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Ford offers free charging for C-Max Energi

The program is only available in California and Maryland.

Ford has launched an incentive program for the 2016 C-Max Energi, offering free charging for new buyers or lessees.

Partnering with NRG Energy, the automaker promises three years of gratis charging at EVgo stations -- but only in California and Maryland. A charge card will provide drivers with unlimited four-hour sessions at more than 500 locations.

When connected to a 240-volt power source, the C-Max Energi's 7.6-kWh battery can be fully charged in approximately 2.5 hours. In contrast, a standard 110-volt home outlet requires seven hours to refill a depleted battery.

As average gasoline prices continue to hover above the five-year low, many automakers are struggling to maintain sales of fuel-efficient small cars, hybrids and electric vehicles.

The C-Max is one of Ford's worst-performing nameplates this year, with sales down by 18 percent in October and more than 20 percent for the first ten months of the year. The numbers suggest both the C-Max Hybrid and Energi are facing trouble, though the company does not break down sales figures for the separate variants.

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