Ford’s first entry into the new world of electric vehicles has been revealed. The company unveiled the Mustang Mach-E SUV on Sunday night following months of teaser images, years of hype about a $11 billion push into EVs, and a last-minute leak that spoiled a good amount — but certainly not all of — the details about the vehicle.
Unlike a lot of the electric competition from automakers like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, or Jaguar, the Mustang Mach-E will be offered in a slew of variants and trims, to an almost dizzying degree. Ford will sell versions of the five-seater SUV that can travel 210 miles on a full battery, and also ones that go 300 miles. One of the Mustang Mach-E options will beat most sports cars from 0 to 60 miles per hour, while others will just barely edge out a Chevy Bolt. Some ship in late 2020, and some in Spring 2021.
None are exactly cheap — the most affordable one starts at $43,895, which is a few thousand dollars more than the current average selling price of a vehicle in the US. But buyers of Ford’s electric and hybrid vehicles are still eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit — something Ford was quick to point out Sunday night. Depending on the state people live in, government incentives could help reduce the ultimate cost by around $10,000 in the US.
For people who can afford it, there’s a lot on offer. For those who can’t, Ford hopes the Mustang Mach-E is something to aspire to as the company rolls out more electric vehicles in the coming years.
Let’s start with that base $43,895 version of the Mustang Mach-E, which Ford has dubbed the “Select” model. The Select Mustang Mach-E will be offered in both rear-wheel drive (RWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) configurations when it ships in “Spring 2021,” and both versions use the same 75.7kWh “standard range” battery pack Ford has designed for its new EV. The RWD version will have a range of about 230 miles, and around 255 horsepower, with the ability to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in six or seven seconds. The AWD version will be about a second quicker at the expense of range, with an estimated 210 miles on a full battery. Both can charge at rates of up to 115 kW at DC fast charging stations, while the rest of the Mustang Mach-E variants will be able to charge at up to 150kW.
(All variants come with a home charger that can plug into 120V or 240V outlets, though Ford will sell a faster home charger, for which the company is partnering with Amazon Home Services to help with installation.)
The next level up is the “Premium” Mustang Mach-E, which starts at $50,600 and starts shipping late 2020. Customers can buy the Premium Mustang Mach-E with the standard range battery pack, or pay more for a 98.8kWh “extended range” pack. Each version can be optioned with RWD or AWD, meaning there are four possible range estimates here: 210 miles for standard range with AWD, 230 miles for standard range with RWD, 270 miles for extended range with AWD, and 300 miles for extended range with RWD.
Both AWD versions of the Premium Mustang Mach-E are supposed to be able to get from 0 to 60 miles per hour in the mid-five second range, while the RWD versions sit in the mid sixes. (Horsepower varies throughout between 255HP and 333HP.) Again, customers will be presented with the same basic tradeoffs: would you rather have a little more performance at the expense of range? Or would you rather have a bit more range at the expense of performance?
But wait! There’s more! Three more versions of the Mustang Mach-E, in fact, though they are each a bit more straightforward than the Select or Premium models.
The California Route 1 Mustang Mach-E will ship in “early 2021,” starts at $52,400, and only comes in RWD configuration with the extended range battery pack. Ford estimates it will get 300 miles of range and deliver 282 horsepower. The $59,900 First Edition is a limited-production initial run version of the Mustang Mach-E coming in late 2020 alongside the Premium model. The First Edition marries AWD with the extended range pack for 270 miles of range and 333 horsepower. It will come with special “First Edition” labels, brushed aluminum pedals, red brake calipers, and be available in a bright blue paint job that Ford won’t offer on most other versions of the Mustang Mach-E.
Then there’s the big kahuna: the Mustang Mach-E GT. This AWD-only version of the vehicle starts at $60,500, and comes with special GT badging and a metallic-looking front grille. It only squeezes about 250 miles out of the extended range battery pack, but that’s because it’s tuned for performance. In fact, while the other AWD versions of the Mustang Mach-E use different motors for the rear (210 kW) and front (50kW) axles, the GT uses the bigger electric motor on both, giving this version 459 total horsepower — allowing the GT Mustang Mach-E to make it from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a little under four seconds. If that’s still not enough, a GT Performance trim will make the run in just over three seconds.
There are plenty of other choices, too, depending on which variant customers seek out. Some can be optioned with a panoramic glass roof, or a B&O Play sound system, and more. It’s worth checking out the newly-launched configurator to dig into all that’s on offer.
After prospective buyers hack their way through all of those choices, though, they’ll all wind up with a rather similar Mustang Mach-E experience when it comes to the rest of the new SUV.
