It shouldn’t have been a big surprise, sooner or later a mainstream manufacturer was going to create a vehicle that could give Tesla a run for its money. The bigger question may end up being if it’s the car itself or the marketing that was the bigger achievement here. Surely naming it a Mustang was a stroke of genius, guaranteed to get tongues wagging everywhere and generating huge amounts of publicity. Even the biggest and most avowed EV skeptics will likely take a look at the first few they see and discuss it with others, which probably wouldn’t have happened with a completely different name; they would have just ignored the hoopla altogether.
Ford won’t recreate that fateful day in April of 1964 as there isn’t the capacity for it, but that won’t matter a whit, what will matter is people linking Ford and electric vehicles in the same thought. If it gets people in the showrooms, great, if nothing else, the talk about the “Electric Mustang” surely has spread the word further than it would have otherwise.
Of course it’s important to realize that Ford has in fact done its homework. They have managed to create a viable competitor to the market leader in the EV segment and did it by apparently studying what people did and didn’t like and then capitalizing on many of those aspects.
Not that there aren’t some areas that could be improved upon, nothing is a slam dunk. Some internal to Ford items and a large one (perhaps the single largest one) that is purely external do loom and remain as unanswered questions that time will provide the answers to as it relates to the ultimate success of the Mustang Mach-E.
Ford was well aware that besides pickup trucks, the midsize SUV format is where the money is made these days. If you’re going to introduce a new EV, this is where the overall market is heading. To make the biggest splash and capture the most attention, this is the format to build. Why waste time on irrelevant supercars (12-year-olds don’t buy cars, just posters) or just as apparently irrelevant sedans (nobody buys those anymore, right?), just start out with something that has increasingly worldwide appeal. And if you can somehow sprinkle it with your company’s halo car pixie dust, then do so. So Mustang it is, but completely reimagined with the Mach-E suffix to the historic moniker.
The actual car is deceptive in size, compared to a Tesla Model Y the Mustang is one inch shorter, two inches narrower, and one inch lower in height. However the wheelbase is over three inches longer. Looking at in in profile I would have guessed it’s longer than the Model Y, perhaps the wheelbase throws that aspect off visually. But anyway, they are essentially identical as far as external dimensions are concerned.
They’ll never be confused for each other though, as the Mustang clearly has tried to imbue its design with as many Mustang cues as could be included without coming across as a complete caricature of itself. The Mustang has over the years sometimes tried a little too hard with fake vents and scoops and the like, thankfully none of that is present here. The shape is smooth and sculpted with some flair and maybe a hint of an unfinished aspect or direction lack of direction towards the rear, but that’s all subjective anyway. You either like it or as with me, grow to at least not mind it. The front and rear are recognizably different from everything else out there and the profile, well, it may have a hint of Infiniti FX to my eye, but that wasn’t one to easily confuse with the rest of the genre either.
Of course there’s no need for a real grille front and center, and thankfully it doesn’t have one pasted on, but rather an outline with an insert panel that sports the famed horse. In fact there are mighty few instances of actual Ford logos on the beast. As far as I could see there’s a small one at the top center of the windshield, the glass has the logo in the corner, as does the keyfob (that just stays in your pocket especially as the car uses your phone as a personalized key). Underneath that front panel though there is a lower grille opening with active shutters, likely for helping to cool the battery in hot conditions.
Walking anywhere near the car causes the lights to go on as it senses the presence of the key or connected phone (Ford supplied me with an iPhone programmed to the car), it unlocks automatically and silently, and only requires a push of the little round button on the pillar to activate the latch. Right under the button is a little…ledge, or fingerpull perhaps, that you curl your fingers into and use to pull the door open.
The rear door is similar but has no fingerpull, instead that door opens about an inch and a half and then requires a pull of the doorframe to open, it will not allow you (or more pointedly, little kids) to push the door closed on their fingers instead of using inserted fingers to pull it open. I don’t understand why both doors didn’t use one system or the other, but there it is.
There is also the Ford system that allows you to input a code sequence into a number pad that is embedded within the B-pillar to unlock the car and only lights up when you touch it. Below is the first of three videos that I produced that feature a sort of walkaround of the car and all of its apertures although everything is also covered in the text here. The videos allow some greater detail, especially of things that are difficult or would be inordinately lengthy to spell out. This one is a little over four minutes long.
This particular version was the Premium trim level with all-wheel-drive but the standard range battery. This trim level is equipped with 19″ wheels, a panoramic sunroof that doesn’t open but is permanently transparent without a sunshade, has two motors (one for each end), features an interior with faux leather dubbed “Active-X” and five seats. Except for the battery range, this specification is pretty much what the Tesla Model Y offers in its current basic format.
Range in the Mustang differs depending on trim level, driven wheels, and battery option, in this particular configuration the EPA rated it as offering 211 miles of range from the usable portion of this battery (Ford allows access to 68kWh and 88kWh for the larger option). The sticker price of this particular car was very similar to that of the AWD Long Range Model Y which offers 326 miles of range. More on this further on though….
The interior is plenty roomy for four, and would seem to be able to accommodate five in reasonable comfort. The front seats are large and supportive with power controls, and were easy to get very comfortable in. The seats are heated, as is the steering wheel, both aspects controlled from within the large center touch screen. The center console is a double-layered affair with an open lower level and a wireless charging pad in the top (most-used and accessible) level.
The dashboard itself is made of multiple materials ranging from a textured hard plastic on top, then transitioning to a fabric covered band that houses the dashboard speakers of the excellent Bang&Olufsen audio system and below that a hard plastic sort of carbon fiber texture piece that in reality is far better looking and feeling that it sounds. Finally there is more of the same light gray Active-X material as on the seats bisected with a French seam.
This theme carries over to the doors, where everything is soft above the lower black layer that houses the door pockets. Welcome here was the memory seat selector on the driver’s door panel (the other door, sorry) where it could be accessed before even sinking into the seat.
While the key and phone will adjust the car to your own programmed profile, there are times when someone needs to get into an unlocked car, having the seat adjustment option right there is a boon. There is almost nothing worse than having to climb into a car set up for someone a foot shorter and then having to adjust it afterward. First-world problems, I know.
Rear seat room is spacious enough, I had a couple of inches of legroom when the front seat was adjusted for myself (6’1″ with 32″ inseam) with my hair just brushing the sunroof surround when seated as far back as possible. A little slouch is possible for more comfort. The rear seat features a fold down armrest with cupholders and the seatbacks themselves can fold 60/40 but do not recline and the seats do not more forward or aft.
Neither do those in the Tesla, however that car does have more several more inches of legroom as well as more headroom and seat heating for all three positions in back. The Tesla would be more comfortable for a longer trip in the backseat but the Mustang is hardly a penalty box in this aspect. It sure beats any traditional Mustang I’ve ever been in by a country mile! We were able to travel about 150 miles one day with four of us aboard and zero complaints regarding space or comfort.
Overhead is a large fixed pane panoramic sunroof, again as in the Tesla and also without any sort of sunshade or cover. The glass is tinted and contains some sort of UV or Solar blocking coating to prevent the frying of the occupants. It covers as much of the area as possible, when viewed from the outside at any kind of angle it just appears as a black panel but inside serves to brighten things up significantly.
The biggie that I haven’t yet touched on though is the small supplemental screen right in front of the driver. It’s a small rectangle and displays the odometer, speed (labeled as “Ground Speed”, which is a little cringeworthy but when the fighter in the other corner’s initials are E.M., well, it could be worse), state of charge both in percentage as well as a range estimate, and also can display supplemental navigation instructions among a few other settings.
For one who switches between cars frequently this is a biggie, for someone like my wife who has gotten used to just glancing to the side no further than she would glance down (no Head-Up Display in either car), it was deemed unimportant. But yes, this more “traditional” aspect to the car will go a very long way with more than just a few buyers, that is obvious. Ford was smart to spend the extra money here instead of having to fight the naysayers. Below is another four minute or so long video I produced that shows many of the interior aspects of the car in more detail.
Between the front seats is a console bin that is accessed by flipping up the armrest and rolling back a cover, and in front of that is the rotary gear selector as well as buttons for the hazard lights and parking assist system. The electric parking brake is housed here as well with two cupholders just in front of that.
And, of course, the 15″ vertically oriented touch screen that controls many of the car’s functions to a far greater degree than one would think necessary. Underneath it is a wireless charging pad for one phone along with a couple of USB ports.
Ford did a very good job with this large screen and also introduced the new SYNC4 system here. The screen is intuitive to use, offers a lot of adjustability as far as the car is concerned, and while just a little laggy at times between some screens (evident in the next video), seems to function quite well overall. I never had any trouble using it from a functional perspective, reflections were not an issue, the size and distance were good for me, and if you thought screens were a fad that would play out soon, well, I hope you didn’t place any bets.
Of course the initial focus when viewing the screen is the large volume knob at the bottom. It’s about 2″ in diameter, the power button is inside it, and while it works as intended, the driver of the car would more likely just use the toggle on the steering wheel. The knob itself feels a little cheap, hard, and plasticky, in comparison to most of the other materials it has a little of an afterthought vibe to it although it works great.
I’ve put together another video (about sixteen minutes in total, there’s a lot of info and demonstration) that goes into the screens as well as some other ancillary aspects such as the range calculations if you are interested in sitting through it below. This is the last video of this series though, I promise.
Besides that aforementioned knob, the biggest takeaway from the interior is how un-Ford like it really is. The plastics seem of generally higher quality than in almost any Ford product, and the overall fit and finish was better as well. If Ford can get people into the car, those people will quite likely approve of what they see as it plays a cut above the expectation.
I can’t say it was absolutely perfect though, in this car’s case the A-pillar trim (unexpectedly done in plastic) on the driver’s side stood a quarter inch higher than its mating surface on the dashboard and clearly different from that of the passenger side which fit very well. I touched it to see if it was loose or just knocked out of position, but no, it was immovable. Tesla gets skewered for this sort of thing (and rightly so, thing won’t improve otherwise), but clearly this shows that even 100+ years of auto building doesn’t mean everything is always perfect either.
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All those smarts and no spare. Or a new name.
I had the same thought, it’s a SUV, how is there no space for a real spare? Even the real Mustangs with their tiny trunks have a well for one
1. It’s more about the weight than anything else.
2. The rear drive unit is under there. There IS technically room for a spare but then the cargo capacity would shrink even more.
Jim, I get all that – but damage a sidewall and nothing will pump it up – then it’s a tow. Saying that, anyone who buys one of these things would struggle with a tyre change anyway. Not a criticism, merely an observation.
A false observation and clearly some sort of stereotype, what is it about a Mustang Mach-E that would make an owner incapable of swapping a tire? 🙂 I managed to change all four wheels and tires and even wrote about it on our Tesla that doesn’t have a spare either. I’ll be doing it again in a few weeks.
I do agree that a spare would be something I would likely purchase if available and there was a place for it. These two cars are nowhere near the only ones without a spare on the market today, it’s becoming more common. Tesla will send their roadside assistance to you with a loaner spare wheel and tire and if none are available will take you to your home, a Service Center or a Third Party repair facility within 50 miles. I assume Ford will do the same. On a long trip I’d perhaps consider packing one of the winter wheels to bring along just to make sure it would not be needed.
You got me Jim – it is false, AND a stereotype. Did I fail to congratulate you on outstanding work here? The voluminous comments testify to that. I stand corrected.
I’ve been driving for over 50 years, with a total of something like 30+ cars, totaling maybe 3/4 of a million miles and I’ve changed a flat exactly one time.
With the gives/takes of EV’s, this is not a deal breaker. JMHO
Anyhoo, as my dad always said, “luckily it’s only flat on the bottom”.
I have only been driving for 45 years, but my experience matches yours. I have only had one flat where I had to change the tire. That happened at night on a lumbering road in a forest preserve. I turned a bit sharply and caught a sharp rock with my sidewall and sliced it open. Realistically if you are driving in places like that a spare is not a bad idea, but not so necessary on normal roads. I have a Fiat 500 which does not have a spare, but the once I had a soft tire pumping it up was enough to get me home.
I too am up in that range of driving years but i can’t remember how many I’ve changed more. 15? 20? 25? More? More than a few. Last one wasn’t technically a flat, but a tread separation 2 years ago. Not excessively old or worn out, it just failed. With chunks of the tire tread coming off, it seemed prudent to put the spare on, even it it was still holding air. I did live on dirt roads for a time which made a disproportionate contribution to my numbers, but I’ve changed a lot after just driving on pavement.
Tires are better than they used to be in terms of flats, but they still occur. At least to me.
