Since its introduction in 1964, the Ford Mustang has always been a coupe or convertible. That ends next year when this iconic nameplate gets affixed to an all-electric crossover called the Mustang Mach-E. While this sleek EV is one of the most advanced vehicles ever to come from Ford, many enthusiasts will consider this expansion of the Mustang lineup to border on sacrilege. But change can be exciting, and from what we’ve seen the Mach-E doesn’t look like a typical Mustang — although it does carry the same level of excitement.
Lightning Strikes Again
“At the first-ever Detroit auto show, Henry Ford said he was working on something that would strike like forked lightning,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company. “That was the Model T. Today, the Ford Motor Company is proud to unveil a car that strikes like forked lightning all over again. The all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E. It’s fast. It’s fun. It’s freedom. For a new generation of Mustang owners.”
The Mustang Mach-E is a 5-passenger crossover that will be available in five trim levels with rear- or all-wheel drive: Select, Premium, First Edition, California Route 1 and GT. Although the GT won’t be available until spring 2021, it is the Mach-E that will likely generate the most buzz.
The Mach-E GT will be all-wheel drive and with electric motors generating 459 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque. Ford estimates a sprint to 60 mph will happen in about 3.5 seconds. With 20-inch forged dark-finish wheels, red brake calipers and a unique grille, the GT will certainly stand out as something special.
Not Simply a Fuel Saver
“The Mustang Mach-E wholeheartedly rejects the notion that electric vehicles are only good at reducing gas consumption,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product development and purchasing officer. “People want a car that’s thrilling to drive, that looks gorgeous and that can easily adapt to their lifestyle — and the Mustang Mach-E delivers all of this in unmatched style.”
Standard or Extended Range
Depending on trim level, the Mach-E will be available with battery packs that offer either a standard range (75.7 kWh lithium-ion battery) or an extended range (98.8 kWh battery). For rear-wheel-drive variants with the extended-range battery, Ford estimates a range of 300 miles on a single full charge. With all-wheel drive, that range estimate drops to a respectable 270 miles. The high-performance GT is expected to have a range around 235 miles.
There are clear visual cues designed to connect the Mach-E with classic Mustang styling. Up front on the Mach-E sits the running Mustang pony logo, centered in what would be the grille if the electric Mach-E needed a grille. At the rear are familiar Mustang taillights that illuminate in sequence. With a wide stance, long hood, sleek roofline, sculpted side panels and bold fenders, the Mach-E definitely emits a high-performance vibe.
Arriving Late 2020
The Premium and First Edition Mach-Es will be the first to arrive in showrooms, slated for late 2020. Features such as LED projector headlights, a panoramic fixed-glass roof, heated front seats, ambient lighting, and a premium Bang & Olufsen audio system will be standard on the Premium trim. Standard range variants will have a 255-horsepower powertrain, while extended-range models will bump up to 332 horsepower. Available in limited numbers, the First Edition will get many of the same features, as well as special badging and interior appointments.
More Trim Options
The Select and California Route 1 versions of the Mach-E are slated to arrive in early 2021. The entry-level Select will only be available with the standard-range battery, and output is rated at 255 horsepower. Alternatively, the California Route 1 comes exclusively with extended-range batteries and rear-wheel drive only, with output of 282 horsepower.
Select and Premium trims will be available with either rear- or all-wheel drive, while the First Edition and GT are exclusively all-wheel-drive. The Mach-E all-wheel-drive system employs two electric motors and will be apply torque independently to the front or rear axles for exceptional traction under acceleration, as well as better grip and handling on slick road surfaces.
New EV Architecture
The Mustang Mach-E is built on an all-new architecture designed specifically for electric vehicles, which indicates that additional models will follow soon. The lithium-ion battery pack is located between the axles, which provides a more spacious interior as well as keeping the crossover’s center of gravity lower for better handling and performance. The batteries are liquid-cooled units for better performance in extreme temperatures, and they get stored inside a waterproof case surround by crash-absorption protection.
Ford has taken full advantage of the Mach-E’s electric powertrain to create a roomy cabin with a flat floor for improved use of interior real estate. The cabin feels spacious, especially when equipped with the optional panoramic glass roof.
Another advantage of an electric powertrain is no internal combustion engine taking up space in front. Instead, the Mach-E has a front trunk (or frunk) with enough space for a carry-on-size piece of luggage. A nice bonus: the front storage space is drainable, so it can be filled with ice and beverages for that trip to the beach or picnic.
To accompany the advanced nature of this new Ford EV, the Mach-E will feature the next generation of SYNC, Ford’s communications and infotainment system. With a 15.5-inch vertical screen integrated into the center dashboard, the new system makes access to controls simple and easy. The only hard control input is one large volume dial.
“Next-generation SYNC actively starts adapting to you as soon as you start using it, quickly learning your preferences and making personalized suggestions,” said Darren Palmer, Ford Motor’s global director for battery electric vehicles. “It can suggest going to the gym if it learns Mondays are workout days or calling home if you do that every day after work. The result is a cloud-connected assistant and interface that’s intuitive, beautiful and ready for the future thanks to fast over-the-air updates.”
FordPass Charging Network
With the introduction of its first mainstream electric vehicle, Ford plans to have the largest public charging network in the country with more than 12,500 charging stations, and that number can be expected to grow. This represents more than 35,000 charge plugs including DC fast chargers.
Something for Everyone
Even though Ford says the new Mustang Mach-E is still more than a year away, we like the direction The Blue Oval is taking with its first mainstream electric vehicle. With a range of trims representing differing levels of performance and luxury, there is more likelihood that a vehicle such as this will gain acceptance among American car shoppers. And while it seems a bit odd to badge the EV crossover as a Mustang, the Mach-E will certainly be recognizable as a Ford, and the Mustang relationship suggests it should be a runaway success by association.