Ford's first all-electric crossover may feature an un-Mustang-like body style, but it offers 300 miles of range when equipped with the extended-range battery and rear-wheel drive.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E, Ford's new electric crossover, is the first new product to be added in the history of the Mustang lineup.
The standard Mach-E will produce up to 332 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque and is available with rear- or all-wheel drive.
A GT model makes 459 hp and 612 lb-ft of torque.Pricing will start at $44,995, and the first models will arrive at dealerships in fall 2020.
When we think of a Mustang, we don't think about crossovers or alternative energy. We think of a big, noisy V-8, either free-breathing or with a supercharger pumping more power down its throat. But electric cars and SUVs are the future of the automotive industry these days, and Ford is well aware of that.
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To prove that it is serious about moving into the coming electric era, Ford wants its new EV to be as desirable as a hot dog at a baseball game, or, let's face it, a Tesla. And what's the coolest thing Ford currently offers? The Mustang. So, instead of easing into the electric field with another battery-powered hatchback like the Focus Electric, Ford is aggressively entering into the EV market by leveraging the Mustang name and applying it to this all-electric five-passenger crossover. Whether that was a smart move or damaging to the Mustang's legendary status remains to be seen and tested.
The Mustang Mach-E is a five-passenger crossover sold in both rear- and all-wheel-drive versions. In size, at 186 inches long on a 117-inch wheelbase, it slots in between Ford’s Escape and Edge in length, but with a significantly longer wheelbase than both. It’s also low for a crossover at three inches lower than the Escape and five inches lower than the Edge. The competitive vehicle most similar in size is the Jaguar I-Pace, which is slightly longer and taller but rides on the same size of wheelbase and offers similar proportions. The Mach-E's cargo capacity is a few cubic feet greater than the Jaguar's, at 59.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
The Mustang Mach-E will come in a choice of five versions, only two of which will be available initially: the Premium and the limited-quantity First Edition, both slated to reach customers in late 2020. The Premium model comes with a choice of standard or extended-range batteries and rear- or all-wheel drive, while the First Edition comes only with all-wheel drive and the extended-range battery. Either way, the batteries are paired with permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors and located under the floor of the vehicle. Range will start at 210 miles for the standard-range battery and all-wheel drive and reach as high as 300 miles for the extended-range battery on a rear-wheel-drive model. Power will range from 255 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque for the standard-range models to 332 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque for the AWD extended-range model. A rear-wheel-drive-only California Route 1 model and a higher-performance GT targeting 459 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque are coming in early 2021.
Asked why all-wheel-drive models can have less range than the rear-wheel-drive versions, a Ford spokesperson told C/D that it's because the extra eTransaxle (secondary drive unit) in the system has "associated parasitic losses," but assured us that the system is optimized for AWD performance and has "minimal overall" impact on range.
Ford Says It’ll Perform Like a Mustang
Ford expresses confidence that the Mustang Mach-E, which has 50/50 weight distribution, will be the best-handling SUV it offers. Ford even claims that the extended-range AWD Mach-E will be able to post quicker zero-to-6o-mph times than the base Porsche Macan and that the highest-performance Mach-E GT will be "faster off the line than a Porsche Macan Turbo." We'll withhold judgment on those brash claims until we can compare them for ourselves.
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When the GT model does come out, it will come in two variants: the standard GT and the GT Performance Edition. Both GTs will boast 459 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque, and Ford claims the GT Performance Edition is capable of zero to 60 mph in the mid-three-second range. Speculation about a Shelby variant got the thumbs down from Ford, but there's still a possibility that we could see Mach-Es at a performance level above the GT.
The Mustang Mach-E features three driving modes named Whisper, Engage, and Unbridled. Each offers specific changes to the driving experience such as steering tweaks, varied pedal feel, gauge-cluster graphics, and specifically tuned sound. Ford developed sounds that mimic, among others, Blade Runner and Batman's Tumbler, and when the EV is started, it sounds like the ominous background rhythm in the Stranger Things theme song.
Whisper mode is for calm driving. The steering is relaxed, the throttle is less aggressive, and the graphics and ambient lighting inside are subtle. The Engage mode is for a more balanced drive. Here is when the Mach-E is said to to feel more like a Mustang. The steering is tightened, and the throttle is more aggressive. Ford claims that Unbridled mode is the most aggressive setup in terms of steering feel, throttle tip-in, and a throatier EV sound, which starts to kick in at around 30 mph.