I did have a flat on the road that I had forgotten about. It was from a roofing nail. I think the large head makes them flip up. I also had a tire go flat in my drive overnight, also from a roofing nail. Must have been a slow leak. Maybe I have forgotten some others. I remember taking trips with my dad and uncle around 1960 in my uncle’s 1957 Ford wagon. We had 2 flats, which was definitely a problem, and my dad was quite annoyed because he though my uncle did not have decent tires on his car.
When my mother was a girl in the 1920s in southern Ontario her family had a summer cottage 70 miles away. She said that the big question was how many flats you would have in the trip. I know they bought a Model T in 1917, but I don’t know what they drove after that.
One other correction, I have been driving for 55 years. I was always good at math, but poor at mental arithmetic, and it’s not getting any better!
Smells of sales success to me. The market is primed and ready, and this is a good looking car with lots of feel-good features (including the name) and a huge sales/marketing infrastructure. Won’t be long and these will be everywhere.
Great review. A comment on charging:
We bought a ‘17 Model S a couple of weeks before our new home with a dedicated 220/40 amp circuit. When charging with 20, non-dedicated, Tesla at least calculates available amps, and uses it. You are correct, 3-5 miles per hour. However, if the circuit has anything else on it, it may trigger the GFI on the circuit and your 30-40 miles overnight may not happen!
This is not a Mustang in my mind. If they label it as a mustang doesn’t mean it is one. That’s just marketing.
It was always just marketing.
Remember, this is a sub-brand that got its’ start by charging a hefty premium for an econobox with more hood and less backseat/trunk than the basic econobox.
Newsflash: every name ever used for every car in the history of cars is “just marketing.”
I believe it’s what a creatively bankrupt Hollywood would call a “ soft reboot”.
As a little kid, the then-new Mustang was the coolest car. A family friend owned one and I got to ride it when he took it to the airport for his last trip back home. The following year, we took the Ford factory tour and waved at the assembly line workers as Mustangs rolled down the line, ending in a lot full of shiny ponies.
Yes, I’m talking about the Mustang II.
1.1 million buyers agreed with you that it was the coolest car. Of the five years it was in production, four of those years are apparently counted within the top ten years of Mustang production.
I’m in the severe minority group of “Mustang II defenders”. I’m not saying that any of the II’s were in the BEST MUSTANG EVER category, but I recognize that the behemoth ’72-’73 Mustangs had to radically change, and Ford stuck gold when the smaller, 4 cylinder Mustang II hit the market just as OPEC was wagging its tail. The evidence is in the huge sales of the II, especially ’74-’75. The name lived on, and the ’79 Mustang Fox was even better.
So cloth on the dash but vinyl on the seats. Sounds extra practical and comfortable.
Can you turn on the seat & interior heaters remotely? Are seat coolers optional?
Is the glass roof standard on all trims? No way I’d have uncovered hot glass right over my head half the year.
“Can you turn on the seat & interior heaters remotely? Are seat coolers optional?”
You can precondition the cabin. I did it from the phone (did not try it from the car which may have more options) and as I recall the options were Cool, Warm, Hot or similar to that but not a distinct temperature and not the seat heaters. The Tesla allow you to tell it the exact temp you want and you can turn on any of the five seat heaters from the app.
I didn’t see seat coolers as an option on the trim level I drove.
“Is the glass roof standard on all trims? No way I’d have uncovered hot glass right over my head half the year.”
No it is is not standard on all trims.
I bet if you go to the remote start set up function, seen at 13:21 in the one video you can set the front seat climate and steering wheel heat to auto. I have that setting in my MKZ Hybrid and with it on it will heat the seat and steering wheel, do nothing, or cool (since mine does have cooled seats) the seats as appropriate for the current cabin and exterior temp.
Thanks for this, Jim. As someone who’s ever closer to pushing the button on a Model 3 or Y, this is a valuable reference text.
Persoanlly, I’m kind of smitten by the Polestar 2 as well, so I’d love to see a review of that.
My impression from every single test of cars compared to Teslas is that no matter how great the car is, it falls short because of Tesla’s charger network. What’s your take on that?
The usability of any electric depends on the user’s specific use case. The Tesla network is very good, convenient, reasonably priced and sort of the Gold Standard but there are pockets where they too are not installed (yet) either, they seem to roll it out where it is the most useful first which obviously makes sense and are continually expanding to A) cover more of the country and B) keep up with the increasing amount of cars sold. In Europe (and I may be mistaken) I believe that Teslas actually come with two ports, the Tesla one AND the CCS one so you have even more options.
The Ford can’t use a Tesla Supercharger even with an adapter as there is no way to pay/connect, it won’t recognize the car. Ford is sort of at the mercy of third party providers and doesn’t control where or when or how many chargers are installed anywhere. Also those chargers will be available for ALL cars, so as EV usage grows there may be more demand (which will of course eventually beget more supply as it can certainly be a profit center but will likely lag). Ford, VW, Nissan, GM, Porsche, and several others, all have very recently either introduced or have imminent competitive new EVs coming up, the amount of EVs looking for some sort of on-the-go charging I expect will be going up significantly.
For how we use the car the Tesla is incredibly convenient and my wife does make use of a Supercharger semi-regularly outside of Denver only to top up so her return trip late at night does not require it. That one has a dozen stations or so and is in a larger shopping center so she plans stuff to do while there. When I took it into the mountains earlier this year I recharged it at the Supercharger in Idaho Springs which also had about a dozen stations and while I was there so were four other Teslas. I don’t know what the situation there would have been with a Ford for example, it would be research I’d be doing before buying.
The Ford worked well for us last week and we did charge on the go as I demonstrated. If we bought a Ford it would certainly be one with the larger battery though, specifically to avoid that as much as possible, of course that’s also a significant extra expense. However not everyone has the constant need for that. For the vast majority of people and even more so people that have more than one car that they could use for a really long trip, one battery full of charge is far more than they need on a daily basis assuming they can charge overnight. In reality there is no reason why we couldn’t have used our ICE truck for that trip either.
If I was buying a car and did not have a way to reliably charge it at home (or work) then I’d be thinking very hard about where, how convenient, how fast, and how expensive charging would be and which network/option best served my needs. The information is not that easy to access if you don’t know where to look and what apps or websites to look at and most manufacturers websites are misleading at best in this regard.
I think northern Europe (where you are) is quite far ahead of the US in terms of EV acceptance so insights from your end would be helpful too in terms of how many EV charging stations there seem to be etc. For example very few gas stations have EV chargers and the ones that do seem to be a private investment of the owner rather than the oil (energy) company that the station is branded at. In Europe, Shell at least seems to be way ahead and installing them at their stations if I am not mistaken (I could be) and investing in companies that provide these services.
Thank you for a very comprehensive answer, Jim. I believe the European Teslas come with an adapter and they can definitely use all types of chargers here in Denmark.
Chargers are popping up everywhere. In Copenhagen and its suburbs where I live you’ll typically find EV chargers in dedicated parking spots wherever there are more than a few parking spots along streets and such.
At my work there is an agreement that employees can enter that allows them to use on-site chargers cheap while at work.
Denmark in itself is not that big. When I visit my sister in Aalborg that’s about as far as you’re able to go and that’s in the region of 270 miles door-to-door. Realistically I’d rarely have to charge a Model 3/Y/Mach-E/Polestar 2 range level car outside overnight charging at my house. But I do of course like having access to more and faster chargers – not least for a trip down through Europe.
For reference, a Model 3 Long Range is 450,000 DKK and a BMW M340i which has similar performance starts at 850,000 DKK (135,000 USD). In fact a 10- years old 540i or similar with 140,000 miles on it will cost at least as much to run even factoring in that the 540i is purchased in cash for the equivalent of the down payment on the Tesla. It’s simply so much cheaper in ownership taxes and fuel taxes that it balances out monthly payments on a new premium performance car. So the Tesla is very tempting.
We did in fact go to try one out recently and we got the Performance which is simply ridiculously fast. More speed than it’s possible to use. But alas, I did try and now my wife has cooled off on the Tesla idea, so I have some lobbying to do – “I’ll not drive like that in ours. It’s just that this was my chance to try performance like my childhood heroes etcetera”.
It is remarkable that non-EVs sell at all in your country as well as in several others over there.
That’s funny re your wife not appreciating your Kevin Magnussen impression. Note that on the Mustang Mach-E there are several “modes” that serve to vary the performance parameters a bit. Tesla’s have a “chill” mode that isn’t the air conditioning, but rather buttons everything down to a still very acceptable level but not the full on performance. All their service loaners are locked into this mode (probably a good idea) and I’d probably put it in that if my kid(s) had access to the car with their own keys. That might be something to ask about on the next test drive though!
Great idea with the different performance levels. I remember thinking that was clever on the Corvette ZR-1 back in the day (I was a kid and I thought to myself that it would be nice for me to have so my kids wouldn’t wreck it…).
On a rational level, it makes zero sense that EVs don’t make up a larger share of the cars. But range anxiety is real – even over here.
The below is from my piece on the Danish “Ellert” EV form the eighties. The analysis is thus from then, but still:
“The average Dane had 11 kilometers (7 miles) to work
80 percent of Danes had less than 15 kilometers (9 miles) to work
92 percent of people who commuted to work drove alone
50 percent of public transportation users had a car in their household”
This was the rationale for a three-wheeler one-person EV. Surely a Mustang Mach-E meets the same needs.
This is a very informative review and videos, and while it’s not a car that entices me, I’m glad to see that Ford has been able to put together a car that’s appealing to folks who are interested in electrics and that is competitive with class leaders.
My main comment here is on styling. I saw one of these on the road a few months ago, and aside from the Mustang Heritage tail lights and the clearly electric-vehicle grille, it looked awfully generic. Without focusing on those two styling cues, I’d have assumed it was a new Mazda CX-5 or something. For all of its innovation, I’d have expected something a bit more distinctive, styling-wise.
But I doubt that will hold the car back much; I’m sure Ford will find these to be very successful.
The styling is very similar to the current Ford Focus, I thought.
My daily driver 911 turbo is below 3 second 0-60, the Mach-E is 4.2. You can buy 4 Mach-Es for the price of one 911tt. I rode in one, my seat pant accelerometer tells me the Mach E has the 911 beat until about 40MPH off the line.
My own impression of this car is similar to that of the non-Miata Mazdas. A terrific mechanical device that doesn’t really “speak” to me when I see it in the parking lot. Ironically, the opposite of the original Mustang, a mediocre mechanical device of the day, that made me swoon, even as a kid, when I saw one.
Teslas captured some sort of special parking lot interest and attention when they came out. This car strikes me more as one which helps fill out the field of choices, as EVs go mainstream. I’m sure Ford will sell a lot of them. But the combination of being the pioneer, a unique and identifiable look, the hard-to-define auras of the Elon Musk and SpaceX associations, all put the Tesla EV on the map for me, probably permanently. I still look at Teslas in the parking lots today with some sort of primal desire to own and drive, over and above the simple mechanical aspects of ownership and drivership.
I don’t think the Mustang will ever do that for me. It appears to be just a car. I will probably go Tesla for my EV, as long as they are even in the neighborhood, as to features and reliability, simply due to those non-tangibles. That kind of stuff is lightning-in-a-bottle, sometimes everything comes together. The first Mustang did that, this one likely won’t. But it doesn’t mean Ford doesn’t have a good car and likely a big seller on its hands, and I am happy to see that. Good for them.
Your second paragraph I think captures it for a lot of people, very well put, I attempted to articulate that myself and gave up trying. It’s like the first Mustang in that respect (apparently, I wasn’t around then). Perhaps this Ford is the equivalent of the Camaro back then? Not first to market, but a perfectly valid and highly competitive choice and well worthy of comparison.
That charging network problem, and the long charging times, would lead me away from an EV and towards a hybrid, with on board batteries to do most of the work, and a gas engine to supplement.
Not much is said in the media lately about the ethical mining aspect of EVs. I would like to think someone is solving that problem (child labour, etc.)
Anticipated low maintenance of an EV (no oil changes or tuneups to worry about) is attractive. I don’t remember reading what kind of body this Stang has, and if it would be mostly corrosion proof.
Do your reviews get published somewhere besides CC? Great piece! I used to like reading car reviews in the Saturday morning paper, but all they give us now are brief and superficial pieces.
I believe the body is mainly steel, some of the panels may be aluminum or composites.
Nope, I am exclusive to CC! And Thank You.
