Mustang Mach-E 2021: an electric revolution at Ford

The unveiling of an electric Mustang - a so-called sport utility in addition - proves that revolutions are usually anything but quiet.

More than half a century after the spectacular debut of the first Mustang, here is indeed a brand new, radically different one, which will be powered by one or two electric motors, to choose from. Purists and fans of the ancestor of all Pony Cars and some Muscle Cars will surely make it a crisis of apoplexy.

This new Mustang, named Mach-E in homage to the special Mach 1 versions of its grandfather, will be built on an entirely new architecture, dedicated entirely to all-electric vehicles. It has nothing to do with an early version of the project that had the sole objective of meeting stricter emission standards. The blue oval manufacturer will spend $11 billion on electrification by 2022.

Playing your big cards

Instead, Ford has chosen to step out of line, brandish one of its icons and truffle a brand new version of cutting-edge technologies, some of which are new. His first major decision was to move the main propulsion engine from front to rear, to make this new machine a propulsion rather than a traction at the base. A 50 kW (67 hp) engine at the front completes the full cog by adding thrust to the 210 kW (282 hp) rear engine. In short, the consumer will be able to choose between a two- or four-wheel drive wheel.

Both engines are powered by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery designed by Ford and manufactured by LG Chem. The standard version has 288 cells, with a capacity of 75.7 kWh, while the long-lasting version has 376 cells and will provide 98.8 kWh. The wheelbase of the first draft of the project was extended 70 mm forward and 20 mm backwards to house the battery under the floor of the Mach-E while enhancing both cabin volume and stability. The battery is not a structural element but would promote the overall rigidity of the chassis.

On the body side, the stylists raised the hood and front wings, also giving more shape to the rear wings so that the Mach-E has a stronger sport utility silhouette. The front part is closed and decorated with a grille outline like that of other utilities of the brand. Also a galloping horse crest that looks a little lost. The three-piece vertical taillights are the only other elements that clearly evoke the Mustang. They are crossed by a horizontal bar like the hyphen in the name of the Mach-E, which looks a lot like the new Escape 2020, in profile. It's up to you to judge, of course.

The Mach-E is a little longer, a little less wide and its height is identical to that of the Porsche Macan, some of which are repeatedly chosen by Ford as a benchmark for their performance. Its most direct competitors will, however, be the future Model Y of Tesla and Volkswagen ID. 4, as much by size as the configuration, power and price.
A complete hand

Five versions of the Mach-E will be offered, in increasing order of range, equipment and performance, if not a mixture of the three: Select, Premium, First Edition, California Route 1 and GT Performance Edition. The Premium and First Edition will arrive towards the end of 2020, the second available in limited quantities. The Select and California Route 1 will show up in the early days of 2021.

They will be followed in the spring by the GT Performance Edition, which is obviously the group's car with 459 horsepower and 612 lb-ft of torque that should allow it to reach 100 km/h in about 3.5 seconds, with the complicity and motor skills of the full cog. Which would be much better than all the other Mustangs, without exception.

A set of excellent magnetically variable Magneride shock absorbers, Brembo disc brakes with red-painted aluminum stirrups and 20-inch alloy wheels, performance tire pavements, will sharpen its handling. And its long-lasting battery should provide 375 km of range.

The Select and Premium versions will be available with propulsion or full-wheel drive and the latter will also offer the choice of either battery. The California Route 1 will all be propulsions while the GT and First Edition will offer only the full cog. All three will receive only the long-lasting battery and the California Route 1 will be the champion of long journeys with its 475 km range. However, it will be the slowest to sprint up to 100 km/h, with a time of just under 7 seconds, as will the Premium full-wheel drive and long-lasting battery.

The standard mobile charger will add 35 km of range per hour of charging with a 240-volt and 5-km socket with a 120-volt socket. Ford will also offer a Level 2 terminal that will add 51 km per hour. With a maximum charging capacity of 150 kW, the Mach-E will be able to recover an average of 76 km in 10 minutes or increase from 10 to 80% charge in 38 minutes on a fast terminal (BRCC). The FordPass network will also provide access to more than 12,000 charging stations in North America and the navigation system will prepare a route accordingly.

On the cutting edge

In terms of technology and connectivity, the Team Edison group, the kind of commando that created the Mach-E, has made it its mission to rethink and reinvent for it the different control systems and interfaces, often starting from scratch. This earned him, among other things, a large 15.5-inch touchscreen, installed in the middle of the dashboard. This vertical rectangle brings together virtually all systems and applications, according to the new, wonderfully simple and logical principle of a "flat architecture" that drastically reduces the number of levels and menus for different settings.

Everything then becomes accessible with a single gesture, or almost. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto interfaces are wirelessly enabled and run in parallel, without conflict, with Mach E's built-in systems. Induction charging is also included, while driving-only functions are grouped together and displayed on a thin 10.2-inch horizontal screen behind a three-ray sport steering wheel. All systems and applications will also benefit from remote updates, Tesla-style. Thanks for the example, Elon.

Ford, the more than 100 years old, however, has outpaced its ambitious Californian rival by banning animal materials entirely from the interior of its Mach-E. Leather is replaced by an unidentified synthetic material, with double stitching and other fantasies on more affluent models.

The front seats look correct and a short ride to the back of a prototype revealed a reasonably spacious seat high enough for proper support. The central square is narrow but the flat floor makes it at least usable. The same ride allowed us to taste the frank accelerations of a Premium full-wheel drive and its beautiful agility on a slalom course, with fine transitions and a minimal roll, very well cushioned. Imagine the GT.

The base prices for the Mustang Mach-E 2021 range from $50,495 for the Select to $59,495 for the Premium, $64,495 for the California Route 1, then $71,995 for a First Edition and finally $82,995 for the GT Performance Edition. One thing is certain, it has not finished surprising and making people talk, at the same time allowing Ford to enter a new era from the outset. I can't wait for the first tests, behind the wheel.

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