Ford is unveiling its first all-electric SUV, marking the start of an avalanche of battery-powered vehicles coming from mainstream and luxury automakers during the next two years that industry analysts say will boost electric vehicle sales.
The “Mustang Mach E,” which will go 230 miles to more 300 miles per charge depending on how it’s equipped, was unveiled Sunday night ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show press days.
There are 18 now for sale in the U.S., and IHS Markit expects that to grow to 80 in 2022, including pickup trucks and SUVs that are in the heart of the American market. Yet last year, pure electric vehicles made up only 1.5% of new vehicle sales worldwide, and the consulting firm LMC Automotive predicts that will rise to 2.2% this year.
In the U.S., electric vehicles were only 1.2% of sales in 2018, and it’s expected to be about the same this year.
But automakers see opportunity for growth, and with electric vehicles getting 250 miles or more on a single charge, worries about running out of juice on a daily commute are gone. Because of the added models and increased range, LMC predicts that they will make up 17% of global sales and 7% of U.S. sales in 2030.
First-generation electric vehicles, which mainly were retrofitted versions of existing models designed to meet government fuel economy standards, didn’t sell well largely because they couldn’t travel more than 100 miles between charges. But now, many can go beyond the distance people drive in one day with plenty of cushion.
“Seeing 250 miles as a real thing has been kind of a game changer in the electric car market,” said Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for Consumer Reports. “There haven’t been a lot of choices for a vehicle that really could take the place of a mainstream vehicle. It’s a whole different animal now.”
Stephanie Brinley, principal auto analyst for IHS Markit, said electric vehicle choices may expand before consumer demand does, but eventually people will buy them.
“The increased number of models with an electric drivetrain will contribute to an increase in sales in the U.S.,” she said. “However, there is likely to be a period where the number of options will increase faster than demand and sales for each will be relatively low,” she said.
While many electrics coming in the next few years are from luxury brands, mainstream brands like Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota also have them on the production schedule. Brands that have announced new models that will go on sale in the next few years include Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Cadillac, Byton, Rivian, Bollinger, Kia, Faraday Future, Volkswagen, Mazda, Tesla, Aston Martin, Polestar, and Volvo, according to the Edmunds.com auto pricing site. Edmunds provides content to The Associated Press.
Ford and General Motors have announced plans for all-electric pickups that will compete against gas and diesel trucks that are the top sellers in the U.S.
For Ford, executives realized in 2017 that they had to offer something more exciting for the first of a new generation of electric vehicles. The company last year it promised six battery electric vehicles by 2022. It also has partnerships with VW and startup Rivian to build more.
To sell them, Ford decided to go to the company’s strengths: Pickup trucks, commercial vans and the high-performance Mustang.
“There are going to be plenty of BEV (battery electric) SUVs on the market. Some will have big batteries and double motors and be pretty fast. Some will look really good,” said Jason Castriota, the company’s brand director for electric vehicles. “No one can combine all those elements and create something that will cut right through the clutter,” he said. “Mustang is power.”
The five-passenger Mach E sort of resembles a Mustang, and Ford says it comes close to matching the car’s performance. Engineers say the base model will have a range of about 230 miles (370 kilometers) per charge, with a long-range option of more than 300 miles (483 kilometers). The base version is expected to go from zero to 60 mph (96.6 kph) in a little over six seconds, Ford said, while the performance GT version will do it in about 3.5 seconds.
The base version is rear-wheel-drive, with all-wheel-drive options. It has the Mustang pony badge on the front and rear, a long hood and a fastback look at the rear. Yet designers preserved rear-seat headroom with a blacked-out glass roof. The Mustang team set up the Mach E’s chassis tuning, which determines its handling. Designers also copied the Mustang’s triple tail lights.
U.S. orders are being taken now, and the SUV will reach showrooms next fall. The base model will start just under $44,000, with the GT starting around $65,000. Ford buyers are still eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, which is being phased out at Tesla and General Motors.
Ford has deal with Electrify America and others for a national network that includes over 12,000 charging stations and 35,000 plugs, so EV owners can go on longer trips.