The mining aspects of battery production are getting a brighter and brighter spotlight on them every day, many companies are trying to bring more production closer to home to control it further. Some companies produce their own batteries or have plans to, as of now Ford does not that I am aware of (the Mach-E battery is supplied by LG Chem, the F150 Electric’s will be from SK, a different supplier). Accurate, reliable, and trustworthy information is hard to come by but I do know that there is also a very large human and environmental cost to oil production worldwide. And no part of the burned gasoline can be recycled and reused as opposed to batteries.
Seconding Moparlee’s comment. You do comprehensive and old-school style reporting, where I can imagine myself in the driver’s seat. Also, it is a conversation where you tell me what you think, not to create a stir, but to inform. Very much appreciated. You have singlehandedly taught me more about the EV owners experience than every other source put together. My own interest in owning an EV is largely due to your patient explanations of what one actually gets for his purchase dollars.
Thank you! If you have the time, you should watch that third video (the long one), yes I am not a great presenter and I don’t often do video, but especially the second part of it shows exactly the degree of customization or selection of features that can be done with the modern technology of a car without visiting a dealer to pay them to “turn something on”. This is the best part of the touchscreen experience (in any car with one) where you can spend a lot of time getting the car easily to how you want it to be and from that point on only really using the main features of it, that in a large screen like this one are almost always instantly accessible. It’s almost impossible to explain these large screens without running someone through many of the menus visually.
As Moparlee said, I believe hybrids, especially plug-in hybrids, are a better choice for most people. The 20-mile EV battery in my Ford C-Max gets fully used almost every day. If I had this sitting in my driveway, or a Tesla, I’d feel like I was uselessly hoarding a half-ton of batteries on the days when I drove only short distances, if at all. Those batteries would do a better job for the environment if they were in a city bus or a delivery trick that’s used regularly and often. I do care about this- during my TDI days, my CO plate said LESSCO2.
For me, it’s a paradox that has no solution. The less I drive, the less I need an EV. But if I drove more, a lot more, I wouldn’t have the spare time to hunt for public chargers and wait around while they recharge.
Good point about using all of your plug-in hybrid’s battery on most days. The battery is getting fully utilized rather than using a fraction of its capacity on most days. Of course it all depends on the individual use case.
Its a cool car…and best of all it’s a FORD.
This looks like a solid entry, but I agree with your thesis that Ford need to make a more conventional Ford or Lincoln version of this if they want to compete with Tesla.
Maybe it looks better in person than in photos, but to me the styling has some major issues. The wheel well openings are comically large, an effect made worse by the black fender flares. From the back, the way the brake light panel and hatch protrudes makes it appears that the rear bumper fell off.
Should have branded it as an Escape. Mustang has always been a coupe.
That sunroof w/o interior cover might be a huge liability here in the southern summers.
Gas stations and chargers: would take a nice, clean gas station to spend time there. Most of them near me are barely maintained or cleaned. Putting chargers next to a coffee shop might be really nice. Coffee shops and cafes around here are well maintained.
Seems like a ripe opportunity for Starbucks. We never visit those ($4 at SB vs 10 cents at home using a travel cup) but I might visit one while recharging on a trip.
People would probably freak at the idea of a $50k Escape. They’d probably say “Should have called it a Mustang since it is even faster than one”. 🙂
I haven’t heard of issues with the Tesla glass roofs in regard to heat (at least the 3 and Y all have them, we’ll see this summer) but I suppose it could always be tinted or have solar film added as well to eliminate any of that issue fairly inexpensively without altering the look and still allowing some of the benefits. That’s my plan at least if there IS in fact some issue.
Correction: Every Mustang before has always had two doors. Some have been convertibles, some have been hatchback/liftback coupes, some have been fastback coupes, and some have even been sold as 2-door sedans.
But in terms of dimensions, the Mach-E is only slightly smaller than the mid-size Edge.
Very good post.
Hagerty magazine’s latest issue refers to these as being Tesla killers. No doubt there’s a degree of hyperbole involved but it does emphasize how competitive these are. After having about ten minutes of dismay about Ford using the Mustang name, it really makes a lot of sense. It is a valuable Ford name without a lot of baggage.
It will be interesting to see how charging locations unfold. A local burger/custard restaurant is right on the route from Lake of the Ozarks to St. Louis and has a charging station (three Tesla, one J-1772). Maybe there is a previously unforeseen opportunity for inclusion of these at various businesses by offering them as a supplemental service.
Overall, EVs fascinate me tremendously and our use case certainly plays to their strengths.
Thanks! I don’t see how they are a Tesla “killer” (I don’t need the clicks as bad as Hagerty to use that headline!), but they are certainly extremely competitive and that is not really what I was expecting going into this. Some aspects are better than Tesla’s, and others aren’t but really none are absolute deal breakers either way. A lot really depends on the individual looking to buy and what’s important to them.
This is difficult to phrase correctly, but as far as I am concerned this is one of the top three Ford products currently available in the US and as of now has less competition in its segment than any of their other products do. It’s up to the dealer body to parlay that into sales, hopefully they are excited about it.
That Ozark burger joint exactly illustrates what I was talking about. You pull up in your Mach-E and if there’s a dude in a VW ID4 charging while eating you now have to wait since there’s only one. Or more likely will leave and look for a different one. Check one of the apps to see what the charging speeds are on those…I’m guessing that place will be installing more chargers soon, when I was looking at the apps to see where the stations were I was actively trying to avoid places with just one for that reason. And yes I understand there is cost involved in installing them, it seems crazy for manufacturers to let their cars succeed or fail purely due to a third unrelated party. If you are enroute somewhere and have to charge anyway to make it there and back (vs a local route within the car’s range), then you take EVERY possible opportunity to add whatever level of charge you can every time the car sits idle, even if it’s just a 110 plug.
Your use case (what I am familiar with anyway) totally makes sense, and not even for something with this kind of range since you have multiple other cars in various formats. Any of the slightly older “compliance cars” (500e, Leaf, e-Golf, Focus EV, Spark EV, etc) would work well. Something like this you’d probably find is overkill most of the time unless replacing the Passat.
I expect that some sort of expected and common arrangement of chargers and associated infrastructure will emerge. As one must wait a bit for the charge to happen, a food joint is a natural pairing. As entertainment is as close as your smartphone and needs no infrastructure, but food and a clean and tidy bathroom are always welcome and necessary during every few hours of travel, this sort of buildout seems obvious to me. This could drive (sic) the rebirth of the Dennys/Stuckeys/HoJo thing, as people seek out a nice place to spend half an hour or 45 minutes to eat, relax, and wait for their charging to complete. A McD’s lobby likely won’t cut it, for comfort, bathroom cleanliness, or timing. Clever marketing could pair the meal and charge with some sort of discount pricing or “motorist club” pricing scheme. Then you add the maps, the apps, the proper spacing of facilities along well traveled long distance routes, an interesting food menu with diverse and tasty items, and maybe even some sort of roadside service with spare tires and portable chargers for those “oops” situations. Triple A and Denny’s should be all over this.
Anyone who still uses that line “Tesla Killer” is highly suspect. It’s actually a rather embarrassing term, as it was coined by the Tesla shorts some years back, when it was anticipated that when Audi,Jaguar and Mercedes and other unleashed their first EVs they would literally kill Tesla. Those first generation competitors turned out to come to a street fight with butter knives. They did not come close to matching Tesla’s specs and capabilities.
This Mustang Mach E is one of the second generation EVs, and clearly much more competitive. But to suggest that they’re going to kill Tesla is still absurd. Tesla still has numerous competitive advantages, and most important, an image of being the market leader.
The new generation of VWs (ID4, etc) and others like this Ford will undoubtedly expand the market with more choices. But the EV market has a long way to go, and to think that any of them will kill Tesla in the process is indulging in fantasy.
One key point: Ford is only making 50,000 of these per year to start with, and a big chunk are going to Europe to help it meet its emission targets. No matter how wonderful and competitive this Mustang may be in the eyes of some, 50,000 Mustangs are not going to kill Tesla, which is well on its way to making a million per year.
Yes, it’s pure click bait. And out of date.
A couple things about that line struck me. First, as you said this is a second generation of EV. Tesla set a standard out of the box and I don’t seem to remember anything comparable being said about earlier EVs from other makers. Another is this was toward the back in a print magazine send to Hagerty policy holders so the need for hyperbole would seem to be diminished. ThenAgain Motor Week recently had similar phrasing in their Mach E review.
Other than upsetting figurative apple carts, I’ve never seen what was so bad about Tesla.
Edit: I’ve never understood what others found to be so bad about Tesla.
Typing on a call phone isn’t my strong suit
Charging network is interesting. In my area it’s not a big issue, a number of Walmarts have the electrify America chargers installed with up to 350KW looking at reviews online they seem to deliver 150KW with no trouble these seem to each have 6-8 stations(plugs) at each location. We also have a couple Dunkin doughnuts with 50KW evgo stations. Most of our car dealers have one too but using those seems to vary from dealer to dealer. I have also noticed several grocery stores have installed level 2 chargers that are free or free for 1 hour. (note I live in a town with a large regional mall along a major highway so I’m sure we were identified early by charge networks)
Now traveling more rural in New England gets trickier. My aunts house in Western MA for instance has only level 2 chargers within 25 miles and only 50 KW within 40 miles. A number of turnpike/highway rest stops have installed chargers but most are 50KW at least for now. But I did notice some truck stops are now installing 150KW chargers near their convince stores.
Traveling to my parents place in down east Maine is problematic even for Tesla’s as last I checked the nearest super charger is in Brewer which makes spending a week in acadia national park a bit tricky unless your hotel has something. If I had an EV up further north along the coast your going to have to use some of the level 2’s which themselves are few and far between. But here too I noticed one of the local Convenience store chains has started installing level 2 and some 50 KW chargers.
This summer I spent a lot of time working in the mid-atlantic states. In the NY to DC corridor and even a bit south of there chargers were really easy to find. Even in the rural part of VA where I spent most of the time I managed to figure out easy routes that had DC fast chargers had I owned a EV (lots of time alone in a hotel eating take out). One of the more interesting ones is gas station chains that aren’t tied to an oil company seem to be investing in chargers, I noticed several Sheetz and Cumberland farms that are installing them.
All of this is to say I think the problem will sort itself but not without growing pains.
Uh, cool tech everywhere, but why still teensy windows?
I know there’s a giant one on the roof and all, but doesn’t anyone miss windows to see on the sides of the car?
Will there be a subscription fee to see out of the car soon?
-End Of Gramps Rant-
Thank you Jim for this comprehensive analysis. Anticipating our (gas) Highlander drive this weekend (around 900 miles) your report has simply reaffirmed my loyalty to what most seem to think is entirely archaic – ICE.
I simply can not imagine these cars working for our uses – unless we had one dedicated exclusively to city errands. I can not imagine the irritation of waiting in Gallup or Walsenburg for the car to completely recharge for the next 200 mile segment on a trip.
This story and your continuing replies to readers has been a great educational tool for me.
Sounds like Ford has an equivalent of MB Tex.
Owning one long-range EV and a couple of gasoline vehicles I don’t disagree with the choice to take the gasser on a real roadtrip where the point is just to get there ASAP. We’ve been to MN once and AZ twice since buying the Tesla. Drove the truck once, flew and rented once, and rented a minivan once instead. But for everything else, including distances such as to Denver, the mountains, or Laramie etc the Tesla (or any other EV with decent range) works just fine with zero hassle or concern especially since we have more than one other vehicle if there was any. But it could have done those trips, albeit with several stops. I’ll note that with the five of us on all these trips we ended up stopping literally every two hours (so 150 miles max) anyway whether it was to eat, find a restroom, or whatever. The days of me driving solo with stops only for fuel and a gas station sandwich are long gone…
Those 900 mile trips are not a daily or weekly occurrence for us or most people. If monthly I’m not sure what we’d do. You seem to have multiple cars and take the one most suited to the journey which makes sense in any situation. I assume you’re taking the Highlander instead of your Corolla for some good reason as the Corolla would use less fuel and is obviously just as capable of the distance as well.
Hi Jim – The Corolla gets great fuel mileage; the Highlander carries what we need on this trip. The Highlander will make that long run between ABQ and Pueblo non-stop easily on one tank of fuel (about 330 miles). We make those 900+ mile trips six or eight times a year.
I feel as you do about long trips – I want to get there and don’t want to have to plan for EV stops.
That said, I think most families today have at least two cars; why not an EV and an ICE? Make the ICE a CUV with enough room for a road trip, and the EV something with sufficient room for everything else, and you’ve got the best of both worlds. The EV will not need chargers outside of the home 99% of the time and you have trips covered in the ICE. Make sense to me!
