Ford Mustangs have been traversing American streets and highways for almost 60 years. It’s an iconic car with legendary status among diehard enthusiasts and casual car fans. So, when Ford introduced an all-electric vehicle with a Mustang name, some pony car devotees shouted foul while others embraced a changing automotive world.
The truth is that the Mustang Mach-E shares very little with the original Ford Mustang. There’s common corporate parentage, a shared name, and both cars get sold and serviced at the same dealerships. And that’s about it. But don’t shortchange the Mach-E because it’s without an internal combustion engine (ICE). Read on as we explore what makes this Mustang EV unique.
Ford engineers realized that anything involving the Mustang name required careful steps on sacred ground. So while the Mach-E would never perform like its ICE-powered stablemate, they undertook serious efforts to maximize the EV’s handling. Such measures included tuning the chassis at Ford’s 3D Nascar racing simulator in Concord, North Carolina. It’s the first time Ford did this for a production car.
Ford has also showcased the Mach-E at NASCAR events. In 2020, before the car’s official release, Ford displayed a heavily-modified 1,400-horsepower Mach-E that relied on seven electric motors for jet levels of g-force. In 2021, a more normal Mach-E served as the official pace car for the NASCAR cup series at Talladega Superspeedway.
While “SUV” has become a generic term for boxy five-door vehicles with raised driving positions, the label doesn’t apply to the Ford Mustang Mach-E. It’s really a crossover. In technical terms, most SUVs have a separate body from the chassis. It’s a setup you’ll primarily find with larger utilities, like the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Suburban, and Ford Expedition. Most pickup trucks get made this way, too.
On the other hand, a crossover has an integrated body and chassis that’s a single unit. (a unibody structure). Virtually all utility vehicles (other than the larger ones) are crossovers. In the case of Mach-E, the crossover configuration is helpful because of the massive battery pack that is part of the chassis. Read SUV Vs. Crossover: What’s The Difference? to learn more.
Try as hard as you can, and you won’t see a Ford badge (the legendary Blue Oval) anywhere on the exterior or interior of the Mach-E. It’s a deliberate effort by Ford to brand the Mach-E as a standout vehicle.
It’s also in keeping with the automaker’s other steps to bring greater recognition to individual models, like the Bronco. Ford will soon be launching standalone Bronco dealerships, so perhaps a Mustang-only showroom won’t be too far behind.
The Mach-E is available in four trims: Select, Premium, California Route 1, and GT. As the starter Mach-E, the Select features 247 miles of estimated range via a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) setup and a 70kWh battery. Ford calls this the standard-range (SR) configuration, which uses an array of 288 lithium-ion cells. Range drops to 224 miles for all-wheel drive (what Ford calls eAWD). Output is 266 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque (RWD) or 428 lb-ft for eAWD.
In Premium form, this standard range Mach-E matches Select’s specs. But, add in the extended-range (ER) capability of the 91 kWh battery (376 cells) for a 303-mile range with RWD and 277 miles of travel with eAWD. The ER configuration bumps up horsepower: 290 for RWD and 345 for eAWD. The California Route 1 comes only with the ER battery, and the range improves slightly to 314 miles (RWD) or 312 (AWD). Horsepower and torque match the similarly equipped Premium.
There are two flavors of the top-tier Mach-E: GT and GT Performance Edition. Both are eAWD-only and use the same 91 kWh cell array, but the battery is set up differently depending on the version. The GT is rated for 270 miles with 480 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque. The range for GT Performance drops a bit (to 260 miles) in favor of a bump in horsepower to 634.
The Mach-E comes close to the conventional Ford Mustang in terms of straight-line acceleration. Time differences are primarily down to a fraction of a second. Let’s compare the Mach-E’s 0-60 mph times to those of its ICE-powered sibling.
|Mustang Mach-E||0-60 Time||Mustang (ICE)||0-60 Time|
|Select/Premium (SR) RWD/eAWD||5.8/5.2 seconds||EcoBoost (Turbo 4)||5.1 seconds|
|6.1/4.8 seconds||GT (V-8)||4.2 seconds|
|GT/Performance||3.8/3.5 seconds||Shelby GT500 (SC V8)||3.3 seconds|
The fundamental contrast comes with overall handling as the two Mustangs each have very different configurations. The Mach-E weighs about 4,400 pounds or roughly 600 pounds more than the standard Ford Mustang. The two cars will handle differently by weight disparity alone, even if everything else was the same. Add the Mach-E’s taller body for a heavier-feeling vehicle behind the wheel (compared to the original Mustang). But, despite the Mach-E’s bulk, you’ll still experience crisp and responsive handling, even while cornering. Perhaps, think of the Mach-E as a sporty, high-end crossover that’s still fun to drive. Leave the sports car handling to the regular Ford Mustang.
The Mach-E Premium and higher trims come with a 150kW DC fast-charge capability (115kW for the Select). When connected to one of the 13,500 FordPass locations (or another DC fast-charger), it takes about 10 minutes to add 61 miles of range. Similarly, going from 10%-80% takes 45 minutes.
Using a Ford Connected charge station (an $800 device that gets installed at home) would take about 10.9 hours to recharge a Mach-E to 100 percent from zero percent. Ford also includes a Mobile Charger with the Mach-E. Using this device to restore the car to 100 percent (from zero) would take 15 hours via a 240-volt outlet and 95 hours with a standard household outlet.
While Tesla helped popularize the front trunk (the frunk), the Mach-E takes this compartment to new heights of usefulness. Ford designed it with a plastic liner and drain to turn the car’s front end into a rolling cooler. Fill it with ice and drop in drinks or anything else that needs chilling.
You’ve got 4.8 cubic feet of space that can transform a tailgate party or camping adventure. Ford says the Mach-E’s frunk will hold 1,000 chicken wings. Imagine the possibilities. Of course, conventional cargo can go here, too.
Ford is a major supplier of vehicles to law enforcement agencies. So, it won’t be too long before a Mach-E with police department colors appears in the mirror or hides behind some roadside bushes. Eventually, EVs like the Mustang Mach-E will replace the gas-guzzling Explorer and Taurus cop cars.
Last fall, Ford sent the Mach-E off for evaluation to the Michigan State Police (the de facto agency in the U.S. for law enforcement vehicle testing). The car received high marks for acceleration and low operating costs. However, reviewers were less impressed with backseat usability (different priorities than the average household) and instrumentation functionality. Ford has to work ahead if it wants to see the Mach-E as a black and white.
Cars like the Mustang Mach-E are at the leading edge of a movement that’s transforming motoring. Check out our extensive selection of premium pre-owned EVs and hybrids if you’re ready to hop on the wave. And read the Trust Auto Blog for helpful articles, like 46 Terms To Know Before Buying A Hybrid Or Electric Vehicle. Of course, we still love gas-powered Mustangs, so review our story on What You Need to Know About Buying a Used Ford Mustang.
Posted Saturday, February 26, 2022