The company also will have 2,100 of its U.S. dealerships certified to service electric vehicles.
Mach-E For Everyone
So let’s get into the nitty gritty. The Ford Mustang Mach-E comes with two lithium-ion battery pack options: standard range and extended range.
The standard-range version uses a 75.7-kilowatt-hour, 288-cell pack, sending power to a large rear motor, while the extended-range option uses a larger 98.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack with 376 cells, sending power to both a motor at the front axle and rear.
All that electricity gives the Mustang Mach-E a maximum range of up to 300 miles per charge on certain trim levels when equipped with the optional extended-range battery pack and rear-drive layout.
All-wheel-drive models with the same extended-range batteries will see their range drop to 270 miles. The standard-range model with the smaller battery pack and rear-wheel-drive can cover 230 miles, while the same battery pack driving all four wheels drops that figure to 210 miles.
The only outlier is the Mach-E GT Performance. While the Mach-E GT Performance gets the same extended-range battery-pack and all-wheel-drive layout as the First Edition and Premium models, its performance-oriented approach means its total range drops to 250 miles. Naturally, range varies depending on how you spec it:
|Trim||Battery Type||Drive Type||Range|
|Select||Standard Range||Rear-Wheel Drive||230 Miles|
|Select||Standard Range||All-Wheel Drive||210 Miles|
|California Route 1||Extended Range||All-Wheel Drive||300 Miles|
|Premium||Standard Range||Rear-Wheel Drive||230 Miles|
|Premium||Standard Range||All-Wheel Drive||210 Miles|
|Premium||Extended Range||Rear-Wheel Drive||300 Miles|
|Premium||Extended Range||All-Wheel Drive||270 Miles|
|First Edition||Extended Range||All-Wheel Drive||270 Miles|
|GT Performance||Extended Range||All-Wheel Drive||250 Miles|
The Mustang Mach-E does come in a few different flavors. But consumers can only choose from two options beginning in 2020: Premium and First Edition. The First Edition model comes with the extended range battery pack and all-wheel drive standard, as well as unique visual treatments like red brake calipers, metallic pedal covers, and unique badging. But those hoping to get the least expensive Mach-E will have to wait until 2021, when the base Mach-E Select arrives.
That more affordable model offers a standard-range battery pack and either rear or all-wheel drive. The more-powerful California Route 1 model, which comes exclusively with extended range and all-wheel drive, won’t be available until early 2021 as well. The range-topping Mach-E GT Performance, the most powerful of the group ( for now), doesn’t go on sale until later in 2021.
Ford guarantees its customers access to 75 percent of all charging stations in the U.S. (12,500 stations and 35,000 individual plugs). Though, it’s not proprietary like Tesla’s supercharger network, as Ford contracts out to companies like Chargepoint and EVGo. With the purchase of the Mach-E, buyers get access to said massive charging network using FordPass Charging Network, with the ability to recharge up to 47 miles in just 10 minutes with a maximum 150-kilowatt DC fast charging rate. Though, note that competitors like the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model 3 can charge at rates as high as 250-kilowatts.
Of course, Ford also offers a few home solutions, as well. A Ford Mobile Charger comes standard with the purchase of any Mach-E. Plugged into a typical 120-volt outlet, the home charger will trickle out an estimated range of about three miles each hour. Plugging the same Ford Mobile Charger into a more-powerful 240-volt outlet yields up to 22 miles of range each hour. Ford says that this application will charge up to 80 percent of the Mach-E’s pack overnight and makes the most sense for consumers.
But those buyers really wanting to take their charging game to the next level can purchase the optional Ford Connected Charge Station. Plugged into a 240-volt outlet, the higher-powered, 48-amp option adds approximately 32 miles of range each hour to the Mach-E. Ford says this is an easy way to get full charging overnight without utilizing a public station. And more importantly, the company works closely with Amazon services for installation of said chargers.