Whats wrong with the name “Mercury Cyclone Spoiler Dan Gurney Special”?
Been used before…
Excellent review made even better by your personal Tesla experience. I saw this car earlier (just before being delivered to you I think) and I was impressed. My wife and I were driving and I told her that I didn’t know that they were available yet – then I saw the plate and it made sense.
Tesla killer? Unlikely. Mainstream EV introduction for non-early adopters? Absolutely.
Interesting review Jim, looks like a viable vehicle and a viable alternative to a Tesla. We had a blue one show up a couple of weeks ago in our neighborhood.
I’ll admit to being uneasy about Ford calling it a Mustang (as a 2007 Mustang owner) but then I realized I’d been uneasy about where the Mustang was going since 2015 and I got over it.
Sooner or later they’ll have to legislate to get commonality of chargers. At the moments it’s like buying a car that only works on Shell.
This car looks pretty bland. It seems to function OK but I can’t see what differentiates it from the crowd styling wise. As was pointed out it looks very much like my Focus.
EVs should be cheaper. They don’t contain anything like the expensively engineered engines and transmissions of ICE cars. Sooner or later the Henry Ford of EVs is going to come along and knock them out for a quarter of the current price. What price Tesla shares then?
Good luck with that seeing as how a Tesla starts at under $40k and the Mach-E is less than that when gov’t incentives are figured in – which is right at the average transaction price among all vehicles on the market here. There isn’t a single car on the market in the US today with a price one quarter of that and won’t be ever again.
There are dozens of ways to get the price down. Reduce the battery size which reduces range to what people really need on a daily basis, get rid of dual motors for awd, make them smaller etc. But this all exists already in various cars that were attempted by various makers, were for the most part rejected by the market when new and then also as used cars which brought the prices down significantly. It is extremely easy to find a very slightly used Leaf, Spark, eGolf, Electric Focus that meets all of the specs above and sells for a small fraction of the initial sticker price. And people still shun them, the market wants range, size, and AWD. And is apparently willing to pay for it. The competitive EVs in the market aren’t the ones piling up on lots and aren’t subject to haggling and discounting.
Elon Musk IS the Henry Ford of electric cars. The difference is that he started on the Lincoln (or far higher) end of the market and has steadily been working his way down the market to make it more competitive overall. Note that Ford’s initial suggested price for the Mach-E was higher than what they ended up asking. It’s not a coincidence that the price is pretty much the same as the Model Y when configured similarly.
You might well be right, it’s been known 🙂
Currently a comparable EV and ICE cost roughly the same. The EV has got to be much cheaper to produce. Batteries are going to get cheaper, the technology is still rapidly evolving. It is very reminiscent of the early days of ICE with very rapid development and obsolescence. VW is betting the farm on EVs and the UK for instance won’t permit the sale of ICE after 2030.
The Chinese are a long way behind on ICE technology so plan to skip straight to EVs and are manipulating the home market, the biggest in the world, accordingly. I’d put money on a Chinese company supplying very cheap EVs in the near future.
I agree as far as size goes but not performance if that’s a determinant in the pricing. You can’t find (over here at least, I know you are in the UK) any CUV/SUV and very few passenger cars in general that have the acceleration and general road performance combination of a Mustang Mach-E or Tesla Model Y for anywhere close to the same money that I can think of.
Yeah, I will not bet against you in regard to the Chinese companies. None of them are in our market yet (as direct entrants), but we do have a few cars produced there and sold by established makers that aren’t considered inferior.
Well we are down to two charging standards going forward Tesla and everybody else, since Nissan seems to be abandoning Chademo by using CCS for its upcoming crossover.
The issue with EPA range is turning out to be a bit iffy. First off, the EPA doesn’t test or generate these numbers. Manufacturers self test and create them, gas or electric. But the EPA can randomly double check them.
The point is that Tesla is clearly pushing it with their EPA range numbers, whereas its competitors are choosing to submit more conservative range numbers. In independent range tests, Teslas tend to no meet their stated range numbers more often, whereas the competitors more often exceed them. Some head to head real world tests suggest that the real difference between them is not very much at all, if any.
How is your Y doing in terms of real range in relation to its stated (EPA) range? Of course it’s winter now.
I’m trying to get the data and put together a post on the range of our Tesla, it’ll probably wait until I get the winter tires off and it warms up to be more complete. It’s definitely lower than what’s stated as you said (and we knew going in). The extreme worst case I have seen so far is when I went into the mountains on an uphill section of I-70 in about 20degree weather with snow tires and wet roads – for a stretch of a few miles it was using 4 miles of range for every 1 mile of road (you can watch it on the screen). More normal on uphill around freezing temps at higher speed is maybe 2 for 1. On flat freeway maybe 1.2 to 1.25 to 1 with winter tires and coldish temps. My wife will today be driving to a location 89 miles from home in the foothills above Denver (close to Idaho Springs) so around 180 miles R/T. She left with 285 miles of range, it’s about 35 degrees and dry and she will return late tonight. She will stop at the Supercharger in Lakewood to top off as she is not sure if it will make it all the way back with the buffer that Tesla recommends. I’m sure it would actually make it, but it could be close and as convenient as the SC’s are she doesn’t want to risk doing it at late night.
Of course returning from the mountains and going downhill does wonderful things to the range but the caveat is that when the battery is full, it’s full and can’t get fuller, so at some point while the travel is “free” there is no banking the extra power that could be generated.
I do know that if Tesla offered a Y (or anyone did) with a 400mile battery we would seriously consider that for next time. But that is unnecessary for most people.
Jim, when we get our S back from the Tesla body shop, it was backed into by a guy in a pickup with a camper slide in with a folding ladder on the back! I would be happy to start a spreadsheet of our real life experience. Since we are in the Phoenix area most of our range anxiety is temps above 100.
As an aside, I had cataract surgery last summer & was amazed all the low use for the A/C. My wife couldn’t wait at the surgery or other appointments & the S was excellent, A/C, music, so good.
Ugh, that 15″ screen right in the middle of my field of vision has to go just like all the others in my field of vision. I simply cannot handle anything in my line of sight, or field of vision, when driving. My wife had a little Garman which she put in the middle of the window for the drive from Las Vegas to Boulder Dam. I always memorize a map before leaving but she loves this way. We hadn’t moved more than 50 feet to the parking garage opening when I had to sweep my eyes right for other cars coming down and that was it. She then placed it on the far right next to the A pillar and silenced it. Obviously I am never going to be able to drive many a new car. I’m like Leno in keeping driving simple.
You have to look down to see that 15″ screen. It does not block the windshield or the top edge of the dash when properly seated and driving. I know what you mean re a Garmin as we used to have one, it’s nothing like that. Your rear view mirror blocks far more (too much) of the view forward.
Then if that low then all I need to do is turn it off. It is still a visual distraction as my peripheral vision will pick up any movement in my field of view whether nasal, temporal, superior, or inferior. My vision is uber sensitive to any movement. Like my wife in the car with the Garman silenced she would announce a turn simply by pointing her fingers. Drove me absolutely crazy with a hand popping in and out of my field of view. I had to teach her a lesson by missing a few turns and then telling her to use the words straight, right, or left. That took awhile…
As for a dash panel of gauges those are 15-20 degrees below my straight ahead line of sight in my cars so not an issue. The main issue is anything within 10-15 degrees vertical of my midline and 180 degrees lateral.
Still that screen is practically the size of a laptop screen.
Interesting, you’re like Steve Austin, the Bionic Man! 🙂
There isn’t anything moving on the screen unless the navigation setting is selected in which case the map moves, otherwise no. Setting it to the dark mode would probably be like the lights on a regular dashboard. But yes, off is probably best for you.
Interesting, you’re like Steve Austin, the Bionic Man!
Possibly since I could ace all tests in the Vision Functions Clinic 41 years ago, at UC Berkeley and have a B.S. in Physiological Optics
As long as it doesn’t illuminate my face while driving at night Id be okay with the 15″ screen.
I’m sure they’ll integrate it once it sees production, because of course it looks ridiculous like it is, like it’s attached with drywall screws or something. 😉
Geeze, I remember being annoyed by the cord of my radar detector in 1989 because I wasn’t able to hide it under the dash. First there’s ugly white boxes for the toll road, now these doodads. May as well have a row of gargoyles glued to the dash as far as looks go. Hell with it, I’m just gonna give up and cover my dash with plush Garfields, Beenie Babies and my Matchbox collection.
And synthetic engine noises? Just stamp “Dork” on my forehead and get it over with. In fact, on my large Polish forehead you could use spray paint.
At night the screen turns black, I believe at least one of my pictures shows it in that mode. It’s not annoying. Of course the gauges front and center of the steering wheel in almost every car including this one are lit and people insist they need those there right in front of their face. 🙂
Not sure what you mean re integrate once it reaches production, this is a production vehicle and they are currently available at any Ford dealer.
I appreciate the info.
Great photography as usual, the blue car compliments your open skies.
As an owner of five Fords, I’ve watched the Mach-E with interest. My wife has been sold on it since she became aware of it.
The Fusion gave Ford credibility with hybrids and plug-ins, this car is the next logical step. In fact, call it a CUV all you want, it looks like the next gen Fusion to me, correcting the Fusion’s greatest fault – trunk access. The outgoing Fusion looks like a hatch in profile, it would be much more functional if it were. Ironically, the Fusion name is available!
This car still has too many issues for many people in terms of cost, charging, and range. But, as a town runabout in a fleet of gassers, I’d buy it. It could serve 95% of what one of our Fusions does.
With Ford offering an on-board generator in the F-150, it does raise the question why not offer such an option on an electric car for emergency purposes? Even if it only gave enough power to limp along a dozen miles at a time, it would surely relieve some stress if you got caught in a bad situation.
Ford may be the one to bring EVs to the masses, AFAIK, the nearest Tesla sales and service are 3 and 10 hours from me, there is a major Ford center 10 minutes from me.
I’ve never loathed a vehicle more. Styling instantly reminded me of the old Infiniti FX when it was unveiled, and the more I see it I see Mazda as well, it’s about as Mustang as the 77 Mercury intermediate wagons were Cougars. I don’t like the blatant Tesla imitating dash with the iPad in the middle, and while I appreciate the one in front of the driver to appease luddites like myself, it’s not exactly what I’d call attractive, it reminds me of the clunky Rover SD1 binnacle.
Really good review though, I find it useful to know thy enemy. I do agree that eschewing a traditional grille was the way to go, but the GT version does indeed have one that literally appears pasted on, which is about as cheesy as the V8 sound effects(making fake engine noises ended the day I stopped riding my bicycle to elementary school).
I have not been paying enough attention because this was a surprise to me. A pleasant surprise, though.
I am a little amazed that there has not yet been more standardization on charging systems. Tesla is doing OK with its proprietary system, but sooner or later there is going to have to be some kind of standard. Until then, I am a little amazed that Ford is not requiring its dealers to put 2 or 3 stations in accessible locations for customer use. Wouldn’t they rather customers spend 20 minutes of fast charge time looking at new Fords on the lot rather than eating a meal? 🙂
I am becoming more and more intrigued by vehicles of this kind.
Tesla has offered their tech and ability to use their Supercharging system to anyone that wants it at no charge. As I understand it there is pushback as far as the legalese in the contract that apparently makes it unappealing to others. There may be a little bit of the not invented here thing going on too.
The biggest standard is the J1772 CCS one. CHAdeMO was looking like a front-runner mainly due to the Leaf’s early adoption of it. The public chargers often have two plugs, one for each of those.
I’d hope that any Ford dealer planning to sell EVs would have at least a couple of chargers. However, who knows. My BMW guy has ONE as does the MINI guy across the street (same dealer). The Hyundai guy has ONE as well. Every Harley dealer has one now as they are selling E-bikes. The Tesla location that we purchased ours at has SIXTEEN chargers Of course that’s all they sell, so…but still. Available to anyone, at any time.
Dude, go drive one, or more than one of them. Just be wary that whoever you speak with knows what they are talking about.
O.K. I will try to be polite and objective on this vehicle. Positive aspects to me: I find the overall exterior shape attractive, because it reminds of of my new 2020 Ford Escape Titanium Hybrid 4×4. That, as well as the materials of the interior design. Negative aspects to me; (1) THE NAME!!! O.K., I understand that the company (or Marketing Department) choose to water down the Mustang history by using this name for this vehicle, JUST to “bring in showroom traffic”. Well, I ask this: “couldn’t you find a better way of doing that?” Why not resurrect the Thunderbird name? After all, it WAS offered as a 4-door in its history. I think that would make more sense. Or even “Torino EV”, because there were sporting Torino models that were intended for family use as well. (2) that GIGANTIC, distracting central flat screen. I could not get used to that. How much bigger are these things going to get?