Every Mach-E comes with an onboard charger that can add 22 miles of range per charging hour using a 240-volt outlet. A Ford connected charge station will be available to order online and installed through Amazon Home; it will be able to charge at the rate of 32 miles per charging hour, providing a full charge overnight; Ford has not yet released price information.
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Ford claims that its FordPass Charging Network is the largest public network in the country, featuring 35,000 plugs at 12,500 charging stations in the U.S. and parts of Canada, some of which are DC fast chargers that can charge the Mustang Mach-E to 80 percent in about 38 minutes. The Mach-E will be the first Ford to utilize the network, and it’s likely that the next to follow will be the upcoming electric F-150. Drivers can locate the nearest charging station using the car's navigation system, Ford says.
Ford's initial design for its first all-electric SUV was very similar to the Ford Edge. The decision to move to a Mustang-inspired look meant raising and lengthening the hood, pushing back the A-pillar for a long, Mustang-like profile, and stretching the wheelbase. Ford claims the Mach-E's center of gravity is lower than that of any other Ford SUV. The Mach-E's headlamps take direct styling cues from those on the 2020 Mustang, and in back, of course, are those tri-bar taillights. To remind anyone who may momentarily forget the branding, Ford slapped the Mustang badge on the front grille; it's also found on the steering wheel, the wheel center caps, and on the rear hatch of the base model.
The Mustang Mach-E will roll out from late 2020 to the spring of 2021, with the final lineup including Select, First Edition, Premium, California Route 1, and higher-performance GT models. The base Select, not on sale until early 2021, will come in both rear- and all-wheel-drive variants, paired with the standard-range battery. Both make 255 horsepower, with 306 lb-ft of torque for the RWD model and 429 lb-ft for the AWD. Zero-to-60-mph times for the Select should be between five and six seconds, Ford says. Estimated range for the RWD model is higher, at 230 miles, and the AWD slouches at 210 miles.
Next up is the Premium model, available in late 2020, which can be specified with the standard- or extended-range battery and in RWD or AWD forms. The First Edition also comes out in late 2020 and is sold only as all-wheel-drive with the extended-range battery.
The California Route 1 model, out in early 2021, has the extended-range battery and rear-wheel drive and will make 282 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque. It will also feature items such as a panoramic sunroof and special badging and wheels.
A GT model will become available about a year after the base models hit dealers, and it'll be offered either as a standard GT or as a GT Performance Edition. These models will be distinguished by a more aggressive-looking metallic front grille—also sporting the Mustang badge—as well as 20-inch wheels, red brake calipers, and a GT badge on the rear. Additionally, it will get a MagneRide suspension.
Big Mustang, Even Bigger Screen
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Ford is proud of having developed the massive 15.5-inch touchscreen, its largest to date, and we applaud the automaker for giving it a knob at the bottom. Each driver has a profile—the system currently supports three driver profiles and one guest—and everything is available on the screen. The Mach-E will mark the debut of Ford's previously announced Sync 4 infotainment system, which will receive over-the-air updates, Tesla style.
Speaking of Tesla, what about an Autopilot equivalent? Ford engineers said the Mach-E will soon have what they are calling Level 2.5 autonomy. The top trim levels have all the hardware to support hands-free highway driving at launch, but the feature will not be available yet; it's supposedly coming in one of the first major over-the-air updates for them. The base Select trim level will only have active lane-keeping assist, not the full suite of driver-assistance features.
Pricing and Availability
The Mustang Mach-E will be built at Ford's plant in Mexico. Ford has already "EV certified" 2100 dealers and 3500 technicians who can service the new EV from launch. Customers can put down a refundable $500 deposit right now to reserve the Mustang Mach-E, including the higher-performance GT model that will not be delivered until spring 2021, by signing up online. The limited-build First Edition and Premium models will reach customers starting in late 2020, and the Select, California Route 1, and GT models will follow in early 2021.
Pricing for the Premium model starts at $51,700, and the limited-built First Edition will cost $61,000. Pricing for the models arriving in late 2021 starts at $44,995 for the Select (the cheapest Mach-E) and $53,500 for the California Route 1. The higher-performance GT variant will start at $61,600.