There’s a wealth of headroom and legroom, 29 cubic feet of storage space in the back (accessible via a hatch door), and 4.8 cubic feet of storage in the front trunk where the internal combustion engine usually lives. The front trunk also has one of the neater touches I’ve seen in any car, but especially in electrics: Ford says it can be used as a cooler, and to that effect has added a small drain plug at the bottom of the storage space, which also isn’t lined with any type of fabric. There are even two cupholders just inside the lip.
Just above the Mustang Mach-E’s steering wheel is a small, shiny black bar that houses a driver monitoring system. All versions of the new SUV will come with the second generation of Ford’s advanced driver assistance system, CoPilot 360. Ford says it wants to eventually allow hands-free highway driving, so it’s good that the company’s included this tech. That said, it’s not fully clear when (or if) the driver monitoring system will be used until that happens.
Behind that is a 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster that displays all the relevant driving information. This display will also change up how it looks depending on which of the three driving modes people choose in the Mustang Mach-E. In “whisper” mode, which is the least aggressive, this display uses minimalist graphics. In the middle “engage” mode, more information appears. And in the most dynamic driving mode, called “unbridled,” copper bar graphics placed around the speedometer move in the direction of the g-forces acting on the car and driver.
But the centerpiece of the Mustang Mach-E’s interior is a 15.5-inch vertical touchscreen display that’s mounted to (and protruding from) the center of the dashboard. Like many other future-focused EVs hitting the market, the Mustang Mach-E is light on buttons, with just one big physical volume knob at the bottom of this display. Something to note: Ford said this wheel could contextually adapt to control other things in the UI, though it didn’t specify what that would be.
Otherwise, drivers and passengers will have to tap the big display to control everything like climate settings, media, navigation, and vehicle controls. The company is adamant that the new, fourth version of its Sync infotainment system was designed for big screens like this one in mind, and that it put a special focus on making sure the most commonly-accessed settings and toggles will be just one tap away, though it will be a while before anyone can put that to the test. Ford’s also said the infotainment system will be more dynamic and adaptable than in past versions, with the ability to surface the things drivers and passengers tinker with the most. The Mustang Mach-E’s software will also come with a route-planning feature that can suggest where to charge the car, and for how long.
Sync 4 in this SUV means the Mustang Mach-E will support wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, which is great because there’s a wireless charging pad just underneath the display. For people who want or need to plug in, there’s both a USB-A and USB-C port just behind the wireless charging pad, and the same set of ports can be found at the back of the center console for rear seat passengers.
The screen inside will undoubtedly draw comparisons to Tesla, as it mixes the pop-out design of the Model 3’s screen with the portrait orientation made popular by the Model S and Model X. (Ford has tinkered with big vertical touchscreens in some of its cars, too, though never to this degree.) Another touch that will likely strike that same chord is that there are no traditional door handles on the Mustang Mach-E. Instead, drivers and passengers must press illuminated buttons on the B and C pillars to pop the doors open. (The front doors do have a small winglet-style handle just under the button to grab onto.)
A debate over Ford’s choice to call this SUV a Mustang will surely take shape now that it’s been revealed. Ford has undeniably infused the Mach-E with Mustang-y traits, like the tri-bar headlights and taillights, a long hood / short nose combination, and similar stamping details in the bodywork. It also won’t skimp on performance, and even the slower versions will benefit from the instant torque that electric motors provide.
And while EVs are known for being somewhat silent, Ford says it worked hard to give the Mustang Mach-E its own unique growl. After benchmarking everything from the Batmobile from the Christian Bale-era movies, to vehicles from Blade Runner, to the noises from all the teams’ cars in all-electric racing series Formula E, Ford says it created 30 unique sound profiles for the Mustang Mach-E. The company then focus grouped those sounds around the world, and ultimately settled on a “throaty acceleration note” that sounds more like an internal combustion engine than I expected.
Does it rival the sound of a naturally aspirated V8? Not even close. But in a brief demo ride, I thought it sounded fun and unique, somewhere in between the high-pitched whirring of most electric vehicles and the grumble of a sports car engine. Much like the Mustang Mach-E’s solid front grille, it’s bound to be a bit divisive.
The Mustang Mach-E’s “engine” noise can be switched off, and it also varies in volume depending on which driving mode you’re in. Drivers won’t, however, be allowed to disable a similar noise piped to the outside of the vehicle for pedestrian safety — something that’s now required by the US and Europe.
Like many other established automakers, Ford has dabbled with electric vehicles in the past. Those dalliances were never very serious, though. (The company was also sure to point out that it was making electric vehicles in the earliest years of the automobile, too.)
The Mustang Mach-E is clearly Ford’s first legitimate attempt to design, manufacture, and most importantly, promote and sell an electric car. That Ford has put the Mustang’s brand reputation on the line to ensure it succeeds at that last part should make it all the more obvious how much the company believes in its new EV.