I kind of like Torino EV.
This definitely would have been a prime opportunity to resurrect the Thunderbird name, and unlike the Mustang that really hasn’t wavered until now from being a stylish sedan derived 2 door, the Thunderbird has morphed its form to fit whatever popular segment was part of the zeitgeist of the time, from sports car, to PLC to euro flavored sports coupe to retro. This wouldn’t be a blasphemous departure for the Thunderbird name like the Mustang.
As the current owner of 2 real Mustangs (and another4 in the past) who has been a fan since seeing my first one in April 1964, I am disgusted with Ford Marketing for trying to pull this fraud off. Let’s see, we will come out with an EV that pretty much looks like every other new vehicle ( boring) and slap a chrome horse on the snout and call it a Mustang! Yeah, that’s the ticket! Prior to this debacle Ford has kept the original concept pretty much intact. I have owned 2 Mustang IIs and found them to be pretty good cars which kept to the original idea, actually better than the ’71-’73 models and more akin to the ’66 and ’67 models I have owned. The Fox Mustang I owned and the ’03 and ’09 also kept to the two door coupe/ convertible concept, too. Now this! Can’t they just leave a successful concept alone without watering it down? I guess I should have seen this coming when they started replacing shifters with knobs.
Anyway, if they want to build an EV that is their business. If they think this is the future, fine. I don’t know how the grid will take it if everyone goes to EVs but that’s an argument for another day. As I said, if they think this is the future, why not bring back the Falcon/Fairmont name Futura and leave the Mustang and it’s heritage alone.
But what will Futura Rick say then? 🙂 It’s just marketing, the point is to create buzz and publicity, it’s surely done that. And nobody remembers any Futura as a particularly desirable car so there’s zero equity to mine. You and the rest of the Mustang fans are atwitter about it (and talking about it, hence spreading publicity no matter the actual opinion), but if whatever the next regular Mustang generation is turns out to be great, then true fans will still buy that. I don’t think they expect anyone nursing an ’86 GT along to drop everything today and buy an EV. I don’t think they expect any Mustang fans to buy a Mach-E instead of a regular Mustang either. But maybe they will. Lots of Porsche owners ended up buying the Cayenne with its extremely subtle 911 cues to keep their actual 911 company in the garage. The “outrage” at the time was significant too.
Does Mustang itself actually make a significant amount of money? It’s a standalone platform and has only cracked 100k sales/yr twice in the last thirteen years. If the Mustang Mach-E lets Ford keep building the regular Mustang since Ford thinks the EV needs the name to be relevant or get attention, then be happy about that. The Fusion was cancelled with over twice the Mustang’s annual volume in this country alone and nobody thought it was a bad car at all.
My two concerns:
1) The Mach E provides an opportunity to turn the real Mustang into an ever more dedicated sports car along the lines of Corvette with price tags to match, sapping whatever day to day practicality prior Mustangs had when they were sedan derived.
2) The Mach E package “morphs” into the defacto Mustang as the coupe resides in the purgatory as an impressive performing but impractical to own niche supercar, and is quietly dropped without anyone noticing like the Dodge Viper.
My only hope is the Mustang faithful are less obsessed with luxury brand prestige than Porsche buyers proved to be and the Mach E goes down as an embarrising footnote in the Mustang’s history. Having no Mustangs is better than THAT Mustang .
Ford can do that with the Mustang anyway, especially with the Camaro going away and the Challenger having readily available variants that already run with (and are priced the same or higher than) the Corvette, at least in a straight line.
I think the upcoming AWD Mustang Mach-E GT may well run rings around any normal (non-special or limited-edition) spec Mustang GT in any measurable performance metric so we are likely already there. Power is I believe around 480hp but 634lb-ft of torque available at any speed.
Ford can only produce around 50K a year Mach-E’s for worldwide consumption and appear to say they are at least breaking even at that level (not so sure about that) so the regular one is probably safe for now though especially as I doubt they think people are going to trade in their Mustang for a Mach-E. Nobody seriously cross-shops sporty low two door coupes with anything resembling an SUV. At some point they just decide that one makes more sense for their money than the other one.
Look Matt, I get you like the Mustang and 2-door coupes in general but that horse has left the barn two decades ago. The world is looking for practicality, once people start having families, priorities change and practicality becomes more important, while 2-door sports cars can work for some things and can be made to work for lots of things (I know, I had one until semi-recently) a vehicle that can comfortably haul more than two, is easy to enter and exit, allows better visibility around other vehicles with all weather capability and then adds all the performance that 99% of the public could ever want or need, especially with today’s traffic level, so that’s where the money is flowing whether it’s battery powered or ICE powered.
The only way to change that and assure the regular Mustang’s place in the lineup is if you and all your friends and lots of other people make a point of supporting the manufacturer and actually buying the things you want to have continue, i.e. a new Mustang. Ford doesn’t build used cars.
Used Mustangs sell new Mustangs. Used Mustangs are why there are heritage cues in modern Mustangs including those used on the Mach E and, why the name was so important to use to get “buzz”. I mean how often have you seen Mustang commercials? Heck the reason that Mach E has that funny little V8 sound effect is because me and my friends throw o/r X pipes and Flowmaster 44s onto 4.6 and 5.0 Mustangs and people intrinsically associate that noise with the brand. People who have been doing this free advertising for Ford all these years have every right to be upset at this vehicle.
Like I said, I’d rather see the name go away entirely. I see the writing on the wall on what the market desires in vehicles and it is what it is. What I don’t understand is why there need to be so many segments of various UVs in a Ford showroom however – two flavors of Bronco, Focus Active, the Escape, Explorer, Expedition and now Mach E?, nor see how the Mustang name is more important to the company than the packaging of the car that for 55 years defined it. Ford could have just as easily have spun off the then still prestigious Thunderbird name for what became the Mustang in 1965, but instead the product spoke for itself without any assistance and it ended up outliving the Thunderbird. Only unlike the Thunderbird the Mustang didn’t change much.
I think it’s conveniently forgotten that old Mustangs could be and were usable everyday drivers for a lot of people. I think the regular S550 Mustang generation has already put a bit too much emphasis on being a sports car(which I never, ever considered the Mustang), and the Mach E promising a more “practical” affair seems like a catalyst to spin the next generation Mustang to opposite extremes. That 86 GT hatchback was a much more practical car than a current GT or its entry ecoboost companion. The Challenger’s steady sales no doubt benefitted from Ford’s push towards fastback only supercar performance emphasis.
To be honest, if they could use the Mustang name on that bloated, hideous ’72-’73 design, at least the Mach-E is somewhat attractive and functional. The two circumstances where they shifted the Cougar name to sedans and wagons was amusing to me but I could see where others thought it was heresy.
I would object to a Mustang-150 however….
I have to agree with you on the ’71-73 designs although they have grown on me some in the last couple of years. Still, I wouldn’t buy one.
My wife and I have always owned 2 door cars because that’s what we like, so practicality has not been a real issue with us. If we wanted practicality we would have succumbed to the minivan and SUV crazes years ago. In fact, we raised 3 daughters in two door cars with bucket seats and mostly stick shifts and never had a problem.
We don’t care what is “in” at the moment or what other people think . I will stick with my real Mustangs and let others buy this poser.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That’s what makes life interesting.
Great review and interesting comments in a car that seems much better than I thought it would be. Since we’ve lived through Cougar wagons and 4 door Chargers I have no problem with the Mustang name, though I struggle with Mach-E. Obviously E for electric, but maybe also a subtle homage to Ernst Mach. Regarding range and charging … I have a good friend who is a serious and technically astute car buff, who owns a Tesla Model 3, and his girlfriend owns a Chevy Bolt.
Putting side the performance, size and style differences, the biggest drawback he sees in the Bolt is the comparative lack of integration of the power management, charging network, and navigation services for long trips. He has taken several California to Wyoming round trips in the Tesla, including in winter, that involve long stretches of remote highway, multiple mountain passes, etc. He knows that the vehicle will select and recalculate a route based on state of charge and charging station locations. And by the way, the number of Tesla SuperChargers is increasingly rapidly in places where even gasoline stations are spread miles apart. By contrast, the one trip to LA in the Bolt required careful management, because the preferred Apple CarPlay navigation app is totally unaware of the EV nature of the vehicle, forcing them to toggle between apps, not to mention the difficulty of finding working and available stations. Coupled with over the air updates and what he thinks is excellent Tesla customer service, his conclusion is that the overall experience of the Tesla is what the other manufacturers are missing.
Thanks! The Mustang is also going to be able to have over the air updates which is something that you don’t really realize how convenient it is until you have it, just for upgrades or efficiencies, never mind an actual fix etc.
It appears that the Mustang can do the similar in regard to route planning, at least with ElectrifyAmerica stations and likely others too. I did ask it via Voice Command to find me a charging station and immediately up popped a list of every one from closest to furthers. I happened to be near that EVGo one that I’d used before so chose that and it took me there. (And believe if I had selected a Nav route from spot A to spot B and it needed a charge it could have routed that.) What I do not know is if it would pick the most efficient chargers or how that logic works, with Tesla it’s easy since there’s only one place they can go (but there are lots of them). I assume after a while one would become familiar with the different charging companies and simply have their apps, the next time I need to use a Blink charger I’ll be all set up for example.
Enjoyed the review of the car, but was especially taken on your commentary on charging infrastructure. While hardly an expert having owned my Bolt less than six months, electric vehicle ownership has taught me a few hard points:
1. Most people drive a heck of a lot less than they claim. When originally planning the purchase of my car, I wanted an around-town runabout. Obviously, any of the EV compliance cars out there would have done that for me. Adding in the desire to do 65 mile commutes to Jamestown Settlement killed any looking at two-figure range vehicles. The Bolt handled all that, with a good 40% range reserve.
2. When I listen to someone going on about the length of time it takes to charge a car’s batteries, my immediate assumption (so far 100% correct) is that the speaker has never spent any significant time with an EV. He’s still wedded to the concept of watching the ‘fuel’ gauge head towards zero, stopping to ‘fill up’ and driving the car back towards zero again. EV’s don’t work that way. They get plugged in every time you’re home and plugged in if its convenient when stopped for errands. And if you’re running low on the road, you don’t ‘fill the car up’. You stop and charge long enough to pick up the range needed to get home. Period. The gasoline concept of stopping specifically for fueling purposes doesn’t happen all that often. Yeah, yeah, vacations . . . . . . .
3. Just how many “long” driving trips do you take per year? Honestly. To listen to some comments regarding EV’s, the American driver’s life consists of daily commuting five days a week and then something like 20 700-mile trips to go to Aunt Ethel’s where you absolutely have to be there in less than 18 hours. Right now, due to car/infrastructure issues, Tesla is far and away the easiest solution for that kind of thing. It’ll be interesting to see how this even’s out.
4. Something we forget when we’re talking about the fueling ‘imbalance’: The local gas station has a 106 year head start.
My pleasant surprise is that my Bolt has completely replaced my gasoline car in day to day use, and that day to day includes days when my driving is 300% of a normal day. For me, a long trip vs. short trip car is a very defined issue. If I’m doing a long trip, it’s almost certainly some kind of historical re-enactment, which means I’m taking a ton of gear and absolutely need a minivan or pickup truck with cap to do the job. And since nobody currently makes an EV minivan (plus it’ll be five years later until I can afford a used one once they appear) I’m obviously going to be staying ICE in that area.
I’ve got accounts to ChargePoint, Electrify America, and EVGo, although I’ve yet to use them. Will do so sometime in the near future, just to get used to the systems, but so far home and a number of free Level 2 chargers have taken care of my needs nicely. Almost forgot, regarding the free Level 2’s: When was the last time you saw a free gas pump?
Thank you, I’m glad your car is working out so well for you as I know you agonized somewhat over the decision. It seems to be better than expected and every point you listed is accurate for more than likely at least 95% of the populace. People that live alone without attached parking and a dedicated charger are the ones that will have the most legitimate issues. But if it’s just not someone’s thing, that’s fine too.
Good insights, thanks
Nice detailed review Jim, I really like the video going through some of the many vehicle settings.
I do think it is a bad thing that they have dropped the sun shade but to be honest having two Ford products with the panoramic roof we rarely close the shade in those, so I could probably live with that at least in our area.
I do appreciate that they put a screen in the conventional location but I wish it didn’t look like a phone propped up in a little niche. I’d also not a fan of big floating screens.
