would not meet my criteria of all gain due to the engine charging the battery. I could have gained 4-5% more if I had done that. The best result was a ~8 mile stretch along a perfectly flat causeway, where I did it twice and was able to add 4% over that distance.
The icing on the cake? I was able to get over 46MPG while doing this.
Now, this is completely ridiculous to have to do this, when Ford could have easily put a charge mode in the Energi like Honda did with the Accord PHEV and Audi did with the A3 Sport E-Tron.
Disclaimer: I don't know if this works on all years, but it works on my 2015. I assume the C-Max Energi can do the same thing.