► Ford Mustang Mach-E unveiled
► It's Ford's first full electric SUV
► Like an i-Pace, but for the masses
Is this the moment the Blue Oval finally went green? After many years of lagging suspiciously behind on environmental matters (a hybrid Mondeo doesn't really cut it in 2020...), the new Ford Mustang Mach-E electric car looks set to turbocharge Detroit's ecological ambitions.
It's a part-SUV, part hatchback, all-electric car, and one that riffs on that famous Mustang bloodline (there isn't a single Ford badge visible). The pony branding helps give the car some sex appeal, and they've plundered styling cues such as the Stang's distinctive hatched rear lamps to help it stand out from the crowd.
The first Mustang spin-off for 55 years is being launched at the 2019 Los Angeles auto show. Read on for our full, detailed introduction.
The Mach-E looks like a Jaguar i-Pace!
Indeed it does, and its dimensions are uncannily similar too. ‘It’s not an SUV, it’s not a hatchback – it’s something different, a little bit like a shooting brake,' Ford's European design chief Murat Güler told us. The hatchy-SUV silhouette is most apparent in side profile, and reflects the electric car's skateboard architecture whose batteries require a taller car, yet one whose footprint is more coupe-like.
CAR magazine has pored all over the Mach-E and can confirm that the roof isn’t actually that high, but the sills are deep to accommodate big battery packs that top out at an impressive 99kWh capacity in the longest-range version. It's high-riding, but with a low H-point where the driver sits, referencing a regular Mustang sports car. ‘We don’t want it to be just a copy of a Mustang,’ adds Güler, whose Euro team contributed to the Dearborn design.
The Mach-E should have fair practicality, although it's not a full-on space cadet: bootspace stands at 402 litres (nothing to write home about), but capacity rises to 1420 litres if you flop the rear seats down. Five seats are standard and there is no third row.
What will the Ford Mach-E rival?
As well as the (much) more expensive i-Pace, consider the upcoming Tesla Model Y and VW ID.4 EVs. These all-electric crossovers give you an idea of the car’s marketing position.
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It's telling that they've branded it a Mustang, not a Ford. Detroit executives admit they considered redesigning the pony but went with the established logo in the end, albeit with a textured finish to contrast with the blanked-off front grille.
Note the absence of door handles, too: the Mustang Mach-E eschews pop-outs and instead has a little nub at the base of the B-pillars, with a push button. The idea is that you unlock the car with your phone (although it does have a key too, for technophobes). There’s also a security code you tap into the B-pillar if you want to leave your mobile in the car and go jogging or for a swim. It's a clever idea.
Engineering and specs of Ford's new electric car
This is on a brand-new platform, developed purely by Ford – it's not anything to do with its fresh partnership with Rivian, or the deal with VW on its high-volume MEB electrical architecture. The Mach E will be built in Mexico.
It’s a mixed metal platform of steel and some aluminium. Expect to see it used on other Ford EVs in the pipeline, as it's a modular toolkit and lots of investment has gone into it. There's a choice of rear-wheel drive (if you spec the single motor) or AWD (dual motor), and two battery sizes are available, depending on the size of your commute and your wallet.
There’ll be a GT performance version, boasting a sub-5.0sec sprint from 0-62mph. Official specs and performance claims are a little way off, but Ford promises the more powerful model will have power of 459bhp and 612lb ft of torque. Maybe that muscular Mustang badge is well deserved, after all...
Key specs at launch are as follows:
- Mustang Mach E 76kWh lithium-ion battery, 370-mile range, 332bhp, 417lb ft of torque
- Mustang Mach-E GT 99kWh lithium-ion battery, range tbc, 459bhp, 612lb ft of torque
It's relatively lightweight for an EV, too. The single-motor, smaller-battery model weighs 1993kg, rising to 2218kg for the twin-motor, 99kWh version.
Ford Mustang Mach-E interior: they've gone all Tesla on us!
It's impossible not to see the huge 15.5-inch touchscreen and draw comparison with Tesla's giant infotainment system. Still, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em... The Ford will also offer over-the-air updates.
Dorit Haas, a member of Team Edison which oversaw the Mach-E project, admitted to CAR that the dominating digital screen 'will polarise.'
‘Software is key for Tesla and that’s why it’s a success,' she said. 'That’s why we invested a lot into this and the HMI [human machine interface, or switchgear] because it’s what the customer needs. When we test Teslas, people - especially teenagers - play around with the screen a lot. In the past, you opened the hood to see the engine – now it’s all about the screen. We have to learn from different customer expectations.’
The touchscreen is indeed huge and organised in portrait orientation, like a Tesla's.
It marks the first appearance of Ford Sync 4, which will roll out to other cars in time. Interestingly, it has a physical clickwheel incorporated into the base of the screen, rather than separate, which is designed to help on bumpy roads. Ford has worked with Amazon on Alexa voice control for certain markets.
What's the quality like inside?
The fit and finish feel very good for a pre-series car. The steering wheel is a bit nondescript, but the cabin otherwise feels just about worthy of a car at this level. We were impressed by the Bang & Olufsen soundbar built into the dashboard itself (we haven't seen this before) and there are some nice fabrics, textures and materials throughout the cabin.
There's also lots of storage space – especially between the front seats, easily enough to store a handbag. The 100-litre front boot (or 'frunk', above) is waterproof – which is ideal for slinging dirty charge cables in during winter. Or ‘you could put beers in there and ice to cool them,’ according to the party-minded Haas from the Team Edison EV squad.
How much will the Ford Mustang Mach-E cost? UK prices please...
Ford tells us that the starting price is £40,270, extending to the high £50k ballpark for a loaded First Edition. UK sales are due to kick off later in 2020, in the first batch of target countries (the USA, UK, Germany, Norway, France and Switzerland). Pre-orders are being taken now.
It won't be the last electrified Ford coming to Europe, either; the Blue Oval's promising a total of 14 models due by the end of 2020. Is this the start of a Detroit revolution? Be sure to sound off in our comments below.
More on Ford's plans to electrify its entire range of cars and trucks