I’m not surprised about the range and trip reporting. It really is just taking the systems Ford has used for several years now to the next level.
Our C-Max Energi’s predicted EV range with a full charge does vary based on recent use patterns and will respond to the current climate settings and ambient temps. At the end of a trip it like the standard Ford Hybrids shows the total distance, EV distance, miles due to regen, MPG, gal used, and kwh on the Energi. Even on the 2003 Mountaineer the DTE calculations are based on a rolling historical average, unless it has no history because the battery was disconnected in which case it reverts to some default MPG value.
Thank you, I knew you particularly would appreciate that video! There’s a lot of customization that can be done there (as with most any vehicle with a screen as compared to older cars, an often overlooked plus). The bigger screen just makes it more user friendly. Add in the over the air updates which can and in Tesla’s case so far (and Ford will surely be able to) at least can revamp the screen and how it’s actually laid out along with what is offered on there and it’s no wonder everything is heading that way. You (and the manufacturer) are not locked into the dashboard information layout the car was born with. The same goes for digital instrument clusters.
Back in the day of course we were happy that our radio had presets and setting those was pretty much the only thing you could customize. Yes some of those settings require you to drill down a number of menus but those typically are a set it once and forget it. With it able to learn your key whether it be a fob or your phone every driver gets to customize it to their own taste w/o affecting any of the other users. Meanwhile back in the day you got to fight over who’s stations would be put on those 5 presets.
I’m particularly impressed with the key recognition on my Lincoln. I normally carry my house and building keys with me at all times and select the car key as I head out the door. In the owner’s manual it answers the question of what will happen to the seat and other settings if the car detects more than one fob? It detects where the fob is in the car and adjusts accordingly. On more than one occasion the wife and I decided to go somewhere and either changed our minds on which vehicle to take or I just forgot to grab my set of keys. It recognizes that the fob in my wife’s purse is on the passenger side and the unlock initiation took place on that side, but allows me to start the car while leaving the seat setting in my position, the last one used.
I suppose I’ll be driving my C-May Energi forever, since I can’t stand large, distracting dash screens replacing physical controls. The C-Max, like other Fords of that interior generation, is very ergonomic. There’s a sunshield over the big-enough display screen, and the shelf below gives me a place to rest my palm as I’m using the touchscreen. Which I rarely do- the only screen that matters to me when I’m driving is what the Brits call the “windscreen.” My favorite button on the dash is the one that turns the display screen off.
I would buy this over the Tesla for the simple reason that here in CT (at least the last time I checked) auto manufacturers cannot sell cars directly to consumers; dealers must be used. Since that is not Tesla’s model, there is some sort of legerdemain involved to get them into people’ hands here, which must be happening as I see ever increasing numbers of them.
My point though is that dealers = service locations, Where does one get a Tesla serviced in CT? I have no idea. However, there are a scazillion Ford dealers to fix my Mustang-E.
That would seal the deal for me.
Ask the man who owns one? Before we made a purchase we asked the various owners in the neighborhood that owned one about their experiences. There are not many service items on an EV though, but since this is a review mostly about the Ford product I don’t really want to detail our experience with the other main player, I’ll save that for another post.
There is a Service Center in Milford, CT and likely others at every border, you’re not in a large state. I don’t understand why your state would want to stifle competition for their citizens but that’s more a question for your elected representatives.
We have the same situation in Michigan. The Michigan Area Dealers Association lobbied hard with our legislature to ban factory to consumer sales as unfair competition.
You’re talking theory. Practice is something else.
Right now the biggest problem for getting American (non-Tesla) EV’s into the hands of the American driving public is . . . . . . the American car dealer. And, as part of the problem, their service department.
I spent a year (on and off) in the Richmond area finding a Nissan and Chevrolet dealer who’s talking their EV’s seriously. As in, having someone on the sales staff who actually knows about the cars (I swear, dealing with me on a Nissan Leaf was a free training seminar for the salesperson), or not try to talk you out of the car in favor of some ICE model they have on the lot (my first attempt, last July, with my hometown Chevy dealer had his salesperson immediately try to steer me into a Trax “since they’re pretty much the same car”).
Happily Richmond has one Chevrolet dealer (in the west suburbs) who takes the Bolt seriously, keeps a selection in stock, buys used ones from auction for resale, has one specialized salesperson who knows the car, and has has more than one service tech who’s gone thru all the factory trainings to be competent in their repair. From what I’ve heard thru the grapevine, the next closest alternatives are Charlottesville and around Alexandria.
Hopefully, Ford is going to do better than that. I’m not counting on it, because car dealer’s idea of the future is “end of the month”. And if the model isn’t selling, they’d rather not have it on the lot in the first place. They want fast sales, not build up a market. I have a feeling if you get a Mach-E you’re going to be hearing from the grassroots where to take your car to be serviced, and don’t be surprised if it isn’t the local dealer.
Hit Tesla’s website, and you can find where their showrooms and service locations are. And they will do the job. They don’t have a choice, as they don’t have an F-150 to fall back on.
Alan, Google is your friend. There’s a large and beautiful new Tesla Service center in Milford. They can lease, but not sell cars. But they can probably arrange a purchase in a neighboring state. And of course they service them.
My friend has had his Model 3 for a couple of years now and it has NEVER been back to a service center (we’re in the Bay Area so even the factory is close). He’s had updates and fixes done over the air.
Interesting review on a fascinating car, and you sense (from here anyway) that Ford is stealing a march on gm and Stellantis on electrification in the US.
Size wise, still fairly large for Europe but as a longish distance (not a city) car certainly as viable as a Tesla or an i-Pace, subject to the charging infrastructure….playing chicken and egg here it seems.
But $50k for a car with vinyl, not cloth or leather, seats seems odd to me, even if the interior generally looks great. I’d go for cloth trim every time, and please fit that glass roof to all vehicles.
The shot of “Where did my energy go?” intrigues – 13% to climate, 7% to accessories and 13% to external temp (not clear what that might mean?) and 66% to Route gives food for thought. That screen also shows 3.5mi/kWh – with 68kWh, shouldn’t the range be therefore around 230 miles?
There’s vinyl and there’s “vinyl”. It’s the better type. Seems very similar to what’s in the Tesla. If it wears better than the typical Ford leather which seems to crack quickly then it’s a win.
Per Ford: “ActiveX is a high end synthetic seating material that is designed to fit perfectly into your active lifestyle, with its durability, stain resistance, and ability to maintain a premium look and feel.”
Maybe it’s not actually PolyVinylChloride but it’s man-made. Anybody selling any car with it in it as a used car will be advertising it as “leather” and the average punter won’t know the difference.
“External temp” is due to the temp outside being low (Climate use is Climate control, not the outside climate, but the HVAC and seat and steering wheel heaters), the 36 degree figure at the top right is in Fahrenheit so about 2 Celsius outside. The car will use some of the battery power to keep its own battery at optimum temperature. Kind of like a human body will use energy to keep warm even without moving when very cold. Since I didn’t have a powerful charger at home to charge it the car had to use battery power to warm its own systems up. This is what’s avoided by the preconditioning feature wherein you can use shore power if plugged in to get everything up to temp, not just the cabin and a good reason to plug in in the evenings.
That particular journey with the chart was relatively short and at relaxed speed comparatively (see the time vs distance), so as the journey lengthens and speeds increase you’ll use more power per mile or at least how the EPA mandates the test is run I suppose will reflect that. I more often saw 2.8-3.0 figures, that 3.5 was a bit of an outlier. I have pictures of another 75 miles segment where it was at 2.8mi/kWh with 7%/88/2/3 as the splits and a trip meter duration of 1:23 and then the IKEA day trip one was 151.6 miles at 3.1mi/kWh and splits of 7%/88/2/3. On a shorter journey the warmup time/energy will be a greater proportion of the total than on a longer one.
Those of us of a certain vintage associate vinyl with cheap. Just call it vegan, and then there’s appeal, and maybe even a price premium.
I like the vinyl idea. The association with cheapness I suppose is why vinyl is hardly ever seen in passenger cars any more. I think that’s a shame, though. Vinyl would be a perfectly good, functional choice for many folks. More dirt resistant than cloth and wears better than leather does.
It’s in many cars, well whatever is colloquially known as vinyl, basically a synthetic “leather”. The third row of your Highlander is that but called Softex. Many Toyotas use it. The default material in most US market Mercedes, BMW, and Audi as well as VW cars has been synthetic for a long time now as was the material in the last two Subarus we reviewed here. It generally wears well and is more durable as you said. The stuff in this Mach-E was great and felt good. Nobody calls it vinyl, it’s always some fancy sounding name.
Good vinyl will outlast good leather, and good leather will last over 20 years. I’ll take either of them. Cloth? No thank you. Fine in the living room, not so much in a car.
Your description of how it calculates remaining range was fascinating. Nobody I have spoken to or read from, has given me a decent explanation of that to this point. Thanks.
I just watched the four minute video and took note of how the rear seatbacks fold down. Nice that you don’t have to cantilever the seats up and out of the way first, like I have to do in my Escape. In my other car, I cannot raise the seat bottoms, and end up with a non flat surface. Much more so than in this video.
Looking inside the front storage area, you note the cupholders. Cool! Couldn’t be for tailgating though, it would have to be front- or leading edge-gating! Har har! I’d better leave now.
Very enjoyable piece.
Interesting writeup, but a pathetic and unnecessary attempt to capitalize on a classic nameplate. Majority of Mustang buyers/lovers aren’t part of your electric car crowd, and you likely just alienated most of them. I know most of the good marketing ideas are history, but this makes as much sense as all of those terrible movies based on 60’s TV shows.
A good review, particularly coming from a Model Y owner. I have two pros and one ‘big’ con:
– I’m absolutely stunned that Ford is still incorporating the touchpad entry system (now updated to be hidden). Stunned because it was introduced so long ago and, to this day, is one of Ford’s truly ‘better ideas’ that no one else has adopted. Kudos to Ford for coming up with a brilliant idea decades ago and, with little fanfare, sticking with it.
– Likewise, Ford’s range algorithm is a superb way to alleviate the old range anxiety problem. I’d go so far to say it may be as much of a game-changer as Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive was in revolutionizing hybrids into the mainstream.
– With that said, there’s still that elephant in the room: EV charging infrastructure. There’s just no way to get around Tesla’s advantage in this area. GM offering to pay for a home residential Level 2 charge station on new Bolts seems like it would go a long way to helping resolve this problem, at least for local driving.
Anecdotal evidence suggests Ford seems to have dropped the ball on this one. In addition to not offering an EV Level 2 assistance program similar to GM, I’m not feeling that Ford dealerships are upping their EV charge station game much. As far as I can tell, a few dealerships have some grungy old Level 2 EV stations, but I suspect they are leftovers from the short-lived 2012 Transit Connect EV which a few Ford dealerships got as parts department runners.
Because of the charging infrastructure problem, as nice, progressive, and well thought out as the Mach-E might otherwise be, Tesla still seems to be the EV leader.
“– With that said, there’s still that elephant in the room: EV charging infrastructure. There’s just no way to get around Tesla’s advantage in this area. GM offering to pay for a home residential Level 2 charge station on new Bolts seems like it would go a long way to helping resolve this problem, at least for local driving.”
Sure there is. Build your own system. Or even easier, found a new joint venture with your competition to split the cost and build it out in conjunction with them. Even better, add an adapter to each one so Teslas can charge on them as well to generate more income. There’s no magic to what Tesla has done here, just plain old determination. Where to put them? Start with across the street from every Tesla Supercharger station and make each site at least one pump bigger, they’ve already mapped out where they need to go and how many they need in each location for maximum market penetration. It won’t be cheap but it will eliminate what to me is the biggest obvious problem. Note that Rivian, they of the upcoming EV pickup and EV SUV, recently announced they will in fact be building their own network. Ford, GM, Nissan, and whoever else is making any proclamations about the EV future needs to own those statements. The patchwork that is out there is a start but you cannot control what an unrelated third party does in the way of locations, maintenance, pricing or usability. It feels a lot like a legacy system from the first generation of EV cars with various differing and unfamiliar formats. Every Supercharger works the same way. Heck, every gas pump really works the same way. But every charging system from every different manufacturer works somewhat differently. ElectrifyAmerica is a good start but that’s all it is, a start. One more thing – the Walmart locations for it are a great idea for ubiquity except for one thing – many EV buyers (at least the early adopters) loathe Walmart and everything it does or doesn’t and would not necessarily like to be associated with the company. It is rare to see a Tesla in a Walmart parking lot, at least around here, and there is no shortage in general or at the Costco across the way. Going there to fill up is generally not an appealing way to spend any amount of time.
