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PHOTO CAPTION: Ford C-Max Hybrid carries starting MSRP of $25,995.

Ford Sees C-Max Hybrid As Price Breakthrough

Toyota Prius V, powered by nickel-metal-hydride batteries, is $1,315 more expensive than C-Max Hybrid, starting at $27,310 including destination and handling.

Published: 13-Sep-2012

A lot of people would probably buy a hybrid car if not for the tradeoffs. Sure, hybrids get great mileage and help the environment, but they’re also underpowered and cost thousands more than a traditional gasoline-powered car. That’s why only 2.3 percent of the vehicles sold in the U.S. last year were hybrids or electric vehicles.

The Toyota Prius is by far the best-seller, with 2011 sales of 136,000, but virtually every carmaker offers at least one hybrid or plug-in car. Weak demand, however, means it’s hard to make money on these, as former General Motors vice chairman Bob Lutz detailed in a recent Forbes post explaining the business case for the Chevrolet Volt.

As with any new technology, though, there comes a tipping point at which volumes increase and costs decrease sufficiently to make the technology feasible for the mass market.

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