Dial ‘E’ For Excitement
Don’t fret, Mustang faithful, performance is still a major part of the Mach-E’s equation. Even with its impressive range and charging capabilities, Ford tells us the Mach-E “still drives like a Mustang.” And has the horsepower of one, too.
The most powerful model, the Mach-E GT Performance, produces 459 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of torque, giving it the ability to hit 60 miles per hour in about 3.5 seconds. But, as mentioned, that model won’t be available until the spring of 2021. Until then, buyers will have to make do with the next quickest models available in 2020: the Premium and First Edition.
With the extended-range battery pack and all-wheel drive, the Premium and First Edition trims produce up to 332 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque. The extended-range California Route 1 (not available until 2021) and Premium models with rear-wheel drive produce 282 hp and 306 lb-ft.
Even the lowliest Mach-E is no slouch. The base Select model with the standard-range battery pack and rear-wheel drive produces 255 hp and 306 lb-ft. Adding all-wheel drive to that same trim bumps the torque figure to 429 lb-ft. The base Select model, though, is the only trim that doesn’t offer an extended-range battery pack.
Confused? Don’t worry, the chart below breaks down the performance figures a bit more clearly:
|Trim||Battery Type||Drive Type||Performance|
|Select||Standard Range||Rear-Wheel Drive||255 HP / 306 LB-FT|
|Select||Standard Range||All-Wheel Drive||255 HP / 417 LB-FT|
|Premium||Standard Range||Rear-Wheel Drive||255 HP / 306 LB-FT|
|Premium||Standard Range||All-Wheel Drive||255 HP / 417 LB-FT|
|Premium||Extended Range||Rear-Wheel Drive||282 HP / 306 LB-FT|
|Premium||Extended Range||All-Wheel Drive||332 HP / 417 LB-FT|
|First Edition||Extended Range||All-Wheel Drive||332 HP / 417 LB-FT|
|California Route 1||Extended Range||Rear-Wheel Drive||282 HP / 306 LB-FT|
|GT Performance||Extended Range||All-Wheel Drive||459 HP / 612 LB-FT|
Athletic Exterior, Upscale Interior
The stretched, revised pony logos on the six-sided grille and trunk lid give away the Mach-E’s family ties. But even the angled LED headlights share something in common with the coupe with which it shares its name, as do the tri-bar taillights. Outside of the obvious crossover cues and four-door setup, there are few areas where the Mach-E stands out next to its sibling.
For one, the Mach-E has no door handles. Instead, there are pillar-mounted buttons that pop the doors open upon pressing them, and a pull handle on the front driver and passenger sides. The rear doors, for whatever reason, don’t get a pull handle. And the wheels don’t carry over from the coupe, either. Each version of the Mach-E gets its own 18-, 19-, or 20-inch wheel designs
The Mach-E’s interior is all new, as well. The animal-free cabin uses high-quality materials like synthetic “Sensico” leather on the seats and steering wheel – a brand-new material for Ford – as well as Premium Black Onyx or Space Gray cloth on the dash and speakers, the latter of which looks ripped from an Amazon Alexa or Google Home unit. The dash, meanwhile, has a shape reminiscent of the first Mustang, which is a neat touch.
A massive 15.5-inch touchscreen sits front and center on the dash, though it does feature a physical volume dial. That large touchscreen is standard throughout the range, as is the 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster and all-new steering wheel through which to view it. Ford’s newest Sync infotainment system is also standard, as is Co-Pilot 360 2.0, Ford’s latest active safety suite.
In terms of cargo room, the Mach-E offers a respectable 29.0 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Fold the rear row, and there’s 59.6 cubic feet of room. And because there’s no engine up front, the Mach-E has a “frunk,” or front trunk, with up to 4.8 cubic feet. Not only is the frunk large enough for a traditional carry-on suitcase and then some, but is lined with a washable material and features a drain. Ford designers note it’s great for tailgating. Cabin space is equally impressive; the Mach-E’s 40.5 inches of front headroom with the optional fixed glass roof is best in a class that includes cars like the I-Pace, Niro EV, and E-Tron, as is the 41.7 inches of front legroom.