GM installing a Level 2 system in buyer’s garages is a bit of a gimmick, every serious EV buyer has that one-time cost figured into their budget already. If someone doesn’t want to pay for the charger itself (The Tesla generation 3 one is $500 plus I detailed my installation costs in the article), they can install a glorified drier plug and a GFI’d 60AMP fuse and just use the 220V cable the cars all come with which will charge the car overnight as my Model S owning neighbor did. I haven’t looked into it but would bet that there is some sort of cap on the maximum expenditure per install, so in the end it’s just another rebate on the hood.
Yeah, well, that was my point. GM’s offer to pay for a home Level 2, while gimmicky, is better than nothing. No one, other than Tesla, is making the kind of major financial commitment for a competing nationwide DCFC network. If these guys were really serious about EVs, they’d band together and work out some kind of arrangement to directly battle Tesla on that front. This piecemeal stuff isn’t going to cut it.
Until they do, I just don’t see anyone else besting Tesla as the go-to EV, no matter how good the competition might otherwise be.
From a business stand point I can see why most automakers don’t want to build out their own charging network. It’s much like the dealer situation it;s a lot of overhead with little gain. Tesla was kind of forced into doing it as they needed EV adoption in order to survive, legacy auto companies don’t, they have plenty of time to watch what happens and hope the network develops without them. If not they can just invest in a company that does it as their primary business.
They aren’t really standing still either they did manage to get everyone on the CCS standard (even Tesla is slowly joining that bandwagon), that is probably the one biggest thing they could have done. Now everyone knows what port to build into their chargers.
Actually Nissan used the keyless entry on the Maxima during the JV van venture and even went Ford one better by putting a pad on the passenger side too, they stuck theirs in the handle surround so that it didn’t need a different door skin.
It is also currently an option for some GM vehicles my Friend’s Canyon has it, but it looks just like the Ford add-on unit that just double stick tapes to the vehicle. The also offered it briefly on some Buicks in the late 90s or early 00s.
Ford has also taken it to a new level with some of the newest models being able to be started and driven by entering a code on the touch screen.
Great review – and really enjoyed the videos…
The strain that all these electric chargers are going to put on the electricity infrastructure is considerable. The US is known to have under invested in this area.
Governments derive enormous income from the tax on petrol and diesel used for transportation, particularly in Europe; there is no tax on electricity used for transportation. This will have to change if the books are to be balanced. Why should the Walmart shoppers subsidize the wealthier folk?
I live in an apartment, and park outside, and I don’t see an EV in my future anytime soon, and at almost 65, probably not at all.. I see no way to economically put a charger in my assigned parking spot. It would require a massive construction job as the sidewalks would have to be seriously modified or replaced to put chargers in for everyone. That, and the electrical service would be required to have a major upgrade. Putting them in piecemeal would just be crazy expensive. And there is the security issues with the charge cables. And how much the price would be to charge up. There are hundreds of apartments in the area I live in, and I don’t see how it would be practical to add chargers to most of them. Who will pay for it? How would the end user be billed? There are many negatives to electric vehicles compared to gas/diesel, and the charging is the killer, IMHO.
As far as the Mach-E itself, it’s styling is pretty much blah. I hope it’s available without the two tone interior. I want my vehicles to be black inside, dark grey at least. Those awful wheels would have to go too. I can’t imagine looking at them for like 5 years.
Which brand of gasoline is dispensed at the pump next to your assigned parking spot?
Yes, it’s like that, having a home charger is convenient but not required. My EV has a theoretical range of 326 miles. I can fill it at the electron station if I want when it needs it. I happen to be able to fill it at home. Not everyone is able to, but options exist. Nothing will happen from one day to the next, progress takes time.
When I leave home today I will pass by four gas stations within 1.5 miles of the house. I can stop, gas up, and be on the road in 2 minutes. With those four stations one can service 48 cars at once. I don’t know how long it takes to charge the Mach-E here but I think it has to be way longer than 2 minutes in an area of thousands of people who will never have an outside the house charging station. This area is heavily condos, apartments and older homes where the one car garage is no longer a garage and it is a suburb no less.
Sounds great, I recall the issues with MTBE leaching into the ground/drinking water from gas stations when I lived in CA. Paradise on earth…
It does take longer. It’s also an issue that won’t be solved overnight. And doesn’t need to be. Mankind put a man on the moon. Created a vaccine for a deadly pandemic in less than a year. Do we really believe that mankind is incapable of growing and progressing and developing solutions to these charging issues? Batteries now are denser, more efficient, cheaper and charging is faster and more convenient than it was a decade ago or even five years ago or even last year. This will progress as long as there are believers and developers. It’s no wonder that some countries are getting their ass kicked, much of the populace no longer has that “Can Do” spirit. (That’s not meant personally so don’t take it as such, it just irks when everyone only can state any problem as an absolute and has zero interest in potential solutions while ignoring that a full and complete solution is not needed from one day to the next for every single variable.) A decade ago you would have likely said there is no way that there will be an electric car named a Mustang that will blow the doors off the gas powered one and be available for sale at every Ford dealer in the country. And yet here we are.
We have the same problem with lack of charging infrastructure in terraced streets. 80% of this city is like this. Massive spending is required to install a charging point outside every house. For the foreseeable future EVs are strictly for those in the suburbs and beyond.
Your picture shows the inherent fallacy of your argument. I see a lot of gas and diesel powered cars. How on earth do they fuel up when needed? Is there a gasoline pump in your front yard? Why is it a requirement that there be a charging station? Do you drain the tank of your car daily? Why do you assume that from one day to the next the entire vehicle fleet will be replaced? Your country isn’t outlawing ICE cars, just the sale of new ones in a decade or so. How many years do you think it might take for the whole fleet to turn over? Progress, it happens over time. The day that Karl Benz intro’d his new invention didn’t mean that the next day there were gas stations on every corner…
The problem is the time taken to charge. If I can park on the street and leave it on charge, then no problem. However when 100,000 households require to charge elsewhere then you’ve got a big problem. I suggest you try using your EV without home charging it for a few months to test the practicality of your suggestion.
Your comparison with early Benz cars is quite apposite. In those days petrol was only available from very limited sources and driving was the preserve of the wealthy.
In 9 years time new ICE cars will no longer be available here in the UK. I don’t think this has been fully thought through.
I have a client who purchased an EV while living in an apartment with street parking. She hadn’t planned on buying it then but her previous car was totaled so the plan was accelerated. Somehow she managed for the 5-6 months until they bought a home. You can be sure the location of the power panel was something we looked at with every house we saw. Interestingly she didn’t get a home unit for the first few months as the new house was very close to her work and her husband’s work has chargers for their fleet which are out on the road during the day while he is at the office. Since they let him charge for free they swapped cars for their daily commutes anyway. I’ll have to ask her if she ever did get equipment installed.
Work is the other charging option, though the work from home trend is limiting that. The guy I know who has owned 3 plug in vehicles, 2 Volts and an i3 never installed a charger at home. That is because his work agreed to install a charger at the office for everyone who purchased an EV. With the Volt he could charge at work and that gave him enough range to get home and back to work. For the weekend he might use the 120v plug. When he got the i3 he continued to charge at work just not every day thanks to the longer range. Leaving work with a full charge on Friday would get him through the weekend and back to work for a full charge on Monday.
Several years ago I gave a presentation at a local Google office. The underground garage on the relatively new building included free charging stations in about 50% of the parking spaces. I’m sure those people also do the majority of their charging at work.
Of course the only reason those really work is that the employer is footing the bill for the installation and electricity. The client who charged her Leaf exclusively with public chargers found out that is was much more expensive to drive her Leaf than the car it replaced when paying the going rate at public chargers i our area which is 3-4 times the cost at home.
The work charging option has potential, and it doesn’t even have to be Level 2. Wall outlets would work, but to really encourage EV usage, a bunch of cheapo Level 1 stations would be great. They’re <$200/each and plug right into wall outlets.
The idea would be that, although Level 1 is dog-slow (~4 miles per hour), it would be sufficient for employees (at least for those who work eight or more hours), not to mention there wouldn't be any need for employees to leave their work station to move their vehicle when it had finished charging in the middle of a shift.
I think you were saying this, you don’t really need a “station” there, just a plug and use the cord supplied with the car itself to plug into it while it sits. So a 110 or 220 plug, the car will figure out the correct draw it can handle depending on the amperage. A NEMA 14-50 30amp 220 outlet will supply 20 miles of range per hour according to Ford.
As I understand it our European friends have it even better as their “normal” power is already 220 and their high power is around 400, so they get 20 miles of range per hour by plugging into the lowest power and most ubiquitous outlet they can find…
@Jim. Exactly. It’s possible to extrapolate from the Ford example (per hour):
– (NEMA 14-50 30amp 220 outlet will supply 20 miles of range).
– 15A, 220 outlet = 10 miles of range.
– 15A, 110 outlet = 5 miles of range.
So, a simple wall outlet would get ~5 hours of range per hour. Considering the modest installation cost of low-power wall outlets, it would seem sufficient for long-term charging at a place of employment. The only catch would be having to drag-out the EVSE to plug-in, but that doesn’t seem like much of a problem, considering the benefit.
FWIW, I know of a couple of local casinos that actually have not only wall outlets in both the parking lot and garage, but a whole bunch of 110v, 16A charge stations. They’re not so great for short-term charging, but any plug-in drivers staying at the hotel overnight would find them quite useful.
Wow Jim… What a Great Review!!! – And now you’ve gone and done it… I WANT ONE!
Sorry so late with my comment, but I wanted to watch all of your videos on the car, as I am very curious about this one. BTW, you shouldn’t sell yourself short as a presenter. When you first introduce the car in that first video, you reminded me of Maryland’s own John Davis of MotorWeek! (This is meant as a compliment, since there are Curbsiders here that are not fans.)
I saw one of these in the metal for the first time at Al Packer Ford about a week and a half ago when I had my own Mustang in for a check of the Takata Airbag recall work they did about a year ago. While waiting, I had a walk about the lot, and there was one that was literally sold as soon as it was dropped off the truck.
Since a Tesla is kind of a dream car for me, and I like Mustangs, I thought to myself, “When is Jim Klein going to review on of these?” CC Effect indeed!
Like some others have said, I wasn’t sure about the whole use of the Mustang name on a CUV (EUV?), but after seeing it in person, I get it. I’ve never been an SUV fan, but as the Borg say, “Resistance is Futile”, and I’m starting to warm up to the idea.
My wife wants a CR-V. Thinking baby steps into the world of EV(s), a hybrid may be a nice place to start. I like Mustangs, and have a yearning to go all electric. And I want a Tesla. This steed may very well be the way to go!
I am concerned about the lack of EV infrastructure for anything but a Tesla, however. Hopefully this will improve by the time I am ready.
Oh, and the engine sound emulator… That may just be the Best Security Blanket EVER while I wean myself off of gasoline.
Again, thank you so much for the great review (all your reviews actually). Good Stuff!
It sounds like you might want to consider the RAV4 Prime, assuming you can actually find one and the dealer isn’t sticking a fat ADP sticker on it. The other option on the horizon is the Escape Plug-In Hybrid. It was supposed to start production in April though the chip shortage may push that out again.
Either way you get about 40 miles of EV range and thanks to the small batteries charging on a 120v outlet overnight (10-12 hrs 0-100%) is a reasonable option particularly since you keep on driving once the EV portion of the battery is depleted and get ~40mpg when it is running on gas.
Yeah, I’m not one for doing ADP or ADM when purchasing… I usually wait for the popularity to die down on a car to avoid that.
As to the range, therein lies the rub… 40 just doesn’t quite cut it. the daily drive is ~70 (both ways… 34-ish one way), and I’d really like the range to be at least 100 miles to get a real-world range of that 70 or so.
I get it that you’d still benefit big time, but going electric, and not maintaining an ICE anymore is more attractive to me…. but I did say I’m considering a hybrid (the CR-V gets mileage similar to my ’16 Civic Coupe).
I’m curious why you would consider a hybrid but not a plug-in hybrid? Sure it won’t do the full trip on a single charge but the point is it doesn’t have to. If you could charge while at work at Level 2 you could do the commute all electric. The bigger question is cost, why pay more for less? Ford and Toyota vehicles are still eligible for a federal tax credit.
For the Escape the Plug-in starts at $32,650 and qualifies for a federal tax credit of $6,843 for a net price of $25,807. The standard Hybrid starts at $27,605 or a net savings of almost $1800.
