All charged up, Ford gets a dig in on a green rival

Who knew Ford Motor Co. could be a bit snarky -- albeit in good humor.

This morning Ford unveiled the C-Max Energi, a plug-in hybrid five-passenger crossover, at the Detroit auto show.

The automaker applied some star power by showing a video featuring actor and environmental activist, Ed Begley Jr. Begley praised Ford's wide array of “green” offerings and fuel-economy engines.

Then he launched a little grenade at the competition.

When he described the C-Max Energi's recharging time, he said it would, “Leaf the competition behind.”

The comment got a laugh. It was in reference to the Nissan Leaf plug-in hybrid which takes about seven hours to recharge on a 220- or 240-volt charger. Ford says the C-Max Energi will recharge in about half that time on the same charger.

It was a humorous passing remark in an otherwise info-packed press conference.

But it was the moment buzzed about by folks later on the showroom floor.

Ford meant it when it vowed to beat competitors in all segments.

And, clearly, the automaker isn't afraid to rub it in when it does.