You might not think you could ever get excited about an electric car, but it’s time to kick your old ideas about electric models to the curb. Ford is pulling out all the stops on a whole new line-up of electric vehicles, and one of the SUVs they are about to unleash on the world will blow your doors off. Before you read any further, strap yourselves in for a wild ride. Ford SUVs are about to be more fun than should be legal. If you haven’t guessed yet, we’re about to saddle up the new Mustang Mach-E.
Ford Mach-E Performance
It’s become a bit of a thing in recent years to see cars that tout the 0-60 in under 5 seconds label, but would you think this could be possible for an electric car? Ford’s Mach-E has been tested as hitting that mark in about 3.5 seconds, depending on where you read the news. One thing Ford has certainly done for electric and hybrid vehicles is make them more about performance and less about emissions. Remember the anemic first generations of the Prius? We all joked about how slowly it limped along, but that’s a thing of the past when you get behind the wheel of a Mustang.
What’s under the hood? Glad you asked. A lot less, actually. With less need for the moving parts of a gas-fueled engine, buyers will now have extra trunk space. Do you think you can get over opening up the hood to a 4.8 cubic foot cooler-sized space where you can store your drinks, instead of a mass of wires and pistons? Hey, extra space is extra space.
What about the horsepower if there aren’t any horses under the hood? The horsepower varies between models, starting with the rear-wheel drive base model having 255 hp and 230 miles of range. At the upper end, you have the all-wheel drive models that come in at 332 hp. Driving range varies from 210 to 300 miles, depending on the package. Extra battery packs can be added on some models to increase the range. What’s new with driving an electric SUV is the control on snow and ice.
The Design of the Mach-E
The exterior design is incredibly sleek, practically prowling even at a standstill. The Mach-E’s lines are definitely an echo of the modern gas-fueled sports car, but some new twists like ribbed taillights and the crossover SUV hatchback give it a new edge. It has five color options, three wheel sizes (18”-20”), and inserts to add more style. The front grille no longer needs to be so prominent with an electric engine, so it is significantly reduced into a slender line that acts as a frame for the iconic Mustang on the grille cover.
Interior space and design are a far cry from the gas-fueled sire of this crossover. Once again, space is the reward for needing less under the hood. Room for five passengers is generous, even for long-legged folks in the back seat. Rear trunk space is a generous 29 cubic feet. A seemingly massive touchscreen dominates the front command capsule at a whopping 10.2 inches, and is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A new feature, called Sync, will actively learn the driver’s habits in order to deliver the best information about how to conserve battery use.
All the same features of a gas-fueled vehicle will be on board the new Mach-E, like cruise control, driver-assisted technology, stereo controls, and the speedometer all located within the dash or mounted on the steering wheel. New features, like using your phone as a key, may take some time to get accustomed to until you realize the vehicle resets exactly to your liking before you sit in the driver’s seat (which honestly sounds really nice).
There will be four models available, starting with the Select at an MSRP of $43,895. From there, it goes to the Premium, the California Rt. 1 Edition, and the GT. Each model offers a variety of options for battery packs, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, horsepower, and the driving range expected. Of all the options, the Premium model, which is priced at $50,600, is most likely the best deal. It has a wide range of options for the price and has the most choices for drivetrain and driving range.
The Premium Mach-E comes standard with the sleek panoramic glass roof, which is low-E glass and is designed to take advantage of the weather to keep the interior either warm or cool. Heated front row seats and steering wheel, a memory driver seat, 360-degree camera, active park assist, hands-free liftgate, and a 10-speaker sound system are just a few features that come standard on this model. Clearly, going electric does not mean you need to go hungry for modern accessories.
A Little Knowledge Goes a Long Way
Ford intelligently chooses to educate consumers on their website when it comes to getting comfortable with the idea of driving an electric vehicle. In the US, most drivers are so accustomed to driving gas-fueled vehicles, and we don’t realize how prevalent the charging stations for electric vehicles have already become. A map on the Ford website actually shows 96% of people live within 40 miles of a charging station, which is well within driving distance from almost anywhere.
Aside from the charging stations, Ford also chooses to describe how to best manage driving habits in order to lessen the draw on the battery of the vehicle in order to get a better driving range. Most people may not realize that aggressive driving, like having a lead-foot, can draw on the battery life in much the same way as it would burn more fuel in your gas tank. Excessive cold or heat can also affect battery life, but Ford describes that “preconditioning” the vehicle while charging can help manage the reduction. Lastly, a regenerative braking system is described as a means for reducing battery draw, and even potentially increasing the battery charge if done properly.
One potential downside to charging—as opposed to filling a gas tank—is the time it will take, and the need for a specific socket at home. Ford is partnered with Amazon to ensure buyers can order the right socket to install in their garage or parking space (but those who park on city streets will have no such luxury), and Amazon will even install it. Home charging times will vary, and pricing for the faster socket on Amazon is about $600 if you install it yourself. Heading to a charging station will yield a much more rapid charge at about 47 miles per 10 minutes, but that means if your battery allows up to 300 miles (the way the double battery pack should), you will have to wait over an hour to charge the battery. This is not ideal.
On the flip side, Ford is offering buyers two years of complimentary access to the FordPass app, which links to your smartphone in order to keep tabs on battery life, find charging stations, and start your vehicle from anywhere so you can heat or cool it while it’s still charging at home (“pre-conditioning”). This incentive seems like a good decision to get drivers excited about owning an electric vehicle, and warranties on the Mach-E are also generous in coverage. One last consideration is Ford’s willingness to help out motorists who lose power while out on the road by offering a towing service in the first 5 years or 60,000 miles.
If these situations cause you to cringe and think it might be more trouble than it’s worth, you may want to think about how you have gotten used to considering fuel conservation or going to gas stations. We all look for ways to make the gas tank stretch as many miles as possible, from buying cheaper gas to changing our driving habits. Nobody expects to get their tanks filled in the driveway. Going electric is likely to be along the same lines, but may involve slightly different behaviors. So, don’t let the care of an electric battery life scare you away from what may potentially be a vehicle you love to drive. Seriously, we’re talking about a Mustang. With no emissions. The driving experience might be worth waiting at the charging pump.