If there are any local incentives the gap gets even bigger. In my state the incentive is a sales tax exemption.
No trade w/sales tax door Plug-in $32,650
No trade w/sales tax standard $30,365
So only about $2300 more out the door with a federal tax credit making the net for the plug-in ~$4500 less than the standard version in my state, as long as you don’t trade something in. (With a trade, in my state you pay the sales tax on the difference.)
The RAV-4 Prime qualifies for $7500 in federal tax credit and any other local incentives so I bet the math works out better for it than the standard hybrid version too.
Yes, if the wife wants a CR-V you are currently out of luck, though it wouldn’t surprise me if they come out with a plug in version too.
That’s actually kind of my hope there if my wife wants a CR-V… if they came out with a plug-in hybrid, it would be PERFECT for her, as she doesn’t drive much at all. The all electric range would be great, and on the days I would take it to work to “exercise it”, that would be cool, even if it’s only all electric for part of the way.
You make some very good points! THANKS!
I suppose that the Tax Credit thing would be lost on Honda though, as they’ve had that Clarity thing for a while, although I think that was a lease only affair.
Currently Honda also qualifies for the full tax credit so, if the CR-V plug-in comes around soon enough it should qualify, based on what ever battery capacity it has, up to the $7500 limit. I don’t know how close Honda is to the level that triggers the phase out though I bet that info is out there somewhere.
Thanks! I grew up watching John Davis “Hi!, I’m John Davis and this is Motorweek!”. I didn’t even think of that but now I see it, very funny.
Scoutdude is correct, the RAV4 Prime and other good plug-ins are a great way to sort of stepping stone it toward EV-dom, the issue is that the price isn’t much or any less than this though due to demand and supply. But when I reviewed it right here a couple of months or so ago, I thought it was great. The Escape Plug-In Hybrid I have not experienced (yet) and I believe it’s currently limited to FWD only if that matters in your location.
You are correct that if you want a Plug on your Escape you can’t power the rear wheels. If you want a plug-in Hybrid and AWD from Ford it is behind the Lincoln Corsair paywall. On it AWD is provided by a 3rd motor just like the RAV-4. Apparently the larger battery takes up the space where the driveshaft for mechanical AWD goes in the ICE and standard Hybrid Escapes. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Escape gets the 3rd motor eventually, though I can see them sticking it on the Bronco Sport before the Escape.
The Baltimore area does not get much snow, and Baltimoreans are NOT know for their ability to drive in the winter, so I just stay home when we get the winter weather. I’m not afraid to drive in it, but I am afraid of the other drivers’ lack of ability in that way.
So with that said, AWD is not as important, but the thing that intrigued me about this Mustang Mach-E was that the bias is RWD. That 30% Front / 70% Rear sounds ideal to me. While I like driving my Civic (FWD), I prefer my Mustang (RWD).
I forget, what is the AWD split on your Tesla?
Oh, and thanks Scoutdude and Jim for your late replies. Although this discussion does seem to have some staying power at 119 comments and counting! – I think several fellow CC’rs were waiting on this review!
I can’t promise that the Mach-E actually is 30/70 F/R, it just sort of felt that way to me. Likely it moves power around as needed. As in this Mach-E, my Y has a smaller motor in front than in back and as such is capable of having more torque at the back than the front, not sure of the exact split but it feels less rear biased when on it around a corner for example. The upcoming Mach-E GT actually has a larger motor in front than this one did (I think it’s basically two of the rear motors, one at each end) and it may well feel different.
The Tesla does have a setting wherein I can lock the power at exactly 50/50 front/rear. I assume this means that the rear one will be limited in order to not exceed that of the front. This can come in useful if stuck or on a slippery situation. I was able to play with it on a frozen lake a while back. There is also a “slip” setting where it will allow all the wheels to have some level of wheelspin as opposed to having the traction control negate it. Again, useful on the ice and interesting to play with.
The whole “split” and “bias” thing is different with electrics since there are literally two motors instead of one engine that used gears to apportion power one way or the other (or variably with a limit). Those two motors have their own distinct ratings and each only acts on one axle.
Yeah Jim, I am sure when I finally drive one (any EV), I’m in for an experience.
The one pedal operation intrigues me too.
So instead of “heel and toe”, it’s just “toe” I guess. LOL.
“The Tesla does have a setting wherein I can lock the power at exactly 50/50 front/rear. I assume this means that the rear one will be limited in order to not exceed that of the front. This can come in useful if stuck or on a slippery situation. ”
This has me wondering what exactly they do in that 50/50 mode. It certainly is easy to limit the rear to match the front and that works perfectly until you encounter significantly different traction between the front and rear.
If one end happened to be on ice and the other on some snow that can provide a little bite do they limit the torque to the front to equal what the rear can put out w/o wheel spin? That seems counter productive in situations like starting on a hill.
Doing the best it can to keep the wheel speeds close to each other, by matching torque output to available traction makes more sense, both for getting the vehicle moving and general control in very slippery situations.
Thanks for the well thought out review. I had seen a face to face comparison with the Tesla on a video site. I don’t think that there is anything “Mustangy” about his EV, though it does seem to be a competent competitor. I guess it sounded better than LTD E! If Ford wanted to, they could have built a real electric Mustang but it couldn’t be justified by sales, I’m sure. At home, I’m surrounded by Teslas and other EVs. I think that they are great for close -in, urban and suburban use. I’m still taking frequent 350- 400 mile one way trips and I wouldn’t want to have to wait around for charging periods. I’m probably down to less than ten years left of epic road tripping anyway though, so things will probably be changing in the future. My biggest concern is the cost of these premium electrics, I don’t want to spend the money and or find the way to finance one. But that’s just my problem. In Calif when they stop selling new ICE vehicles I imagine that there will still be plenty ICEs on the road, though they will be later model less polluting models. If the State wants to furnish me with an electric at no cost to me, well, I’d take it.
Thanks for the in depth review and extensive replies to comments! I haven’t read all the comments, but will throw my 2 cents in.
-Count me in the “why the hell is this a Mustang?!” camp. I can see the marketing value in the name. The vehicle exists in that Is It A Car Or Is It An SUV gray area and it’s kind of sporty, but Mustang? I just can’t see much Stang in there besides the superficial taillights and the front end looks a bit like the current car. Are they making Mustang a brand? Like, will they soon have Mustang edition F150s or Explorers? I’m a bit of a 2-door snob and 4 doors is not compatible with Mustang. I think calling this a Mustang cheapens the name, but that’s not to say it’s may not be good business. Just saying it from a car guy/Mustang fan perspective.
-It’s not bad looking (for an EV). The Model S is about the only EV that doesn’t need that For An EV qualifier, IMO.
-The Mach-E seems to be a pretty well thought out car functionally. I like the vinyl seats.
-The interior also doesn’t have much Mustang in it that I can see. What little Mustang flavor it does have is overwhelmed by that monstrous screen. I am semi-open to the EV idea, generally, but I am too old school to appreciate the screen. Does it really need to be that big? Does it really have to stick out like a superdooper sized phone? Do they feel they need to have that to compete with Tesla?
I have thought that if EVs do catch on in popularity, it will be because the younger (and increasingly the older) generation is used to living on cellphones. They are so used to the charge/discharge/recharge lifestyle, it may just come naturally to them to extend that to their car. The giant screen strikes me as porno for people who are wedded to their phones. “It looks like a phone and its so BIG! Oh baby!”
-I could see myself in an EV provided: 1. my commute distance only routinely required me to charge at home, 2. I could afford an ICE car for any driving beyond that and to get my exhaust note fix in when needed!
-I agree having power seat controls on the door is nice, but I have never found it a big deal having them on the side of the seat. Can’t one just bend slightly further and move the seat back before climbing in? That’s what I do.
The power seat controls are in fact on the side of the seat, that was the memory setting I was referencing. The Tesla’s seat controls are also on the seat but it requires use of the screen to alter the memorized positions (although your key is “Keyed” to the user so it “should” reset the seat when one gets close. However that requires the key in hand, which doesn’t always happen when you get the late night “honey, could you get my…out of my car” and said item is always where you need to be in the (adjusted for shorter person’s) driver’s seat to reach it…In that case they did think of a “entry mode” setting but for example my wife hates that being on as it then requires her to wait for the seat to scooch back up the significant difference in seating position that separates us and she drives it much more than I do. I won’t disclose her inseam measurement here 🙂
The advantage of the screen comes more into play as “Over the air” updates become more commonplace. One large screen is also likely cheaper than various buttons, a smaller screen that’s de rigueur now anyway, a separate radio with controls, separate HVAC module with controls etc although I think the common initial thinking is wow, what a waste of money on a big screen…it’s probably far less expensive overall.
This way the info (and options contained within) can be updated as time goes on. The same way you get updates on/to your phone and its capabilities evolve and grow over time. Can’t do any of that in a ’92 Crown Vic or an old Ma Bell rotary. But yeah, they do need to compete with (and clearly benchmarked) Tesla. The new F150 has a 12″ screen option too, likely due to RAM having one. As does the Highlander btw. 🙂 The world is a’changin’!
Good points about the screen. I can see many people thinking it looks expensive. I have heard before that it is actually cheaper, which is another reason I don’t like it. It has no character. Every car with a giant screen for most of the dash instead of actual styling: that rankles my classic car-loving heart.
How much do HVAC and stereo controls need updating? Seems like they could make it big enough to be functional and small enough to still integrate in the dash without overwhelming the styling. Stick with traditional HVAC controls at least. The Mustang is about style as much as anything, yet the dash is screens over style. Guess that’s the conflict in my mind.
Funny, I actually used to have a 92 Crown Vic!
Good call on the smartphone generation being accustomed to regularly charging a battery to keep the device operational, whether it be a smartphone or an EV.
The name and the badge are what everyone wants to talk about. I mean that literally, as every person who stopped me to talk about this Iconic Silver 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD (and there were many) zeroed in on that mid-gallop horse and had some question or opinion about it. It wasn’t all negative, either. Far from it. Ultimately, though, they’d want to know what it was like. The answer was simple: It’s exceptional.
Having re-read everything, and enjoyed it thoroughly, one further thought.
Ford invented the Mustang. Ford trademarked the Mustang. Ford produces the Mustang. And, like it or not, Ford will bloody well decide what is, and isn’t a Mustang.
To the ‘Mustang purists’ out there: Stuff it, you don’t own the trademark. Whatever Ford Motor Company decides is a Mustang, is a Mustang.
And this is a Mustang.
Yes this! If Ford wants to build a Mustang dump truck, that too will be a gen-u-ine FORD Mustang.
This is the Mustang for people who identify as metalheads but only listen for the power ballads.
Count me in as someone who would like this vehicle more without the Mustang association. It would seem more modern, and more adult, as just a Mach-E, and less likely to conjure up images of Axe body spray and Maxim magazine. If that even exists anymore. Great review, once again!
“Even the biggest and most avowed EV skeptics will likely take a look at the first few they see and discuss it with others…”
I won’t. I have no interest in electric cars. I see no reason for their existence and no legitimate reason for governments to push them into a marketplace that for the most part is not demanding them. I will never own one.
You’re discussing it right now… Hey, but thanks for reading the post and taking the time to comment. And thanks for all the clicks (one to come here and read the intro, another to open the rest of the post and the third to post your comment), they all help to push this post higher up the rankings and thus spread the information wider to more people, further increasing demand for EVs. EVs are taking over, maybe you’ve noticed that regular cars and trucks are harder to come by these days and more expensive than ever, soon they will be gone completely! 🙂
Forgot what a tremendous, in-depth review this was. Thanks Jim!
I too think it was brilliant for Ford to utilize the Mustang name and a few styling cues. All the PR budgets in the world couldn’t have bought the subsequent conversation. And the ‘real’ Mustang is still available in its rip-roaring fashion just a few steps away. For now.
While I’d love to pick up a used Leaf or Volt for my daily work commute, my next vehicle (‘23-‘24) will definitely be at least a hybrid for my future full-retirement road trips. I’m hoping Subaru gets the Outback hybridized soon, or if not I’m somewhat smitten with the Maverick.
The CC Effect in action – on the way home from Indiana, Pa., yesterday, I saw one of these at the Bedford Sheetz convenience store (just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike Bedford interchange). That was the first one I’ve seen on the road.
The car in this review is the twinn of my Mach E, same color outside and inside. I love the space gray interior!
I hope you enjoy it, it was a great car when I reviewed it.
I enjoy it very much! I got it on April 1, 2021 just about a week after your review, but I had it on order since November 2020.